The Hobbit beyond 2015

LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2012 - 12:00am

By giving it a three-year prequel, it seems to us that the producers behind the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) have only kept its spirit alive in the hearts and minds of followers. Throughout the nine years since LOTR ended, news of the impending filmization of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 children’s book The Hobbit had given hope that they would once again meet with well-loved creatures from LOTR.

We are reminded that LOTR came into being only when the children’s book The Hobbit went into such international success of having sold over 100 million copies with multiple translations that adult readers requested Tolkien for another story, this time for a mature audience. This became LOTR in three installments.

In a story on the transition from LOTR to Hobbit, from book to screen, we are given a most interesting detail. Analyzing the Tolkien genius, an uncredited lifestyle writer brings out the fact that within 125 pages of appendices at the end of LOTR, Tolkien continued to develop the story further. “When Tolkien sat down to write its sequel and ended up writing The Lord of the Rings, he took time to revisit the events surrounding The Hobbit because he had a very strong sense that within this little children’s book were the seeds of a greater legend.”

We ask a friend why he loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy and had watched all three from The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. He couldn’t say why, only that “I memorized the entire trilogy,” says gemologist Marlon Pedregosa. Apparently, he bought the DVD of the franchise and would go through all three non-stop at home. Indeed, this proved the best way to appreciate the continuity of the Tolkien classic. We watched The Hobbit together and many times he knew what scenes would come next, even without having read the book. He knew the eagles would come to rescue Gandalf the Grey because it had happened in LOTR.

The Hobbit is once again a trilogy. Following An Unexpected Journey will be The Desolation of Smaug on Dec. 13, 2013, and There and Back Again on July 18, 2014. After this, one can only guess. For the meantime, we shall be content with lessons taught in The Hobbit, lessons in life, in writing, in directing and acting.

We are glad that movies based on best-selling books are still being made. It means that the art of reading is not completely lost, even if now, it is done on Kindle. Locally, Precious Hearts Romances books still serve as basis for blockbuster TV serials and movies in the Philippines. And of course, graphic novels from komiks materials still serve as the rich source of our teleseryes.

It is said that the film version of The Hobbit, megged by Peter Jackson of LOTR, demonstrates thoroughly just how much of a genius he is. In order to make the transition from the back story to today, he put in features and brought in characters from the present to the story of 60 years ago. There is the Wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), the Elf Queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), the Elf lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Gollum (Andy Serkisj1

). Cate’s character isn’t even in the book, but Jackson brings her in to add to the connection of the two periods.

Hobbit is simpler in structure since it only tells of the search of 14 people for Middle Earth. Richard Armitage, leader of the dwarves, is amazing in his single-mindedness to regain his lost dwarfdom. Hobbit is also funnier and more entertaining than the darker portions of LOTR. The heart of the film, hobbit Bilbo Baggins played by Martin Freeman, has been summoned by Wizard Gandalf to join the party to get him out of his reclusive boring habits. What an opportunity for Martin to be forced to discover how it is to be out of his comfort zone. Plus, the fact that he has a lengthy discourse with Andy, again playing the Gollum character he created in LOTR.

An aside on Andy, his work as Gollum as well as Caesar in The Planet of the Apes known as motion capture has been critically-acclaimed and received awards from institutions that normally don’t recognize motion capture as real acting like a National Board of Review Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, among several others. See you again in Middle Earth, at least for two more years.

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