It's getting difficult not to get caught up in the excitement of the new Hobbit film adaptations. However, some fans have been grumbling about the recent decision to split The Hobbit into three separate films. While Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was widely praised, the movies were based on three books totalling some 1,008 pages. So just how does the Kiwi director plan to stretch the breezier 310 page Hobbit over three films?
It has to be assumed that an adaptation of this kind will require much rewriting of the original tale as well as the addition of new scenes and characters. In interview, Jackson has stressed that he wishes to delve into material that was only hinted at in Tolkien's original:
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. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
To celebrate 'Tolkien Week', Warner brothers have released a second official trailer. As fans may already know, 'Tolkien Week' is built around the 22nd of September, better known as 'Hobbit Day', the birthdate of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. This year's celebration of 'Tolkien Week' is even more special, as the 21st of September also marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit.
The two trailers (see below) for the first film are reassuring. Jackson has managed to retain the epic feel of the earlier Lord of the Rings films while maintaining The Hobbit's cheerier outlook, via scenes such as the dwarves singing and plenty of comedy sidekick routines.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Official Trailer 1:
Official Trailer 2:
This decision to expand the initial two film adaptation into a trilogy has led to a rebranding of the second film. Originally titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again it has since been renamed The Desolation of Smaug, with the previous title been logically assigned to the third film in the series. Expected release dates are as follows:
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: December 2012
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: December 2013
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again: July 2014
Martin Freeman will play the central role of Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage will play Thorin Oakenshield. Reprising their roles from The Lord of the Rings are:
- Ian McKellan: Gandalf the Grey
- Elijah Wood: Frodo
- Cate Blanchett: Galadriel
- Hugo Weaving: Elrond
- Cristopher Lee: Saruman
- Andy Serkis: Gollum
While there may be misgivings in certain quarters, I'm looking forward to The Hobbit films. If Jackson's earlier Tolkien adaptations are anything to go by, then we are in safe hands. Roll on December!