This week brings us the last Friday the 13th of the year and I’m sure that Warner Brothers and MGM are hoping that the weekend isn’t cursed, but that it brings good luck to their biggest release of the year.
The second chapter of the fantasy epic, The Hobbit, hits screens with a lot less buzz going for it than the first part enjoyed last year but the fact that it is the only major event film coming out this Christmas season should ensure it escapes of curse of bad box-office that it’s release dates seems to threaten. That and the fact that it is getting great reviews.
IGN started their review of the film with words that seem to be echoed in almost every review I’ve seen so far for the film. “Now that’s more like it!”
Peter Jackson is firing on all cylinders in the second chapter of the epic trilogy. Everything seems to move faster and more smoothly. Where the first film seemed to take forever to get moving and to find it’s pacing, this film moves like a freight train from the jump.
By now it is well-known that originally The Hobbit was only supposed to be two films, not three and there have been thousands of words written by people both complaining about the fact there are three films and happy about it. I understand the reasons why the studios wanted three films and I understand why certain fans didn’t.
Of course, for the film studios, having three films makes sense. For them the additional costs are minimal. They’ve already shot the film, so outside of the cost to shoot some minor additional footage, they don’t have to add millions of dollars to the budget. They did have to re-negotiate the actors contracts since they had signed on for two films and now they were going to be in three, but compared to the amount of money the studio stands to gain by having a whole additional film to release and market, it doesn’t even register.
For the purist and hardcore fans, having an additional film is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, they get a whole new film to watch, debate and, if it’s good, cherish. On the other hand, being that the source material was a slim book aimed more at children than the follow-up, The Lord of the Rings, it would mean having a film that was filled with new stuff not in the book. They were torn about the prospect.
I can see both sides of the argument. Yes, the book is short compared to The Lord of the Rings. Yes, the filmmakers would have to add a lot of material not in the book. On the other hand, I love spending time in Middle Earth and being able to spend time there in a film made by the man who has almost made these films his life’s work? Sign me up.
To those hardcore cynics to love to go back to the tired argument of They’re only making a third film to make money. It’s all about money. They just want to make more money, it has nothing to do with art. Please, get over yourself, okay? You think you are making some radical observation? Of course it’s about money. These films cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make and market. The effects budgets alone are more money than most of us will ever make or lose in a thousand lifetimes. You’re just now realizing that it’s about money? It’s a simple math equation. If you are mad and convinced it’s just a cash-grab, then by all means, don’t watch the movie. Stay home and feel good about the moral stand you’re taking.
Me? I love these films. I get a deep and lasting joy by sitting in the theater, eating my popcorn and watching Peter Jackson bring these amazing worlds to life before my eyes. If he wants to give me another three-hour tour of Middle Earth, then I’m just going to say thanks and enjoy the ride.
Full confession: I have never read The Hobbit. I read and loved The Lord of the Rings, but somehow just never got around to reading The Hobbit. So for me, I don’t know what’s in the book and what isn’t. For me, it’s all just a fun ride.
A few weeks ago I bought the extended edition of The Hobbit on Blu-ray. I already have all the LOTR extended editions and have poured over the hours and hours of behind the scenes features more times than I can count. I bought the extended edition of The Hobbit and the additional scenes in the film are not all that great or important to me, but let me tell you, the behind the scenes documentaries are amazing. There are 9 hours and 45 minutes worth of behind the scenes docs and in every one of them you can see the love that the filmmakers have for this world. It’s amazing to behold. Next year, I’ll be buying the extended edition of this film and doing the same thing.
And tonight, at midnight, I’ll be sitting in my seat, popcorn in hand, and letting Peter Jackson tell me the story he loves telling one more time.
I can’t wait.
OPENS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT IN 2D, REALD 3D, IMAX 3D and HIGH FRAME RATE 3D.
Well, that just about does it for this week but join me next week when we go back in time to see the birth of The Global News Network in the exciting documentary film, Anchorman 2.
Until then, Keep the Projector Threaded.