The news broke Monday that there will officially be a third installment of the Hobbit. Rumors had been swirling for weeks but now Peter Jackson himself has confirmed it. The first installment of the latest franchise by the director of the esteemed Lord of the Rings trilogy is set for release in December 2012.
The news that there will be a total of three movies has not been met with widespread joy and celebration, but instead with skepticism and nervousness.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was chock full of material. Tolkien’s novels are unbelievably intimidating literary onslaughts with an averaged estimate of 561,792 words in all three books. That’s a lot of words. You can get three really long movies out of that.
We did get three really long movies out of that.
But we’re worried about the Hobbit. The Hobbit is less of a sweeping epic and more of a quaint tale that only hints at darkness. It is called the Hobbit for god’s sake. It also only has 95,022 words.
See the discrepancy in lengths?
But I trust Peter Jackson. He nailed LOTR. Absolutely nailed it. They were beautiful cinematographically (holy hell, that’s a real word?!), the casting was phenomenal, the script was serious and well-written, and the score was to die for. But most importantly, it was an undertaking that Tolkien would have been pleased with. It honored the spirit of his work and maintained the integrity of his voice.
That is the part that concerns about this latest Hobbit news. I’m not sure how Tolkien would have felt about all the stretching. It has been said that Jackson will be pulling from the appendices to flesh out the story and fill it in even more. That’s great. There have also been whispers that content from the Silmarillion will make it into the third installment. If that happens, I will pee myself like an overly excited Shih-Tzu.
Despite my hopes, I will admit that my faith was shaken when I found out that Jackson is shooting the first two films at 48 fps (frames per second) as we speak. A reference point: ESPN runs their HD programming at a max of 60 fps, and if you’ve ever seen one of those screens in a bar or something you know how clear that is. A traditional film runs at 24 fps. I feel that this new, super-clear film will mess with the overall feel of the movies.
It’s Middle Earth, not Pandora.
I love the potential of this extended Hobbit venture. I don’t love the uncertainty that comes with it; the worry that it’s nothing more than a quest to squeeze us Tolkien aficionados out of more of our cash. I love the possibility of the inclusion of Tolkien’s appendices and the Silmarillion, but fear the thought that Middle Earth could be forever altered in the name of progress.
Ultimately, though, I’ll risk heartbreak and disappointment for a few more years in Middle Earth.