When the Lord of the Rings were released in theaters, they were a phenomenon unmatched – even by the Harry Potter movies. Everyone loved the exciting, action packed adventures of four little hobbits, a wizard, two princes, a dwarf, and an elf. No longer were the book held up as a shining example of obsessive geekdom and social awkward incarnate – everyone was reading them like they would soon be out of style.
But they haven’t gone out of style. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is one of the most anticipated movies of the winter season, with a sequel on its way. But Peter Jackson just announced that we’ll be getting three feature length movies, not two, or even one like was expected. So, this is move a way to make an adaptation of The Hobbit that’s never been seen, or just a way to make money on an already highly successful franchise?
It’s hard to talk about the new wave of impressively big and successful novel adaptations without going into detail of the multimillion dollar smash hit trilogy of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson. Unless you live in a place where electronics are scarce or you are somehow reading this in the very distant future, you have probably seen at least one of these films sometime during your lifetime. And it’s hard to deny that in terms of story, characters, scope, cinematography, these films are top of the film food chain, adaptation or original.
So when Peter Jackson announced that his next film was going to the prequel to the entire saga, everyone was pumped, even when they announced the decision to split it into two films because CG dragon scales are not cheap. But this week, the rumor that had been circulating about the two films becoming three has been confirmed and some people are outraged.
After all, hasn’t Jackson made enough money? And how can you possibly stretch a single novel, where not that much happens (trust me, I know, I read the damn thing), into three long movies?
Well, part of the stretch is because when Jackson and his team acquired the rights to Tolkien’s work, they also got additional appendixes that detail more about The Hobbit that didn’t make it into the original version. What exactly is in these appendixes? No clue, and no one’s talking about it specifically just yet, so if anyone actually knows what these super secret extra information is, please let me know cause it’s got my scratching my head.
Jackson has even gone on the record to say the following:
“We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance.” – Source
Is that so? Really? How much is there that needs knowing? And is it really that important, or interesting, to the mostly casual fans who are going to buy the tickets to go see these films? Because I am going to be honest – while many people love Tolkien, more people in the U.S. haven’t even turn a single page of the original books. It’s a really a testament to the amazing drawing power of the films that they are popular at all. And it’s hard to believe that any amount of content in these forgotten pieces are so important and story altering that anyone be real hardcore fans would care. But I have been wrong before.
Ultimately, I’m going to call this a money move from the studio, and can you blame them? If The Hobbit makes even half the money the other three films made, Warner Brothers come out on top. And what about those numbers is not to like from the business perspective? Because the movies are a business, in the end. But hopefully in this case, good business can also produce a trio of great films that will be remembered just as fondly as the original Lord of the Rings saga.