Since the initial release of The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has become something of an icon in film, creating one of the most epic and well-realized fantasy films of our generation. With great writing, acting, set design, and cinematography, the series was able to capture the essence of Tolkien’s universe in a way unparalleled by others.
And with the upcoming release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this December, fans of the series are anxiously awaiting the epic return to the world of Middle Earth.
But will Jackson be able to re-create the same magic and success of the original trilogy?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey details the quest of Bilbo Baggins as he joins a group of warriors to reclaim a lost Dwarf kingdom that has long been taken over by the evil dragon Smaug. Fans will see a return of some of the series’ iconic characters, including Gandalf the Grey and Gollum.
There’s been a handful of controversy about the film as well, ranging from the trailer to whether or not the film would be split into three parts.
But despite all the fuss we might have heard, it’s clear the film is shaping up to be a familiar return back to one of fantasy’s most brilliant universes.
Jackson will likely face a handful of obstacles, however, if he wants to successfully recapture the elements that made his first three LOTR films so successful.
First, he’s going to have to bring some impressive technology to the table to “wow” us again. It’s been over ten years since the release of Fellowship, and in that time, technology has evolved. From editing to CGI animation, Jackson’s got to bring his A-Game and best-looking visuals to impress come opening night.
Set design and cinematography will either have to live up to or exceed what was done with the originals. Part of what made LOTR so fantastic was the scenery and believeable space that was created using genius cinematography and camera shots. It felt lush and alive, giving the world within the film a life of its own. With all the majesty and wonder of a classic Fantasy epic, making the world into a living, breathing space is critical to the success of The Hobbit.
The story will have to remain intact as well. He managed to do a fair job with this over three movies based on three books; now that he’s contemplating multiple movies on one book, he’d better make sure he nails the story in order to appease fans and make the film a viable re-creation of that universe.
Probably his biggest difficulty will be recapturing the sense of novelty that was found in the first films. As mentioned before, they managed to portray fantasy in a way not seen before. Sure, there’s been more than a handful of fantasy epics in the past, but nothing comes close to the vast scope and size of the films that Jackson created. It’s going to be hard to re-create this a second time, simply because we’ve already seen his take on Tolkien’s Middle Earth and already know what to expect. If he wants to “wow” us again, he’ll have to throw us a curveball we weren’t expecting. Otherwise, it can only rise to the height of the originals, forever held to the standard that came before it.
It’s a time will tell thing, of course. We won’t know how the film measures up until we near its release date. But until then, fans are left wondering whether or not the director will be able to successfully inject the magic into his fantasy epic a second time.