I had a terrifying thought about Peter Jackson and LotR's/Hobbit movies

I saw all the LotR’s movies in theater and saw the ultimate super exteded editions on DVD and I’ve seen more or less all of the Hobbit movies on tv.

And seriously 3 3 hour long movies on the Hobbit? Jackson is like Tom Clancy, in desperate need of a strong editor who will say, "NO.

But my thought was this, what if Jackson had done the 3 Hobbit movies first, he would have said to himself, "Shit if I can stretch out a kids book for 9 hours over three movies surely I can stretch out each of the LotR’s books for three movies at 3 hours apiece.:eek:

The mind reels in terror.

Maybe–or maybe he wouldn’t have got the funding to make LOTR.

I’m an enormous fantasy nerd and loved LOTR and bought the DVDs and all. I’ve never seen the second and third Hobbit movies, due to the low quality of the first.

I suspect the Hobbit movies wouldn’t have made the revenue they did if Jackson hadn’t been coasting on the reputation he deservedly built from LOTR.

But fair warning I’m talking out my ass here.

I’m not sure that anyone other than maybe the studio heads thought making the hobbit into 3 movies was a good idea.

My understanding is that the one-two punch of the success of the LOTR and Harry Potter franchises were what kickstarted the modern ‘genre movie franchise’. Had The Hobbit been made first, it probably would not have done well enough to make people think LOTR would be a viable property.

You seriously think Jackson was arguing against breaking up the Hobbit into multiple movies?

I’m really not sure that Jackson wanted to direct it at all. Guillermo del Toro spent, what 18 months, doing pre-production on the hobbit, then abruptly left/was replaced and Jackson took over so that the production would stay in New Zealand.

Yes. Yes…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTRUQ-RKfUs

In my opinion, Jackson’s careful preparation for the LotR movies meant they were great.
The Hobbit was mishandled at the start - by the time Jackson was brought in, it was going to be rushed.

For what it’s worth, I’m pretty much in full agreement with everything you wrote. (Although I’m not generally a fantasy fan and I did sit through all three Hobbit movies. And you made the right call; they got worse.)

You realize he shot at least 12 hours of movie, done up in final production, and cut LOTR down to nine hours for the extended versions, right? That’s not far off from what you were concerned about. There’s more than enough material to add another half-dozen hours if he had had the time, energy, interest and incentive.

Now, the LOTR TV series… that has me worried.

I’m in the minority of thinking the Hobbit movies are pretty good.

However, it is clear from the DVD making-of stuff that Peter Jackson did NOT have have adequate time to prepare. Investors needed the movies on time and if the whole project was delayed by 18 months, it would have helped tremendously.

I’d read The Hobbit to my kid before I saw the movie, so it was fresh in my mind–and I remember most its wry, gentle sense of humor. The movie kept that sensibility for the first hour or so (the hour or so that most reviewers hated), and then once Bilbo got on the road, that mood was jettisoned in favor of videogame acrobatics.

There’s nothing wrong with videogame acrobatics, but I have plenty of other sources for those; I ended up disappointed at Jackson’s decision to go that way, instead of keeping the book’s lovely mood.

Dunno, 9 hours for the hobbit is kind of short.
If one did it exactly faithful to the book, youd be watching the movie for 2 days with a couple intermissions

If The Hobbit merited 9 hours, then The Lord of the Rings merited about 50.

I think any movie of Tolkien is essentially doomed to fail from the start, because they are all very wordy. Dialogue-heavy, narration-heavy… and those things IMO are the essence of what the books are about. The action is schematic: some guys go on a dangerous epic journey, they do some fateful and heroic deeds, and they come home or at least try to come home. To me, what they say on the way there and back IS the story, along with what the narrator adds, and the action is just a frame to hang it on.

How about a word-for-word audio version with dozens of good voice actors? I’d go. Probably I’d be the only one. :smiley:

You’re not alone -

I’m sorry - I’m sure I’ll be kicked out of the Tolkien club - but ‘The Hobbit’ as written is not movie material. It reads as what it is - an old Hobbits recollections as told to the children. Not enough dialogue, etc. If you filmed it akin to ‘The Princess Bride’ - it would be ok - as a ‘good parts’ edition (and even then, key bits are glossed over).

While there is no doubt that Jackson, etc went abit overboard with the trilogy of Films in some parts - overall, I think it still gets the gist right - and there are parts of it that are absolutely perfect.

I’ll disagree with you, but not entirely.

The book of The Hobbit would make a lovely film…but what it wouldn’t make is a particularly good action film (much less three of them), and that’s what Jackson set out to make. In order to make the story into action films, he had to add a ton of content that, IMO, perverted what makes the book as charming as it is. (I still maintain that he should have been forced to have the films’ credits state, “Based on a story idea by J.R.R. Tolkien.” :wink: )

The key issue with the Hobbit is that it’s just a series of adventures. Adventures make sense for an episodic medium, like TV, but not so much for film. Watching just the first installment, it was like five or six mini-stories and, while each was cute and fine, it’s a bit tedious, like someone taking five or six arbitrary episodes of Seinfeld, throwing them together, and telling you, “This is part 1! Of a trilogy!” The pacing just doesn’t work. If you watched that, no matter how much you might like Seinfeld, it would clearly present as “some random TV episode quality mini-stories that were tossed together.”

I’m sure that they could have turned the Hobbit into a trilogy, but you would have to rewrite almost the entire thing and add a proper set of three movie-sized tales that built up what would come later while still being internally full and satisfying in each of the three parts. Or, alternately, removing nearly all of the adventures and just dealing with the main storyline in a single film.

Given the general lack of deep love for The Hobbit, I suspect that they could have gotten away with the former and it’s a shame that that didn’t go that direction.

And, of course, the cartoon physics through the whole thing was just horribly ill-conceived. While I can somewhat understand the desire to bring all of The Hobbit to the screen - if you’re a fan and someone has given you the money to do so - there’s really no excuse for the directorial decision to do the action sequences like that. That’s just channeling George Lucas.

The ideal nine-hour cinematic adaptation of The Hobbit would have had Martin Freeman made up as Bilbo, sitting in his favorite chair in Bag End, reading Tolkien’s novel to us.

Well, either him or Left Hand of Dorkness

I think there must be more than one club. :slight_smile: I’m in your club, as far as Tolkien is concerned.

I’d say The Hobbit might have been movie material, but it got way too padded, and too over-the-top with the action. Pity Jackson wasn’t into it, as well; I get the impression he was really tired of the whole thing as he was making it.
Similarly, the LOTR movies/series that are being thought of could be cool. I’d love to see Beren and Luthien, say, or Turin Turambar (especially the latter). I think I’ve read, however, that they’re going towards the Adventures of Young Aragorn Jones, which does not fill me with excitement.

Heard the BBC Radio adaptations? Not word for word, but well worth a listen if you haven’t.