Having spent the best part of 15 years in Middle-earth filming six films, it’s easy to see how Peter Jackson will be having a hard time saying goodbye to J.R.R. Tolkien‘s world of hobbits, dragons, elves, orcs and the magical world of Middle-earth. However it turns out that Jackson may be suffering to let go; harboring a ‘never-say-never’ complex, which is further testament of his reluctance so say good-bye to the franchise completely.
It’s probably safe to say there seems to have been a dip in quality between the Hobbit movies and the Lord of the Rings films, and quite a few have attributed this with Jackson‘s decision to use far more digital effects this time round – as balance of practical effects where possible, and digital effects were done in an almost seamless manner in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Other critics have questioned the need to cover one book with three movies, and see it as more of a cash in, as opposed to anything story related. Needless to say, the Hobbit movies have had a fair share of criticism – including Jackson’s decision to shoot at 52fps (frames per second), with people experiencing motion sickness and feeling queasy when the frame rate was initially introduced.
So, if you have been a fan of the Hobbit movies, then this is no doubt good news for you, however, if you have been more inclined to side with the critiques that Jackson has been over reliant on digital effects, and that the latest instalments have lost the heart and soul that the Lord of the Rings trilogy so prominently exuded, then you’re probably not too enamoured with the news. You can check out the Honest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and see what you think (…it pretty much gets it spot on).
Well, either way, Jackson isn’t in any hurry to return back to the franchise any time soon, as he plans to spend some time making films based on his little New Zealand stories. Moreover, you can check out what what Jackson had to say in an interview with Variety on more Tolkien movies; and although Jackson doesn’t have any concrete plans as of yet to return to Middle-earth, he certainly sounds open to the idea. Here is a quote from the Variety interview:
If I had to start tomorrow, I would say no, because I definitely would appreciate a break to clear my head and get my little New Zealand stories done, which is where my passion and my heart is heading now. But ask me in two or three years, and I’d probably say yes. It would be hard to see another filmmaker go into this world, because I certainly have an emotional ownership of it.
The other side of the proverbial coin is based on the conundrum that: what Jackson wants to do, is a whole lot different that what Jackson is allowed to do – as Jackson has already explained himself this summer. Tolkien may have sold the film rights to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in the 1960s, but the Tolkien estate retains the rights to his other works, which includes The Silmarillion.
Furthmore, the fact that the Tolkien estate is not a fan of Jackson’s movies (…I understand why that might be the case with the Hobbit… but Lord of the Rings? …seriously?), it seems highly unlikely that they will be handing over the rights to Jackson or his company any time soon (if at all). Jackson already achnowledged this back in 2012, when he was quoted as saying: “I don’t think The Silmarillion will go anywhere for quite a long time.”
Check out the Honest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug below and decide for yourself if it actually “rings” true:
So, as it stands, Middle-earth is outwith Jackson’s reach at the moment; with his next development being a scaled down low-budget project about his native New Zealand. The project will be based on true stories which Jackson is currently adapting with his longtime partner Fran Walsh, and he says the films will be similar in tone to his 1994 film Heavenly Creatures.
Jackson has worked well with lower budget affairs in the past (it’s how he started out of course), and if anything, his overblown adaptation of Lovely Bones could have had a better fate without the ridiculous budget – which didn’t really add much to the film in terms of spectacle. It will be nice to see Jackson going back to working on a smaller budget, as his early work, such as Bad Taste and Braindead are gorefest classics.
Thusly, Jackson talks about a much needed change of pace for the time being: “We really feel a bigger urge now to not continue with another Hollywood blockbuster for a while, but to go back and tell some New Zealand stories.” Perhaps he should have done this before venturing into the Hobbit as it may have instilled the sensibilities that were apparent in the Lord of the Rings; using practical effects wherever and whenever possible, and not over-stretching the story into three movies.
Are you a fan of the Hobbit? Have you been enjoying the movies as much as you enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy? …are you too, going to feel sad saying goodbye to Middle-earth? Let us know your thoughts!