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The Guardian suggests stagnation driving Hobbit trilogy

September 4, 2012 at 2:39 am by Demosthenes  - 

Guardian columnist James Russell writes in a sure-to-be-controversial piece that he doesn’t think the move to make the Hobbit into a trilogy is all about money. Rather, he wonders, is Peter Jackson “pushing his new Tolkien project to ridiculous extremes because he has nothing else to offer?”

He writes: “I think something much more dispiriting has motivated the decision: creative stagnation.”

“Who knows, the movie(s) might be good, and I might have to eat my words. While it may be maddening for those who see cold, hard profit as the prime motivation behind The Hobbit, it looks sad rather than venal to me. Jackson used to be a genuinely capable and interesting figure, with a particular talent for pioneering technical accomplishments (his decision to film in 48fps is the most compelling thing about The Hobbit). It sounds crazy to say, in light of the visionary epic fantasies he has created, but surely he could choose more creatively ambitious projects than this.”


Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, Studios, Warner Bros. on September 4, 2012 by
Source: The Guardian The Guardian suggests stagnation driving Hobbit trilogy | Discuss

Daggers of Tauriel

16 responses to “The Guardian suggests stagnation driving Hobbit trilogy”

  1. NickLeStrange says:

    Balderdash. I think this writer is out of ideas on what to write. This story isn’t worth the time it took to read it.

  2. Cyrus says:

    I do not think Jackson would rather give the money to the quality of the movie.

  3. elaterite says:

    Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films suggest he is running on empty:

  4. well, I just hope for all our sakes that this guy is wrong! I still want to believe in the hobbit!

  5. predictivescript says:

    The guardian article is drivel. The implicit suggestion is that adapting the Hobbit takes little creativity. This is demonstrably untrue. What on earth could be more ‘creatively ambitious’ than filming an allegedly unfilmable book?

    Furthermore, Jackson has directed two decent (if not spectacular) films since LotR, as well as produced a number of others. Every film he has ever made he has written, produced and directed. That is more creativity – and before we even talk about innovation in film, not to mention the fact he has built a film-making industry from scratch in New Zealand – than almost any other major film-maker.

    The worst criticism that could be levelled at Jackson is that he runs the risk of being a victim of his own success. It will, of course, be completely impossible to top 11 for 11 oscars for Return of the King, if awards is your metric for success. Just because he can’t possibly hope to match the plaudits that film garnered (largely because it was so unprecedented at the time rather than because it is likely to be his best film – the Hobbit movies could well top it in a number of ways) does not mean he has suffered creative burnout.

    In short, the Guardian blog post is rubbish. But then again, it has sparked a discussion, which I suppose is what blogs are meant to do.

    As for this constant canard about the films being driven by money: this decision to expand to a trilogy came from the writing team. I doubt they’d risk their legacy – which surely becomes more important once you’re already rolling in hundreds of millions of dollars in your current account – by producing 5 great films and then one flimsy one. This was clearly a creative choice, and one the studio then agreed to. Furthermore, a trilogy structure can work just fine:

  6. AngryGecko says:

    I left the following comment on The Guardian site. I thought the blog post was trite, but I was compelled to respond when he dissed JRRT.*********************************************************** “Tolkien seems to have created the idealised past of Middle Earth in order to escape a confusing present. It’s a shame to see Jackson doing the same.”
    This article dismisses Tolkien’s creation of Middle-earth as simply an escape from “a confusing present.” It has been argued by Tom Shippey that Tolkien’s works rank as one of the greatest achievements of imagination of the twentieth century, and I agree with him. The fact that you couldn’t bother to spell Middle-earth correctly highlights your profund lack of insight into what Tolkien is all about.
    I admire, I do not adore, Peter Jackson. He is a brilliant film maker, although his films are not always brilliant. I will not bore everyone with my personal excitement and misgivings regarding his hobbit film, but I will say that if he is as you claim, doing what Tolkien did, Jackson, and many others will consider it a worthy accomplishment, rather than a shame.

  7. I want to slap this baffoon !

  8. janna says:

    instead of making two long posts, just thought i’d post the remarks I made in the Guardian:

    My goodness, what a very tunnel-vision-ish piece. A mere ten years after filming the most ambitious and ground-breaking movies in ages, and Jackson is ‘running on empty’.

