|The Hobbit - a big story with a humble beginning|
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Posted by emmetocuana at 01:19
Oh to be in New Zealand today!
I have been hanging out for the release of The Hobbit for what feels like an absolute age. From the nervous negotiations over the future of major partner in the production MGM during its bankruptcy, to the rumours of disconcerting framerate speeds, protests from trade unions - well, it's been a stressful time to be a Jackson/LOTR fan.
In another sense, as I have mentioned here before, I have been waiting for this since the late eighties at least. There's a palpable sense of validation among fantasy fans at the huge commercial success of Jackson's adaptation of Tolkien, hence the breathless anticipation among media commentators much in evidence today in the run up to the Wellington premiere.
But there has also been a sense of rising disquiet in some of the commentary emerging before the film's release. For example on the imdb page for the film, a user has already posted a 'review' - albeit one predicated solely on the reviewer's annoyance that the slim novel has somehow produced the first of three major cinema releases - An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and There And Back Again.
At the risk of partisanship though, there is a simple justification of this. The Lord of The Rings for example excised whole chunks of Tolkien's text - and yet infamously, certain audience members were livid at the overlong 'endings' for The Return of the King (on the dvd commentary, Elijah Wood amusingly recounts being accosted by Jack Nicholson). These stories are so dense with anecdotes and offhand references to epic poems - all composed by Tolkien to populated his invented legendarium - that there is simply too much content to attempt a straightforward adaptation. To even attempt to do so would be, as forum commentator icon Boromir remarks - 'folly'.
As any LOTR fan can tell you, the narrative of these books takes place in a much wider story, The History of the War of the Ring tells of armies and empires, secret civilizations, apocalyptic forces gathering - with the forming of The Fellowship expressly a small undertaking designed not to draw attention. Not only that, but the books themselves were preceded by an even greater epic of Tolkien's invention - The Silmarillion. Large, unwieldy and full of genealogies that rival the Old Testament, even a modern-day Cecil B. DeMille would baulk at bringing it to the big screen.
Except of course Jackson would appear to be giving us as much of a taste of this vast canvas of story as he can in these three films.
I have absolutely no problem with that and cannot wait to see the finished film - the director claims he only saw he print shown at the premiere only a few days ago - when it comes to Oz in December. Stories like this deserve all the time they are given.
Labels: Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, New Zealand premiere, The Hobbit, The Hobbit controversy, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion |