Thursday, October 21, 2010

We Have A Bilbo

The long-delayed, two-part Peter Jackson-produced adaptation of The Hobbit finally has a cast, certainly a gigantic step toward getting the damned thing made. As a card-carrying, badge-wearing, rafter-shouting Tolkien geek, I'm very excited about that. Many fans of Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy were disappointed when he announced he wouldn't be directing The Hobbit as well, but in tapping Guillermo del Toro he chose a replacement who proved with Pan's Labyrinth that he can make a fantastic fantasy film. In fact, I'd argue that he's a better fit for this material than Jackson is. Much as I admire the LOTR trilogy, Jackson's penchants for narrative bloat and visual excess had started to creep in by the end (for me at least, they ruined his follow-up effort King Kong), and I'm not sure I'd trust him to rein them in enough to do justice to Tolkien's story which, rich in action and adventure as it is, is an intimate, character-driven quest story at its heart. So long as Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis can be secured to reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum respectively (as is rumored), these movies should be excellent.

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