The director Peter Jackson first expressed interest in making a film of the J.R.R. Tolkien book ‘The Hobbit’ in 1995. 17 years later, in 2012, the first of his 3 part series based on the book, ‘An Unexpected Journey’ was released, and finally, now in 2014, his series is complete. The reason for this delay was due to copyright issues, but in the gap between envisioning the films and actually making them, Jackson was luckily able to create an entire film series based on another adventure set in Middle-Earth, Lord of the Rings. After the success of this award-winning film series Jackson returned, with copyright problems now resolved, to make a film based on his original interest ‘The Hobbit’.
Some controversies over the length of this film series arose during its production. Originally, given the comparable size of the book to the previously made ‘Lord of the Rings’, Peter Jackson planned to make it into a single film, and also conceived a second film that would focus on the story leading from the end of the Hobbit to the beginning of Lord of the Rings, but eventually decided that there was too much to cover in the Hobbit alone and that they should just make the two parts focussing solely on this story. He did however include some extra segments from the appendices of Lord of the Rings in the films to pad out the story. Eventually, once all was filmed, Jackson approached the producers about splitting it into 3 films, since they had filmed so much good material that it seemed a shame to edit great deals of it out. Some have complained, saying that the move to making 3 films was merely so that the production companies could make more money from the films, with The Hobbit being an easily marketable franchise. Some fans in particular disliked the addition of whole storylines that were not in the original, feeling it took away from the focus of the real issues.
The films however are all very well made, and though there may be a few too many scenes, they are all high quality. They are similar to the Lord of the Rings in style, but are a little lighter in tone since the book was originally written for a younger audience. The film includes tense action-packed scenes, deep emotional scenes and funny scenes too, as well as some great awe-inspiring landscape shots, as the location for these films was, like their former New Zealand, which Jackson felt would mirror the landscapes of Middle Earth as described in the books.
Many familiar faces from the first film returned including Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom, and there were guest appearances from Elijah Wood and Ian Holm as well, but the vast array of new cast members were equally fantastic, including Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Luke Evans. The special effects in the film are also of note, especially considering that during the first film, on a smaller budget they had to restrict their use of computer-generated imagery, and in this film you can see they had much more freedom to create some epic scenes digitally.
So while the films can sometimes drag on a little too long, this has never bothered me, since everything is still of a high standard and I think that it is this rich and detailed background that makes the world of Middle-Earth so exciting and real. The last part in this trilogy has just left cinema, but if you haven’t yet seen this story, it highly recommend seeing it when the series is released for home viewing.
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