Ok so here’s the thing: like just about everyone I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. I read the book for the first time in my early teens and it was a combination of that and the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett which started a lifelong love affair with the fantasy fiction genre.
The LotR films very faithfully adapted those books and where changes or omissions occurred, to me they seemed sensible and understandable as part of the adaptation process. After all, what works in a book won’t necessarily work on screen -especially when you don’t want a film to break the 5 hour mark.
When I heard that the hobbit was being adapted into two films I thought, fair enough, you could just about stretch the material out that far and do it justice. I was particularly excited when Guillermo Del toro was attached to the project given that he is one of my favourite directors. However when Peter Jackson returned to the project and it was announced that the book was now being adapted as a trilogy I was worried that we’d see the reverse of what happened with the LotR with unnecessary content being included from the book to pad out the film.
An unexpected journey completely validated that fear for me. I found the first third of the film excruciatingly boring with the remaining two thirds not being much better. Yes it was a visual treat but the story moved at a snails pace and when the cinema had technical problems and froze the film the difference was almost unnoticeable at first.
Now, I’ve seen good and bad reports about the second film. My initial inclination was to avoid it but I was thinking about perhaps going to see it over my Christmas break if I found myself with an afternoon free and nothing better to do but I almost resent giving money to what I really do consider the abject prostitution of the source material.
With that in mind, I’ll put the question out there: what do you guys think, is the extension of the hobbit into a trilogy of films approximately the same duration as the LotR despite its source being roughly the length of one half of one volume of the trilogy justifiable? And ultimately, is the second volume any better than the first? It’s been pointed out that it gets points for having both Evangeline Lilly and a Dragon but there may be other factors too! Let us know.