In case you didn’t know, Peter Jackson and I are great friends! We go back many many years! I mean, you remember the dawn of time? Yeah, we go back even further than that.
So, last week, he asked me if I’d like to watch The Hobbit trilogy with him that he is planning on releasing in installments throughout the next few years. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity and asked to bring one friend with me. After putting all the names of all my friends in a hat (there were only 6…hats that is), I drew the lucky recipient Max from Impassioned Cinema. Jackson very graciously sent for us on his private jet and several hours later we landed in New Zealand for a special “on location” viewing of the three movies! It was an amazing experience and let me tell you, Cate Blanchett and Evangeline Lilly never looked more stunning than they did sitting on either side of me as we watched the films. WOWZA!
Well, after viewing it and flying back home, we decided that we just HAD to share our thoughts. Please join me in welcoming Max from Impassionedcinema as we talk about a new trilogy for this week’s installment of “Trilogy Thursday.” Looking at and reviewing the future trilogy, The Hobbit, and making our predictions on how you will enjoy it! 😀
Don’t worry, there are no spoilers. Are you ready to see the films?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Max: I was so luckily to be the name chosen to go on this trip to New Zealand. Seeing Hobbiton for the first time was amazing. I was a huge fan of all three movies in the Lord of the Rings series and I couldn’t wait to see this first movie. I expected the same care to costume design and Tolkein’s word throughout the entire trilogy and needless to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Some of the cast returns for this prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Sir Ian Mckellan returns in his academy award nominated role as Gandalf the Grey. This time he isn’t in The Shire to partake in a festival or birthday, he’s there to take young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on an adventure to remember. Some of my favorite parts of Fellowship of the Ring is the feeling of comradery between the fellowship that grew throughout their adventures. Luckily, The Hobbit has a lot of that same exact feeling, but this time the groups is made up of some very lively dwarves.
The returning of so many of the cast and crew of the Lord of the Rings trilogy has done wonders to bring this story to life.
T: Back in 2001, the world was introduced to Middle Earth, Gandalf, Sauron, Legolas, and Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. From the pages of J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic literary adventure to the big screen, director Peter Jackson presented his vision that won the hearts of fans worldwide. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; and then The Return of the King continued the amazing story of Frodo Baggins and his quest. Only, there was more to the story than that.
Enter 2012′s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Jackson very wisely and appropriately employed the help of several of the cast members from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to reprise their “younger” roles in each installment of this prequel trilogy. Sir Ian McKellan returns as Gandalf, Orlando Bloom returns as Legolas, the fantastic Andy Serkis does not disappoint as Gollum, and he even brought back Elijah Wood as Frodo (who was not in the book, The Hobbit, but is used as a narrator reading the account of Bilbo Baggins. It works very well and adds that extra bonus to the films sense of authenticity). Some of the greatest parts of this film, however, come from newcomers to the franchise.
Namely, the dwarves. Led by Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the dwarves add a great element to the film. What a great group of 13 small-size warriors with hearts of titans and courage of giants! But really it is hard to say that one actor stood out more than the rest. Jackson really pulled out all the stops with his assembled cast. I do them a disservice not mentioning each, but I will state that Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug is now one of my absolute favorite actors of all time!
Aside from the cast, so greatly assembled, Jackson continues to succeed in making The Hobbit such a pleasing film with his use of sets and cinematography. From the very first scene of the movie, you are immediately transported back to the Shire and it then becomes the real world to the viewer. The music, the style, the surroundings,…everything just amounts up to the level of expectation set from The Lord of the Rings.
I was pleasantly and thoroughly impressed and surprised with how Peter Jackson and crew once again made the characters come alive. Bilbo Baggins’ adventure seeking after stolen treasure with the dwarves is full of excitement and wonder. Fans of the book and the first three films will find only one disappointment: the cliffhanger ending that leaves you wanting the film to continue. Remember that feeling at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring when you wanted the film to continue, despite its already long running time, and then, all of a sudden, the credits are rolling and you realize you have to wait a whole year for the continuation? It is no different here. It ends just like that.
The reintroduction to Tolkein’s world is one of my favorite portions of the entire trilogy. A must-see for fans and an impressive re-beginning. Look for it in theaters on December 14, 2012.
Max: With adding another film into the mix There and Back Again had a lot more room to breathe. Although it seems like a bad title now that there is a film that takes place after it, its doesn’t deter the work of the film. Continuing off the epic cliffhanger of the previous film, Peter Jackson effortlessly brings us back into the world of hobbits, dragons, and dwarves. Like T below, I’m not at too much liberty to diverge that many details, but let it be known that it continues to look and sound awesome! Howard Shore is likely to receive another Academy Award nomination for his score (Yes it will be his fifth nomination), but I believe this might be one of his best works yet.
Much like the second Lord of the Rings film, Gollum takes on a much more important role here. His story is the glue that holds the entire franchise together so it is fitting he gets some more attention here as well. Thank goodness for the third film since this one was able to end without fourteen endings (One of the biggest complaints of Lord of the Rings). Although, I wonder what he ended up saving for the last film.