    In the first instance, let me correct (a bit) the statement as to the Potter franchise being the first to split books (in case no one else has). LOTR was and is one book (to some, THE ONE BOOK). It only appeared as three because the publisher balked at the sheer volume of it for both practical and economic reasons. The book was then broken down to the three we know at present, with those three also being broken down segmentally.

    So, if you wish to be very technical, Jackson and Company (to my knowledge) were the first to split a book for filming purposes. (Jackson, in any case, did not follow the ‘splits’ made in the novels themselves. Only Fellowship ends ‘on the beat’).

    But splitting books is hardly the point. Splitting hairs is. And really, that is what is the center-piece of this article. Jackson is not so far away from his success in LOTR and perhaps he may be forgiven IF, in his efforts post-trilogy, he did not one-up himself. That’s a mighty tall rail to jump. He very well earned a ten-year rest after the struggle to even MAKE “Rings” – to say nothing of the arduous shoot, post-production and all that follows. Even the younger memebers of the cast were worn out by the press junkets, so imagine the exhaustion of Jackson, who is pretty much known for untiringly giving input to almost every aspect of his production.

    Just yesterday a friend and I were discussing the fact that there would be a third film, which did seem to really fly in the face of the relative smallness of the source material. We remembered the length of the movies of the trilogy and how fans cried, even so, for what (even) had been left on the cutting-room floor. His idea was that Jackson, in this instance, sets out to satisfy (and forestall) the fans (and himself). He has the material, and the means, now, to take this story as far as he might go and he should use those resources.

    Oh…..and money. I daresay he does want to make money with these films. And I daresay that you and I, and everyone else in the world who can’t afford to be artsy for free wish to make money at what we do, as well. Is is gratuitous money-making? No more or less than any of the rest of us.

    Peter Jackson will not play again in the world of Middle Earth. Allow him (and the fans) this indulgence, Mr. Russell. From all that I have seen of the …….errrrr…..footage, it seems to me that he will say his farewell in a lovely manner.

  9. Kwendall says:


  10. Evan Lutton says:

    Lets not beat around the bush here – this article is more about the columnists views on whether Peter Jackson should have made the Hobbit at all, rather than a third movie. The decision to make a third movie simply reinforces his views that he shouldn’t have made it all, and turned his creative attention other things. Maybe you could have a real discussion about this… but its a bit hard without seeing the movies first.

  11. Alex Ortner says:

    I think the author doesn’t know much of the Middle Earth Story.

  12. Sheri says:

    James Russell needs to make sure he has plenty of salt to go with those words…… they won’t taste very good alone.

  13. DapperDan11 says:

    I have confidence that part I and II will be spectacular. I question the third movie’s genuine feel. But, as long as Peter sticks with the appendices and doesn’t stray too far from the path with the third movie (we will have to be lenient and let him use his imagination a little bit), then all will be fine.

  14. says:

    The thing is, most fans of The Lord of the Rings films have WANTED Jackson to adapt The Hobbit in the years since the LOTR trilogy concluded in 2003. Whether he is desperate for a new hit or not doesn’t really matter, as long has he does a good job.

  15. Brian Boru says:

    The only criticism I only want to be focussed on as far as the creativity of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit goes is that stated by Christopher Tolkien who was extensively consulted by his father in the writing of both. He said: “They gutted the book, making an action movie for 15-25 year olds. And it seems that The Hobbit will be of the same ilk. Tolkien became…devoured by his popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of the time. The gap widened between the beauty, the seriousness of the work, and what it has become is beyond me. This level of marketing reduces to nothing the aesthetic and philosophical significance of this work”. This refers to how JRR Tolkien was a an educator in Medieval English and how what of that comes into the movies, brought to it by scholars employed by the projects, has formed a strange comulgation with the Hollywood action movie. The reason why I want to focus on this is that it has been suggested to me that the movies do ‘a better job’ than the scholars in promoting this when I know this not to be true. While the scholars will always be focussed on the things that make up the source material of the books the movie makers will move on to other projects. Whether the projects are a sucess or not is another matter and all I would want to focus on there is that a big reason why they might be a success is because the movie makers capitalised on their productions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

  16. Lord Whiteman says:

    I never knew a Hobbit to turn down more of a good thing.;)

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