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Author Archive

The Desolation of Jackson? A review of the Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug

Hobbit Smaug Poster Let ‘forge the golden dwarf’, join ‘jump the shark’, and ‘nuke the fridge’ in our lexicon for describing when a once-great creative force reveals itself truly spent.

The Desolation of Smaug, and the Hobbit trilogy as a whole, only makes sense as the world’s most expensive satire on the vast canvas of a contemporary film industry increasingly supported by so-called ‘tentpole blockbusters’. In true Kiwi fashion, the trilogy achieves this through an amazing capacity to laugh at itself… but quite literally at the audience’s expense.


Posted in Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien

Thomas Monteath critiques An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The Hobbit would be better subtitled ‘Great Expectations’ rather than ‘An Unexpected Journey’, given the spectacular triple-act it follows, and the accumulated anticipation in the near decade since the Oscar-sweeping The Return of the King. This presents a problem for judging the film, for we are none of us objective. Comparisons with the original trilogy are inevitable, and thus before we even look at the intrinsic merits of the latest addition to Jackson’s Middle-earth adaptations, we need to be aware of how much we take for granted in coming to this new trilogy, and thus how our critical faculties are skewed. (more…)

Posted in Characters, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit

The Hobbit trilogy: connecting the dots and filling the blanks

The Unexpected Party.

This essay presents an argument for the likely structure and content of the Hobbit film trilogy, with particular concern for where there is evidence of the film-makers re-structuring the source material and interpreting the appendices.

As such, it integrates and expands upon points made in three previous articles published here on an article defending the prospect of a trilogy; an article arguing the likely structure and break-point of film one; and an article analysing the official Hobbit figurine descriptions leaked online a couple of months ago.

It attempts to triangulate a sense of the films’ structure and content from two things: the available information that has been released about the films; an appreciation for how stories are constructed. With regard to the latter, two points are worth emphasising: in an adaptation as in any story, characters are key, and they must progress through an arc. Naturally, there will be spoilers. (more…)

Posted in Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

Playing Sherlock: a few Hobbit plot deductions from the figurine character biographies

Since the Hobbit film trilogy began shooting principal photography 18 months ago, the production has played its very cards close to its chest, and Stone Street Studios has proved more leak-proof than the White House.

In light of this, speculation on the films — whether pertaining to structure or content — has the hallmark of paleolithic archaeology: not only are large inferences having to be made from an extremely small amount of evidence, but the legitimacy and relevance of the evidence itself is by no means certain.

With all this in mind, I’ll try and draw some tentative conclusions about the trilogy’s plot and structure — with particular attention to any evidence of departures from the book — from what we understand to be official biographical notes that will accompany the character figurines from The Hobbit.

While it is impossible to confirm that the descriptive information released with these figurines accurately reflects the film-makers vision, they are detailed and idiosyncratic enough to suggest there is a high degree of alignment.

Note that some of the biographies (Kili, Fili, Gloin and Dwalin, for example) are left out here. Where this occurs this is because, in my view, they offered no insight on the trilogy plot, structure, or departures from the source material. And if spoilers and speculation aren’t your thing, best to stop reading now. (more…)

Posted in Casting Rumors, Collectibles, Director Rumors, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, Locations Sets, Merchandise, The Hobbit, Community, Tolkien