Monday, March 30, 2009

A Plea for the upcoming Hobbit film

One of the rumors flying around is that the upcoming Hobbit film, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings, will be broken up into two separate films, with one film being based on the book of the same name, and the other being a "bridging" film - which fills in the years between the events of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

My biggest fear is that a "bridging" film would be uninteresting to anyone not fully absorbed into the franchise, as the time between the stories is relatively quiet. What we could be left with is a 2+ hour film that is nothing more than a glorified mish-mash of different sequences that will eventually lead into Lord of the Rings. Highly entertaining to a die-hard, but I just don't see a cohesive story coming out of it - unless they make up a great deal. That is, not that I'd put it past Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens based on what they did to the source material in Return of the King.

I personally hope they just expand on ancillary plots that happened concurrently with The Hobbit. By adding an extended prologue and an entire "new" subplot involving the White Council meeting (mentioned in other material but is not show in the book), then later show the attack on Dol Guldur (in the south of Mirkwood, one of the rallying places for Sauron's forces). If they don't butcher the material, they could easily fill the film out into two 2 hour and 30 minute films for the theater. There would be no need for "compression" by excising any major sequences. If the pacing is off - then perhaps one film is a better move with some minor trimming.

If they want to do another film ($$$$$), I'd suggest that they attempt to secure the film rights to The Silmarillion (and other "lost" works) and do a theatrical film of Akallabêth. A great deal of information is available already, and the audience is familiar with some of the story - the end of a film version of Akallabêth (or two if they can legitimately expand on the material) could be the Last Alliance of Elves and Men defeating Sauron. This would fit right in with the prologue in Lord of the Rings.

After that point they'd have gone "far enough" back that introducing completely different characters would not be a problem (Beren and Lúthien, and The Children of Húrin), and an entire array of stories could be told in the theater if anyone has the stamina to actually take on any of those projects.

Until then, I remain hopeful that there is no "bridging" tale, because if the choice is a "bridging film" or no followup film, I'd rather there not be one.

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