Sunday, 27 January 2013

Return to Lonely Mountain - more thoughts on The Hobbit

I was led (I forgot by whom, but thanks) to a really interesting article on Peter Jackson's interpretation of The Hobbit, by Kristin Thompson. I can agree to it in most cases. I urge all fans of Tolkien to read it (after they've seen the movie). There's a few peeks at cut scenes as well.

Still from the cut scenes where Bilbo sees broken Narsil in Rivendel

But it also made me think about what will be in part 2 and part 3. From the point where the party is rescued by the great eagles on, the following plot main parts from the book are still to come:

Meeting with Beorn, the forest road, the spiders, the elves, the lake town, entering mount Erebor, talks with Smaug, slaying of Smaug, Battle of the Five Armies and the return home. It is to be expected that the encounter with Smaug and the Battle will be in part 3, so you can see the problem for part 2, because it will be pretty lean on spectacular moments.

Apart from the fight with the spiders and the escape from Lake Town, there isn't much high drama. So it is to be expected that a lot of the stuff from outside the book will be included here.

Most important, I guess will be the attack of the White Council on the Necromancer in Dol Guldur. This can involve some spectacular CGI, even if there isn't a full scale battle with ghouls, skeletons and other undead creatures.

Azog, unwelcome as always
We can also expect Azog to feature at some point, although I don't see an easy point where he can be injected in the story. Maybe as he tries to make his way towards the Lonely Mountain. Or worse, if Jackson has him chasing the dwarves through the forest. As Thompson notes, the creative team around him are very fond of the Defiler and he will probably mess up the whole story more than in part 1.

The only intreaguing thing that he could be involved in are the sparse references to a plot against the dwarves ('who have you told of this?'). It is an interesting take, but I don't see at this point who could have been behind it at this point.

Another thing we might see is Gollum leaving the realm of the Goblin King to find his Precious. In Tolkien's version, this happens later, but I could understand if Jackson advances this point. On the other hand, Gollum has no further use in the plot and no immediate interaction with Gandalf. On the other hand, it could be a way to have Gandalf encounter Aragorn and have him search for Gollum.

But chances are that part two will start slowly with Beorn and the forest road and then see a tumble of action scenes, possibly culminating in the siege of Dol Guldur. That's not a bad thing to look forward to as a fan, but it would probably not be enough if this movie were to stand on it's own.

Saruman, victim of hindsight
Also, I still think they've not set up Saruman in the right way. He is depicted as too dodgy, while all he is is extremely arrogant, which he has every right to be, considering that he is the most powerful being in Middle Earth at the time. Why not show Saruman like that? Dismissing Gandalf's evidence of the Necromancer not because he doesn't believe it, but rather because he doesn't like that Gandalf found it rather than him. His pride becomes his folly only after he tries to use the Palantir of Orthanc. I'd preferred if Jackson had kept it that way. Now, because we all know he joins the Dark Side in the end, it is set out too deterministic. Saruman is a lot less interesting that way.

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