Jan 9 2011, 7:51pm
This is more or less a reply to you agreeing with you--but I'd like to address our new friends like Bran, Nob, Arda etc
Some of us are not "naysayers" as much as merely VERY concerned, and there are good reasons. I consider myself neither "naysayer" nor cheerleader--my position might be a bit complicated.
Tying TH inside an LOTR "candy-wrapper" Prologue/Epilogue, with a bit of TH "voice-oever" narration by Elijah, does not concern me. If it is done carefully and jusiciously, in that it ensures a smooth flowing of the story, is fine with me. I was always of the opinion that some sort of "tie-in" with LOTR was inevitable, on tghe part of the film-makers--a film franchise/story being much different than the book. And maybe it is for the best, since the four screenwriters had a much more difficult task this time around. At first blush, adapting LOTR seems like the harder task, b/c of its massive scope. But it was a single version of a single dtory, written for adults, with elements that made it more adaptable for modern audiences. But with TH we have a conundrum: which "Hobbit" to use? The 1937 origional fireside-tale for 6 yr old children, which the world fell in love with and which is the basis for every school stage play worldwide down the years, OR Tolkien's later revision of his middle-aged years, seemingly tyoing in closer with LOTR? With its more "adult" tone? (We shall see if this is the case.) And how to sneak in any Unfinished Tales material, if they decided to do so, and I think they may have tried to? SO there isn't even one version of TH.
(Makes me wonder: if the world had been introduced to Tolkien's later version first,, would TH have been as beloved as it has been? The charming sugar-coated tale is qwuite complelling. When you get down to barss tacks, TH is a pretty grim tale.)
I always thought that a happy medium could be reached: the story beginning light-hearted and whimscial as LOTR did, with the Party, and getting darker. Are people upset that this seems to confirm a darker more LOTR-like tone and look and feel to TH, no "whimsy" (and that is a loaded word), that this means the film version of the 1937 Hobbit is dust, or that they don't want a repeat of Jackson's LOTR?
Myself, I had no concerns about the story at the scriptwriting stage. I have no doubts about the team of Peter, Fran, Philippa, and Guillermo to craft a compelling and awe-inspiring tale, every bit as faiythful to the spirit and heart and soul of Tolkien's tale. And I can tolerate some slight deviatins. What concerns me though are elements of the storytelling every bit as important as words on the page. And thismay interfere with the effect of the words on the page.
Statements like" I trust Peter's writing/story-telling abilities as much as I trust Tolkien's writing abilities" are a bit (pardon me, I am not trying to put down anbybody, just stating an opinion) very presumptuous. You have to remember that no film is independant of the times it is birthed in--it does not exist in blank space. Many factors go in to it to make it what it is. TH has had a long and torturous history even before it was green-lit, and thingsd are not going to get easier from here.
The thing that concerns me is that we are working wigth a different person in a different era. 10-12 yrs ago The Peter Jackson that we fell in love with was a solid film-maker with a string of middle-brow "hits" in his pocket: little film gems that had placved him just bubbling under the radar,. He was in that best of times for a film-maker, as for a muscian, in some aspects: when you are enough in the spotlight for people to be noting what you do, but you still have the freedom from heat to be allowed that innicebtly questing spirit, that senese of fun and excitement and adventure. The Peter Jackson we came to know and love was a jolly "hobbit" who was building his kingdom down in NZ and still looked upon the world with a wondering eye--in his film at least. Even HC had its sense of playful mischeviousness in the midde passages of the film. Then the "Beautiful madness" of 2001-03 came and went and we saw him transform before our eyes. Mr Cere I remember wrote a fascinating article about "the new Peter Jackson" a few yrs back. (I widh a link could be found).
But that was before King Kong, before The Lovely Bones, and before all the manifold troubles of TH's birth. Before he became a Mogul. In some aspects, he has not changed--less so than you would think. He is a fascinating dicotomy--a lot more is hidden behind that placid experior than you think,, and maybe the Kiwis have seen more of it than the world at large. Some would argue that this sideof him came out with a bang during the recent labor dispute, and maybe it did, but I think there was also a lot of genuine reactionary and well-deserved angler there.
I think there were many reasons why Jackson did not origionally want to direct. (and maybe why he still doesn;t.) Fear of haivng to top himself (and how much more is that fear now, it will permeate every hour in the editing room). And a desire, perhaps, to hand Middle-Earth off into different hands. Not a passing of the torch as much as a sense that the franchise did indeed need fresh new blood. Many of us don't as much "defer to Del Toro';s opinions" as much as continue to remember and pay homage to the fact that for more than *two years* he was Peter's hand-picked DIRECTOR of this massive project, and such a deciusion is not made lightly. Someday we might ask Peter point-blank why he wanted to hand Middle-Earth off to someone else, at least in the director's chair. Which is a HUGE deal.
It is a director's ethis that pervades an entire project. Even if he (or she) did niot write the thing, it is their look, their vision, that shows up onscreen, if they are an illustragtor it is their vision you see. It;s their DoP, their Art Directors, their production design and FX teams,. It's their worldview that we experience. It's any last-minute script revisions that we get in the final cut (and we know how Peter works on this:). I think that having Del Toro collaberating on the writing phase was the BEST thing that could have happened to Peter, as it reminded him of why he fell in klove with the moviesL: he rediscovered (from what we we have heard of the collabveration) the sense of FUN and JOY, that sense of chilld-like excitement, that it is so easy to lose wheb one becomes a MOGUL--and when your worldview and film-making aesthtics are set in stone,. Let's hopw these elements of the process will survive onscreen.
NOw we have a Jackson who has been gthrough, for better or worse, Pelennor Fields. It reminds me of how the film Mery and Puippin remained hobbit-like ungtil that final battle, which changed them forever. Now Jackson is sans his "brother in arms" director (for whatever reason, though I think it had a lot more to do than scheduling conflicts), and permanently scarred by the Pelennor Fileds of the labor dispute, which IMO went on for far longer than the public saw. And now he has had a confrontationakl meeting with his WB bosses in NZ, and who knows what artistic consessions they got from him? And he is in the exact postion he sought so stringly to avoid: rushing to meet frantic deadlines before a camera has rolled, making up for lost time, under pressure from the studio. struggling tio top himself, and cosncious of the fwct thq Del Toro is *still* mourned by many fans worldwide in this projecft--and the world;s media will betaqlking about TLB and remembering Del Toro also.
THe one aspect of Del Toro that I was eagerly looking forward to onscreen was that he was a man of "OLd WOrld" sensibilty. That is, he is an intellectual in the truw sense of the word--he , unlike many American and British contemporaries (or NZ for that matter) still viewes the world primarily through lirerature, through books--while Jackosn, Spileberg, Lucas, even Coppola and Scorcese and almost every other Hollywod director are products of the TV age: their main cinemastic insopirations are from the world of TV, movies, video. Thwy get the big second-hand. I could go off on tbis, It doesn;t make one better or worse..it;'s a different way of working, that's all.
There are other aspects f Del Toro I could go on about--and since Nob addressed PL I could reply to that, but I won't (yet). For me that's a whole nother topic. But there are those of us who felt that this franchise needed an Irvin Kershner, as Peter Jackson needed to re-discover himself. And he desperately needs that sense of fun and adventure back...and someine to tell him when to rein it in. Fran and Philippa couk do that...but they haven;t ben winning the battles lately, it seems..CGU or otherwise.