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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Hobbit and Peter Jackson

The Hobbit has finally been given a green light to begin production in February of 2011 with everyone’s #1 pick for director, Peter Jackson. He’s the man largely responsible for the classic adaptation of the 3-part Lord of the Rings series (2001 - 2003). This is great news for fantasy buffs everywhere, and possibly for families with older children. I say “possibly because a lot depends on Peter Jackson’s ability to control his love of over-the-top gory detail in his scenes of danger and peril.

I personally loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, I remember when the first movie came out, my two oldest kids were only 8 and 10. We tentatively let them watch that movie, but realized later that it was a mistake when my eight year old had nightmares about the Gorks in the caves. We were more cautious when the 2nd movie came out (fast-forwarding through some scenes). By the 3rd movie, both kids were more mature, and better able to handle the very real and at times gruesome effects. That’s when Lord of the Rings became a family event, at least for me and my two kids. Fantasy is not my wife’s cup of tea.

I am thrilled that Peter Jackson is returning to direct and co-write the two-part Hobbit movie because I'm confident he understands Tolkien’s vision and will give it first class treatment. My concern about Jackson is partly due to his adaptation of another classic, King Kong (2005). That was an enjoyable movie but definitely not for kids. There were two scenes that I could barely watch. One, the giant bug scene, still makes my stomach queasy when I think about it. It was disgusting, painfully long, and served no useful purpose in the story. Somebody should have had the guts to stand up to Jackson and say, “Not good Peter.” I just hope Jackson regains some self control for the Hobbit. I’ve read the book, and it’s a great story that doesn’t need over-the-top gore. A really cool dragon, yes.

Peter, if you ever read this, please just translate Tolkien’s brilliant story to the screen like you’ve done before. That’s all we want. We know you can do it. I’m looking forward to revisiting middle earth. I just hope I’ll be able to bring my kids with me.

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