When the last LOTR film came out in 2003, I felt both joy and grief. For three years, December had meant a new Lord of the Rings film. The Return of the King, I knew would be the last and possibly best of the LOTR trilogy, and would mean an end to my looking forward to Peter Jackson bringing a world I loved so much to the screen.
Then The Hobbit film rights came up and Peter Jackson said that, no, he wouldn’t be directing it this time.
Hasn’t anyone told you to never say never, Pete?
When he eventually ended up helming the film, I wasn’t surprised. Why bother with a new director, really? I shudder at the thought of anyone else doing it. Jackson understood what so many other Hollywood directors didn’t about the franchise: that the material, really, doesn’t need much mucking with.
(I still haven’t quite forgiven him for what he did with Faramir’s character in the second film and for making the otherwise not-really-all-that-talented Orlando Bloom a star)
The Hobbit is at heart a children’s story. But without The Hobbit, the Lord of The Rings wouldn’t have started. As a “prequel” it has far more heart than the ridiculous Star Wars prequels put together.
I know Tolkien’s often criticised for being moralistic and pushing too much of his agenda into his books. But unlike C.S Lewis’ Narnia series, the overt proselytising doesn’t come across. Gandalf isn’t Jesus, even if he does come back to life after a great sacrifice.
What The Hobbit does try to put across is that even the littlest of people, in the biggest of worlds, can have an impact. Bilbo chose to show mercy to Gollum instead of killing him and in his own way, set the course for the future of Middle Earth.
It’s something that we often forget, in the daily run of our lives, that we can do things that matter in the long run for a bigger reason, for bigger causes than we are.
I expect the next two films to make the next two Decembers worth waiting for.