We have movies not available at Redbox or NetflixWe have movies not available at Redbox or Netflix

Troubled 'Hobbit' gets its green light

Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 3:29 PM Central
Last updated Friday, October 15, 2010 at 3:31 PM Central

by John Couture

It's official and there was much rejoicing in Middle Earth.

After many years of developments and setbacks that make a Dan Brown novel look tame by comparison, the New York Times announced today that The Hobbit finally received its green light with Peter Jackson set to reclaim his director's chair. Jackson, as I'm sure you recall, made a household name for himself on the success of his Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies.

Ever since the highly successful trilogy finished its theatrical run in 2004, fans have been lobbying for Jackson and company to turn their sights on J.R.R. Tolkein's first foray into this enchanted world, The Hobbit. Initially, Peter Jackson balked citing exhaustion and fatigue after filming three movies back-to-back-to-back, but later he decided to move on to new genres and the prospects of ever seeing The Hobbit on the big screen dimmed further.

Then, a couple of years ago, there was renewed interest in The Hobbit thanks to Jackson's decision to get back involved in the project, at least as an executive producer. Things really started to heat up when Jackson recruited his good buddy Guillermo del Toro to take over the director's chair.

This new development stirred an intense interest in the movie as fans almost universally accepted del Toro's involvement. His visual style seemed to be a great fit for the novel and his genuine excitement for the project gave it renewed vigor. But, the studio dragged its feet over a host of concerns including budget and eventually Guillermo del Toro bailed on the project in May citing the ongoing delays.

Of course, we might never know the real reasons for del Toro's decision as this timing of a green light announcement and filming start date of February 2011 seem to indicate either a rather change of pace or that del Toro may have bolted for other reasons.

Whatever the reasons, today's news finds Peter Jackson back in the driver's seat and production is slated to ramp up, but there may still be road bumps ahead. There is an ongoing labor dispute between filmmakers and the actors guild (union) in New Zealand. As I'm sure you remember, the lush landscape of New Zealand came to become synonymous with Middle Earth with the Lord of the Rings movies.

So, the labor squabble might force a delay while a resolution is reached or, God forbid, Jackson decide to uproot Middle Earth to say Canada or some place else.

After reading all of that and suffering through the nearly one hour montage of endings to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, do you really want to see two new films? Oh yeah, did I fail to mention that the original book is being split into two movies?

Well, if you're like me and have attention deficit disorder, you can get the gist of The Hobbit in the below video that I found on YouTube. I suppose I should indicate that while the video purports to tell the entire story (which will encompass two full movies) in just two minutes that watching it might be considered spoilerish. Or, you know, like the fact that The Hobbit's Bilbo Baggins appears in The Lord of the Rings so that might indicate that he might survive The Hobbit.

Pay close attention to the end of the video as the creators have included a little warning for Peter Jackson himself. It seems that he didn't heed their plea.