One into three won't go. A Hobbit trilogy is stretching Tolkien a little too far
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Thursday 26 July 2012
Is there some kind of law of modern culture that says everything must come in threes? Fifty Shades of Grey, The Dark Knight movies, The Hunger Games books, Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell books, Toy Story, The Matrix… It seems that publishers and film studios would do anything to get a franchise under way, and to tell its audience, as if they were small children, that the characters they liked will be back with more adventures next year…
The newest trilogy is one nobody saw coming: The Hobbit. We knew Peter Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy to global acclaim a decade ago, was filming Tolkien's 1937 novel that introduced many of the characters (Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum) in The Lord of the Rings. We'd heard that Warner Bros planned to split it into two parts. But guess what?
The studio's now planning to spin it out into three movies, the first scheduled to appear in December.
Here's the thing. The Lord of the Rings was written as an epic three-parter, 800 pages long. The Hobbit, by contrast, is a slim, simple adventure story told in 310 pages. Trying to extend it across three feature-length movies is, if I may use the vernacular, stretching an ant's arse over a rain barrel. It can't be done. But according to industry insiders, lack of stuff in the actual book won't stop Jackson. He has apparently decided there's enough in the book's extended appendices to bulk out the duology to a trilogy.
Readers may be alarmed by the prospect. Tolkien's six appendices are deadly dull bits of Middle Earth folklore, hobbit family trees, hobbit calendars, tips on the pronunciation of words and names, and cod-academic discussions of elvish language.
Fascinating. You were expecting a fillet steak? It sounds like you'll be getting three burgers made from mechanically recovered meat.
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
- 4 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
- 5 Teen suffers embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in front of deputy PM
Daredevil, Netflix, TV review: Marvel wins first fight in bid for television domination with Charlie Cox's superhero vigilante
London art exhibition features portrait of Iraqi migrant shot dead in Iraq after being refused UK asylum
Grace Dent on TV: Peter Kay's Car Share made me genuinely LOL
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds