Hobbit Happenings

The word has been out for a while that Peter Jackson wants to make a film version of _The Hobbit_; “this article”:http://apnews.myway.com//article/20040306/D814VP480.html (via “Slashdot”:http://www.slashdot.org/) moves the news definitively out of the realm of rumor. It’ll be a few years off, but, pending some lawyerly finagling between New Line and MGM, it looks like it’ll happen.

This is splendid news, although I am a little concerned by this bit:

Jackson said if he were going to direct the movie, he’d want it to feel like the rest of the trilogy . . . “I’d want Ian McKellen to be back as Gandalf, I’d want it to feel like it was part of the same mythology that we’ve done with ‘Lord of the Rings,'” Jackson said.

See, I think this is a mistake. _The Hobbit_ is written in a completely different style and has a different tone than the trilogy. It’s a children’s book. Jackson should make a children’s movie out of it. Instead of recycling the visual vocabulary of the LOTR films, Jackson should give his team a bit more work and come up with a whole new look and feel for Middle Earth, geared to a younger audience. Ian McKellen is more than welcome to return, of course, and I like the rumor that Liv Tyler has been approached to portray Arwen during the dwarves’ sojourn in Rivendell. (Bigger Tolkien geeks than me will know whether that works out historically — if Arwen was actually living in Imladris at that time, or if that was one of the periods when she dwelt in Lothlorien.) But the design, the directing style, and the writing should account for how different a novel _The Hobbit_ is; the film version shouldn’t be a prequel cut from the same cloth.

Regardless, though, I think I’ll see it when it comes out . . .