Saturday, April 25, 2009

FILM: Early Preview: The Hobbit

*Posted June 5, 2008*

Another movie franchise is getting another edition, this time it's the Academy Award winning LOTR trilogy. The Hobbit was finally greenlit with Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) directing. In recent years, franchises have been adding on movies with mixed results. Batman Begins easily leaped over the hurdle, while Indiana Jones merely rolled over it. Then there's Die Hard 4, which slammed into the hurdle, fell back on its ass, and cursed (but since it was PG-13, they would've had to say 'freak!'). Can they really screw this one up? Return of the King, which went 11 for 11 on Oscar night, is the definition of a tough act to follow. I didn't read the LOTR trilogy, but I did read the Hobbit in high school, and liked it. I also enjoyed the 70's cartoon movie. But I also enjoyed the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe book and cartoon, only to be sorely disappointed at the cheesy movie result. The good news for the Hobbit is that the source material is right there, and is rightly beloved. The bad news is that we have a new director's vision. The good news is that George Lucas isn't involved with the project, contributing gems of ideas like CGI gophers. The bad news is that the sequel to the Hobbit, coming out a year later, will be an original story penned by Peter Jackson to bridge the Hobbit and Fellowship. Does that mean another adventure for Bilbo? Or maybe a first adventure between Bilbo and a young Frodo like Indy and Mutt? I hope you are cringing like I am. Still, Sir Ian will be back as Gandalf, and James MacAvoy is rumored to be on the short list for Bilbo (you know him as Mr. Tumnus), and that's not too bad a casting job. The number one concern: how they will deal with Smaug, the fire breathing dragon, who oozed coolness in the cartoon.

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