I’m extremely disappointed to hear that Peter Jackson and the companies involved have decided to release three, not two, instalments of the movie version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. I can’t think of a single valid reason for this move other than particularly crass hucksterism. Others appear to have similar views (see, for example, this comment in the Los Angeles Times).
I absolutely don’t believe Mr. Jackson’s protestations that:
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
(More at the link. Italic print is my emphasis.)
Professor Tolkien wrote “The Hobbit” as a children’s book. It ended up much less complex than his “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy, and probably less than a quarter as long as the later, more developed work. I simply can’t see any logical, rational reason from an artistic perspective to take an earlier, less developed story and bloat it into a movie series of similar length to that based on the later, much more intricate story. I don’t care what extra material Mr. Jackson wants to include from other sources. The resulting film won’t be faithful to “The Hobbit” as Professor Tolkien conceived and created it. It’ll be something else entirely. (For example, the ‘Battle of Dol Guldur’ to which Jackson refers is nothing more than a
footnote in Tolkien’s work – and Bilbo Baggins has no involvement in it whatsoever – but I bet it’ll become a major setpiece in
the movie version, grossly distorting its place in the story, just as Jackson did with the Battle of Helm’s Deep in his movie version of “The Two Towers“.)
I believe this is about money, pure and simple. In fact, let’s be honest and call it greed. I can’t think of a better name for it. My high opinion of Mr. Jackson’s artistic merits (which are considerable) has now been diluted with a very large dose of cynicism and disappointment. I think he’s done Professor Tolkien’s work, and the movie-going public in general, a grave disservice.