With the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey less than a month away, fans are already taking sides as to whether this trilogy of films will be able to overtake its massively successful predecessors. Regardless of its financial success, however, fans of Tolkien’s original story should not worry because this movie will most certainly be better than its already awesome Lord of the Rings ancestors. Here’s why:
1) Peter Jackson Has Grown
Just as the Dark Knight trilogy is inseparable from Christopher Nolan, so is The Lord of the Rings franchise inseparable from Peter Jackson. Already having succeeded in directing a fantastic trilogy out of Tolkien’s epic franchise, the Lord of the Films has only matured as a socially conscious filmmaker — as was wonderfully displayed in his production District 9. Also, Jackson now has experience with massive franchises that he didn’t necessarily have back in 2001, so he should utilize the blockbuster budget even better. Therefore, suffice to say, Jackson is sure to please.
2) It’s the Better Tale
The Lord of the Rings is a powerful story that certainly defeats its predecessor in terms of adequately delivering a classic epic of massive scale. However, The Hobbit has its own strength and that is its incredibly relatable protagonist. Whereas Tolkien’s later work becomes increasingly obsessed with creating visions of grandeur, The Hobbit is a personal tale of lovable Bilbo Baggins. In him, we all see the nerd that has been told to save the world. Like some Clark Kent that knows he’s never going to really become Superman, our protagonist still fights for what is right, making bumbling mistakes along the way. It may never provide the visceral thrills of its predecessors, but The Hobbit will certainly have more heart.
3) Double the Frames
Whereas most other directors would have been content with settling for a measly 24 frames per second 3D, The Lord of the Films knows better. Having received one of the first red digital epic cameras ever made, Jackson has filmed the Hobbit trilogy in 48 frames per second. IGN criticized the look as being too realistic and Variety also said it lost some “cinematic glow,” whatever that means. However, as mentioned before, this is not a tale where the focus should be on fantastical elements, epic battles, and Chris Hemsworth-ian pretty boys. Instead, the added detail in filming should, more than ever, allow us to see these seemingly mythical creatures as we see ourselves: realistic and imperfect, right down to the freckles. Perhaps others only want to see beautiful people on screen but if Bilbo was written to be kind of small and kind of fat, that is what he should look like.
4) Computer Generated Graphics
Whereas the actors portraying the orcs in The Lord of The Rings wore makeup and prostheses, the monsters in The Hobbit will be more computer generated. As we have seen in James Cameron’s Avatar and in Andy Serkis’ performances in The Lord of the Rings or Planet of the Apes, the best graphics are the ones that computers make. That is not to say that the field of physical makeup is useless, mind you; it simply means that data is better than humans. When each and every facial muscle is recorded as a digit and carefully tampered with in a computerized environment of mechanical accuracy, that is when computers become art and go so far beyond anything the human hand can make that comparisons are futile.
5) The Cast is Even Better
The original trilogy had some fantastic actors and, luckily, most of them will be returning. We will see the immortal Ian McKellen return as Gandalf, the fantastic Andy Serkis will reprise his award-winning role as Gollum, and Elijah Wood will once again come back as Frodo Baggins. McKellen and Serkis were already masters of their art so any improvement would really be tough to find. However, the cast becomes even stronger now that Elijah Wood has come into his own as an artist, effortlessly portraying the wonderful shades of gray in FX’s Wilfred. Also, we cannot overlook the addition of British actor Martin Freeman as the titular character because not only his he heavily praised but also socially aware, making him the kind of actor whose work often shows us the depth that art is supposed to display.
6) THE Stephen Colbert
Yes, for those that have not heard, LOTR fan and star of The Colbert Report Stephen Colbert will have a cameo in this trilogy. Forget about the rest of the admittedly fantastic cast; this addition alone is enough to prove that the makers of The Hobbit know how to cater to the nerd in all of us. Whether he emulates the role he plays on his show or is instead an entirely new personality, there is no shape or form in which Colbert fails to please. Granted, he won’t be in the first movie of the trilogy but if this is any indication, the makers of The Hobbit know their audience.
7) The International Hype
While The Lord of the Rings franchise is among the most successful in history, Hollywood's biggest studios and the government of New Zealand really seem to have even more faith in this adaptation. Not only is The Hobbit receiving far more hype than its predecessors but the nation of New Zealand also seems to have promoted this title as if their very image were on the line. Considering the fact that the film seems to work as a large tourist advertisement, it is understandable why the publicity would be increased but a sovereign nation simply would not get behind something that wasn’t worth something. Therefore, you can be certain that this is going to be an awesome film; it has the hopes and dreams of at least one entire country behind it.
Therefore, it can be said that The Hobbit will be a fantastic addition to the franchise and just may succeed in outshining the movies that defined a decade of fantasy on film. The expectations for this film and its subsequent sequels are high but, luckily, the production values seem even higher. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have its world premiere on November 28 in Wellington followed by a theatrical release on December 14.