T: The saga continues with the same cast and crew. Let me first begin by telling you that Peter Jackson was super smart in filming these films back to back in order to keep continuity in look, feel, cast, etc. Bravo. The opening sequence begins with a slight bit of narration from Frodo Baggins who is continuing to read of Bilbo’s adventure in a book. After a quick recap of what took place in the previous film, we jump right into where we left off and Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves are standing in the same field we left them in with the same look of fear and anxiety in their eyes. The dark and gloomy environment remains quite foreboding and immediately everything else around me disappeared as all of my attention sharply honed in on the screen.
Bilbo is in quite the predicament now as he is “contracted” (no thanks to Gandalf) to complete his journey to Lonely Mountain and hope to find the entrance to the treasure hoard of Smaug. Dangerous though it may be, the promise of reward drives him further. Through dangerous forests, fighting giant monsters, running from trolls and goblins, it is an arduous mission. Although they have no idea where *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert *spoiler alert. (Sorry, Jackson asked me to keep all of that secret.) Let me just tell you, you will NOT see that coming! I was blown away.
What I can say is that see this film in 48fps on a special screen was worth all the hoopla and more. I hope you get to see it that way. Regardless, the cast and crew did not disappoint in this film. Though a bit long and drawn out (much like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), the second installment does serve as more than just a bridge between two exciting parts. The fight sequences, the character storylines, the events taking place that were referenced in The Lord of the Rings…all of it just fit so perfectly together. Those who were skeptics of Jackson making this small book into an entire trilogy for “money’s sake” will be eating their words when they finally see the trilogy!
Once again, in classic Jackson style, the end came all too soon. I remember glancing at my watch after 2 hours had passed and didn’t even realize the time had flown by. I didn’t want the film to end and then, Boom! The build up came and Jackson’s butler was prepared with the next film. What an amazing second part of a trilogy. Although still the weakest of the three, this second one is last only by a hair. Look for it in theaters on December 13, 2013.
The Hobbit: Part 3 (currently untitled, Max and I gave him our input and he chose the title we gave him, but I am not at liberty to divulge that information at this point in time.)
Max: Color me surprised, but Peter Jackson was able to pull it off again. He used a lot of material from the appendixes of The Hobbit for this film and it’s fitting it ends with starting the events that will happen in Lord of The Rings. I tend to think that’s the best part of the New Star Wars trilogy. Those crucial last 10 minutes where it felt like the original trilogy again. Martin Freeman continued his incredible performance of Bilbo Baggins. It would be a shame if he wasn’t consider for Best Actor at least once for his epic performance.
If there’s one bad thing about having seen all these films so early…I won’t be able to travel back into this wonderful world made by J.R.R. Tolkein again. These three movies are masterpieces that hold up well to the original trilogy while keep completely true to the books. What more could you ask for?
T: It is hard to share all the awesomeness that is a part of this third chapter of the series without spoilers, but I will attempt to do my best. This one is the one worth waiting for! Armies, battles, victories, losses, Jackson continues telling the story of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in magnificent fashion. As with most trilogies, loose ends begin to be tied up as the story draws to a close, but not without tremendous battles and the opportunity of treasure and truth revealed.
The thing I loved most about this final installment is that amid all of the action and adventures that take place in the climatic installment, the focus of the hobbit himself does not get clouded. Jackson stays true to Tolkein’s work and makes sure that all that happens shows an impact on the development of Bilbo Baggins. He very craftily begins to paint the picture that explains more about his character in the Lord of the Rings and also explains a little bit more as to the character and adventurous nature of Frodo himself.
So much happens in this final chapter and it helps explain relationships in Jackson’s award-winning trilogy. The elves, the dwarves, Gandalf, the hobbits, so much gave me those “aha” moments while watching not just the third film, but all of The Hobbit movies.
This third installment very nicely wraps up Bilbo’s adventure. Ending in the Shire where it all began was so fitting, because, of course, that’s where we first see Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring. Jackson knows what he’s doing and ties it all up nicely. I’m proud to call him “friend!”
Look for the final installment in theaters in 2014.
With such a great foundation laid by The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy succeeds in becoming a foundation to The Lord of the Rings as well in return. It would be remiss of me to close up my review of this trilogy without mentioning the amazing soundtrack put together for it. It is, afterall, the music that helps tremendously in transporting the viewer right back into the land we remember from The Lord of the Rings. Absolutely amazing.
I wish to thank Peter Jackson, Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, and so many more of the entire cast for their hospitality and their awesome work. Oh, and Orlando Bloom, I’ll send the elvin ears back…sorry about that. Didn’t think you’d notice they went missing. And please tell Evangeline Lilly to call me!
(The preceding report is, of course, completely and 110,000% true, with no errors or falsehoods) On, another note, it will be so interesting to come back to this in a few years after seeing the trilogy and seeing if it reads as true! What do you think? Are we spot on with your expectations of the films? Let us know. Leave a comment!
Thanks for reading! This was a lot of fun speculating and PRE-reviewing The Hobbit Trilogy. And, a special thanks to Max from Impassioned Cinema!
–T, The Focused Filmographer