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'The Hobbit' finally escapes the trolls

October 15, 2010 |  7:26 pm

Jackson
It's taken a long time -- longer than it takes most movies to be shot, released and come out on DVD  -- but "The Hobbit" is now a real film. A pair of them.

After being widely known for weeks that a deal for to finance the Peter Jackson-directed 3-D franchise was coming together, as my colleagues Claudia Eller and Ben Fritz at Company Town have been reporting, the news came officially this evening via press release from New Line and MGM that the movies were going forward (pending a labor dispute between Jackson and performers' unions).

Production on the first film starts in February in New Zealand (again, pending that labor issue). The second gets shot right after, or even overlaps a little with it, and the movies would hit theaters in December of 2012 and 2013.

“Exploring Tolkien’s Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience,” Jackson says in the release. "It’s an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama." (And, he might have have added, an all-immersive journey into the vagaries of film financing.)

There are questions both creative and marketing around the next pictures to be adapted from a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy novel. The technological scope of Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was groundbreaking, but in a post-"Avatar" world, that bar is now much higher.

And while fanboys will scrutinize the movie with their own lens, the reception among the critics and awards community will be almost as interesting. After all, the third "LOTR" swept through the Oscars, but it took goodwill accumulated from the two previous movies. Will the first "Hobbit" get to build on that or will it need to start from scratch?

There also will be an interesting race to the multiplex between "The Hobbit" and "At the Mountains of Madness," another large-scale fantasy project, this one from the man who for a long time was going to direct "Hobbit," Guillermo Del Toro. Both movies are expected to start production at roughly the same time, and comparisons and what-ifs inevitably will follow.

Today, though, the fans are simply breathing a sigh of relief. Or maybe just fainting.

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Peter Jackson and Miranda Otto on the set of "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King." Credit: New Line

RECENT AND RELATED:

The Hobbit movies ready to go, pending labor resolution


 
Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Too bad del Toro is out -- Pan's Lab nailed it. Hope Peter Jackson doesn't pull off another weird mix of cloying sentimentalism and tiresome battle cgi made for the video game, or I'd prefer no movie at all. But the Hobbit as a novel is much less ambitious, and probably better suited to his rather shallow take on Tolkien.

Martin Freeman- Bilbo
Ian McKellan- Gandalf
Andy Serkis- Gollum
Sylvester McCoy- Radagast
James Nesbitt- Bard
Brian Cox-Thorin Oakenshield
Hugo Weaving- Elrond
Charles Dance- Thranduil
Ron Perlman- Beorn
Michael Fassbender-Gloin
Brian Blessed- Balin
Bruce Payne-Dwalin
Michael Ironside- Bombur
Malcolm McDowell (voice of) – Smaug
Alfred Molina-Troll 1
Pete Postlethwaite- Troll 2
David Warner-Troll 3

Don't you think it's kind of blatantly sexist to presume that everyone who is a scrutinizing Tolkien fan is male?

What are you trying to do -- make girl geeks feel like they're not even part of the human race?

Where do you get these dumb sexist stereotypes anyway?


Malcolm McDowell is going to do Smaug. Yippee. The only other person I'd think could do Smaug justice would be Helen Mirren. Helen Mirren would make a great Smaug too.

The fact that these guy's won't even pay union wages to deserving crew and cast is a travesty... 300 lillion budget? Give me a break! Very un-hobbitish. I'm not looking forward to it. Sorry, Sir JRR Tolkien.

They need to get Steven Segal in this one as an orc villian. He won't need to wear any makeup or even wear a costume to look the part.

When having the fanciest special effects becomes the goal, then the movies are doomed to be, at best, a brief flash of success before they are displaced by the next fanciest technology. First tell a great story, with technology helping. The Hobbit story has been popular for decades - so messing it up would be a pathetic failure.

I was not impressed with Avitar the characters looked like blue Gumbys. There was minamal body definition, only part that stood out were the eyes.
Peter Jackson will do a great job.


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