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The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogaloo

10.15.08 | Kunochan | 1 Comment

Cast me in The Hobbit!

Alright, let’s talk about these Hobbit movies.
 
As far as the Hobbit adaptation goes, I only have one real complaint. I am completely flabbergasted that someone other than Ian Holm may play Bilbo.
 
Let’s forget for a moment that at the beginning of FotR, we saw a flashback of Bilbo, played by Ian Holm, finding The Ring.
 
Let’s also choose to forget that in the novel Bilbo does not age a single day between the Battle of Five Armies and the Long-Expected Party.  For sixty years, he does not change – old age only starts catching up with him when he passes The Ring to Frodo. Of course, the films introduced their own timeline changes, and Jackson may choose to deviate from canon (yet again).
 
The point is that despite Ian Holm’s age (he was always a bit too old to play Bilbo), he’s a perfectly age-appropriate choice to reprise The Hobbit’s titular role.  He was 70 when they shot the trilogy, and he’s 77 now. I doubt he looks much older. There’s no need to find another actor to play “young Bilbo.” 
 
But as I said, let’s forget that.
 
The best reason, the only necessary reason to keep Ian Holm on as Bilbo is because he’s so great in the role. Despite his age, Holm was brilliant casting. Most of the actors chosen by Jackson for the Trilogy were perfectly cast. Can you now imagine anyone but Ian McKellen as Gandalf? Hugo Weaving as Elrond? Cate Blanchett as Galadriel? 
 
Holm must play Bilbo because he is Bilbo. Unless Holm is not healthy enough to play the role (pu pu pu), I want to see him in that movie – and not as a narrator.
 
Okay, now let’s talk about this absurd sequel-slash-prequel. Here’s Guillermo del Toro speaking to theonering.net about the “second film.” 

You know, I traveled to New Zealand just a little while ago, and one of the main reasons for going was to sit down and talk about the second film. ‘The Hobbit’, the book, is really one self-contained film, so for the second movie we sat down and worked it out. When we did this we got really excited because this second film is not a ‘tag on’, it’s not ‘filler’, it’s an integral part of telling the story of those 50 years of history lost in the narrative. There will be certain things that we will see from the first movie but from a different point of view, but it will feel like a volume, in the 5 volumes of the entire story. It will not feel like a bridge, I’ve been hearing it called ‘a bridge film’, it’s not, it’s an integral chapter of the story, and I think we’re all on the same page.

Of course, Tolkien did write a story that bridged the events in The Hobbit (technically, the 1966 revision) with the events in LOTR. It was called “A Long-Expected Party,” and it’s the first chapter of LOTR.  
 
What happened during that 60 year interval that could make a movie? Let’s check in with “The Tale of Years” (LOTR Appendix B).
 
Sauron, driven from Mirkwood, escapes to Mordor. Gollum leaves the mountains to search for his Precious. Barad-dûr is rebuilt. Aragorn meets Arwen. Balin goes to Moria.  Saruman tries the palantir, and goes bad. Some people are born, some die.
 
That’s it. Not much of a story.
 
Tolkien intended this period to be a kind of calm before the storm. Sauron is busy, quietly moving his pieces onto the chess board, while Gandalf and the rest of the White Council are hobbled by prudence and indecision. It’s the finding of The Ring that gets the action going. No Ring, no action.
 
Where is the movie here? Who is the main character, Gandalf? Young Aragorn? What’s the story arc?
 
If New Line absolutely needs a fifth, unnecessary Tolkien film, they could buy the rights to The Children of Húrin. It’s grim, and it has no hobbits. It’s not what the wider audience wants to see.
 
Or they could make a movie out of “The Lay of Leithian.” Why not? It has a talking dog. 
 
But inventing a story to bridge The Hobbit with LOTR? There’s no need for it. If I didn’t already believe that Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro were very smart guys, I’d say it was a stupid idea. 
 
From Wikipedia:

Del Toro also added (before writing began) that if they could not find a coherent story for the second film, they may just film The Hobbit as one or two films, though he noted “The Hobbit is better contained in a single film and kept brisk and fluid with no artificial ‘break point’.”  Since then, he has hinted the part of the story following the battle with Smaug may be left until the second film, while “lead[ing] right into The Fellowship of the Ring”. 

What, the Battle of Five Armies as an entire 2-hour movie? Really? 
 
Please guys, just make one kickass film of The Hobbit starring Ian Holm. Then let it rest. Please. 
 
 
PS – Yes, I’m aware that Peter Jackson already made the “Electric Boogaloo” joke. So sue me.
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