Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson Returns to Middle Earth for Epic Adventure
By: Sam Kellett
February 20, 2012
(Warner Bros.) Ever since Peter Jackson showed the world his vision of Middle Earth with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there have been whispers, wonderings, wishes from places far off as the Misty Mountains: “Are they going to make The Hobbit?” The project
has been gestating for years, and at one point had Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro attached. While that would have been as fantastic as single-handedly defeating three giant trolls, such a thing was not to be. Fortunately, Peter Jackson at last agreed to return to Middle Earth to deliver an adventure that looks to be just as thrilling as the first three.
The casting of this film is testament to why casting directors should have their own category at the Oscars. The returning cast is wonderful, of course: Ian McKellan as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum, Orlando Bloom as Legolas (who wasn’t in The Hobbit book, but we’ll have to trust that Jackson has more in mind than box office results), and the new cast members are exciting. Our hero, Bilbo, is played by the always lovable Martin Freeman (BBC’s The Office, BBC’s Sherlock); Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars with Freeman in Sherlock, joins him here as an adversary, playing the dragon Smaug. The Dwarven party is largely made up of small-screen actors, theatrical actors, and Billy Connolly. Researching these actors, it was refreshing to find that many were
classically trained in their art. That, along with the relative anonymity of the group, is perfect for the ensemble that will carry this film: the actors can actually act, and the suspension of disbelief will come more easily than if a dwarf were played by, say,
mere celebrity actors. Other notable castings include Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies), who plays the Elvenking Thanduil, and Stephen Fry (A Bit of Fry and Laurie), who plays the Master of Laketown.
The trailer gives little away but exhibits the epic scale on which the film will take place. Rolling hills, cavernous caves, enchanting Elven enclaves: the cinematography from Andrew Lesnie is stunning, and every scene is absolutely dripping with gorgeous
light or shades of dark. The beautiful melancholy of the Dwarven song playing through much of the trailer gives the impression that the story will carry similar undertones of driven adventure and yearned-for glory. At the same time, the light mood at the trailer’s
beginning promises the same levity and fun that was masterfully captured in the original trilogy. As the trailer comes to an end, we see a glimpse of Gollum. Unlike the wretched, captured creature from the trilogy, this Gollum is master of his domain and, as the trailer hints, terrifying: it’s hard not to feel a chill as he creeps into the frame at the trailer’s close. The Hobbit promises to be the adventure film of the year, and if you’re looking to see something spectacular, you shall not pass...it up.
For Fans Of: Middle Earth, Peter Jackson, Lord Of The Rings
Why We’re Excited: Martin Freeman, Strong Ensemble, It’s The Hobbit!
MGM's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is slated for U.S. release in theaters Friday, December 14, 2012.