In less than two weeks time, fans of The Lord of the Rings will be able to once again return to Middle Earth as the first of The Hobbit trilogy hits theatres around the world. Today, I’m going to outline just why The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be an awesome movie, and quite possibly be even better than our first visits to Middle Earth a decade ago.
After many false starts, studio financing issues, director changes, many wondered if we would ever see The Hobbit actually get filmed, and just how close in likeness it would be to The Lord of the Rings.
Eventually, all of those issues fell in line and once again Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, took over the director’s chair for what eventually became The Hobbit trilogy. Assisting Jackson as second unit director is Andy Serkis, Gollum himself, giving a seasoned Middle Earth hand to the productions as well.
Despite almost a full decade between ending filming for The Lord of the Rings and starting to film The Hobbit, all the actors or actresses who played characters who are present in both source materials are back, such as Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Hugo Weaving as Elrond, with the one notable exception being the role of Bilbo Baggins, the main protagonist of The Hobbit.
In order to bring necessary youthfulness to the role, as the event of The Hobbit take place a full 60 years earlier than The Lord of the Rings, Martin Freeman was cast as Bilbo Baggins, to replace Sir Ian Holm who played the role in the first visit to Middle Earth. That being said, Holm will be returning to the role as it is believed that The Hobbit will be a story that Bilbo is telling to his young nephew and heir, Frodo Baggins, to kick off the movie.
While filming The Hobbit, which was originally setup to be a two-part experience but has since transformed into a trilogy of its own, Peter Jackson made some interesting decisions about how he would actually film everything. As a result of this, Jackson is pushing the boundaries of what many thought to be conventional film making.
They bought 49 RED 3D cameras, the first cameras of their kind, to film The Hobbit. They also shot it 48 frames per second, which is twice the industry norm of 24 fps. While the human eye can see in approximately 60 fps, 100 years of movies being filmed in 24 fps has caused the human body to get used to that format, so there will be plenty of pushback about 48 fps.
That being said, very few screens in North America are even setup to do 48fps that this should not be a real issue. For the majority of movie goers on our continent, and for that matter, most movie goers worldwide, they will see The Hobbit in either 2D or 3D on a 24fps screen.
Some early reviews have mentioned that there appears to be an overuse of CGI, especially when compared to The Lord of the Rings, but with the advancements in technology in the last ten years, that had to be expected.
I have no fear that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is going to be just as awesome as any of the three Lord of the Rings movies, and if anything, I expect it to actually be more light-hearted, as we all have to remember that The Hobbit was written by J.R.R. Tolkien as a child’s book and was later amended to be the start of the greater Middle Earth world.
I can not wait to see these three movies, An Unexpected Journey, Smaug’s Desolation and There and Back Again, and I will visit this world many, many times indeed.
For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.