One Hobbit Good, Two Hobbits Bad

Blogging over at the Guardian, Ben Child reacts with concern to the news that Guillermo Del Toro will be directing two films based on THE HOBBIT. Child seems to think that Del Toro has the talent for the job; his concern is with producer Peter Jackson’s decision to expand the relatively short novel into a pair of films.

Where is this second movie coming from? The Hobbit is a breezy children’s tale covering a quest by titular hobbit Bilgo [sic] Baggins, Gandalf, and a gang of dwarves, to kill a dragon and reclaim the homeland of the aforementioned vertically-challenged beard-toting types. There’s no need to stretch it over two films.

Apparently the second film will bridge the 80-year gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The emphasis here should be on the word “gap”.

Tolkien didn’t exactly fill the period between his two books with a torrent of detail. There is a suggestion at the beginning of Rings that matters have been slowly getting worse as the dark lord Sauron gradually returns to his full powers, but the implication is that the beginning of the second book marks the point where the pace of his struggle for power is rapidly quickened.

Perhaps Jackson has found some morsel of “history” amongst Tolkien’s various writings about Middle Earth, which have been compiled into books such as The Silmarillion, that he plans to use to form the basis of the second film. If not, this seems like a case of over-confidence.

I suspect that the two-film approach will turn out to be a big mistake. The storyline of THE HOBBIT will make a nice movie, but there really is no point in doing a feature-length’s worth of filler to connect it with LORD OF THE RINGS.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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