Remember how badly we wanted to see The Hobbit brought to the big screen? Years of court battles, production delays, director swaps, and and the possibility that the films may never see the light of day. Then, a couple years ago we finally got word that it was happening, by none other than the great Guillermo del Toro. A fanboy’s dream come true!
Alas, we’re two bloated Hobbit films in, with another one to go before Peter Jackson (who took over director duties when del Toro dropped out) finally, hopefully, leaves the world behind him.
The saddest thing about Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, thus far, is that if it weren’t called The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins wouldn’t be in it at all. Martin Freeman has more to do as Sherlock’s trusty sidekick on BBC than he does as the lead of these films, and when they occasionally cut away from Radagast giving a hedgehog CPR, Dwarves barreling down Splash Mountain, or Evangeline Lilly’s beautiful elf ears, we’re reminded that, “Hey! Bilbo’s here too!”
Jackson knows this will be his last chance to visit Middle Earth, and abuses the opportunity to the utmost. Not only did he expand the 300 page book into three gargantuan movies, but decided to dive into Tolkien’s LOTR appendixes as well, giving us hours of meaningless subplots, turning a great, straightforward adventure into an endeavor.
In the end, The Hobbit trilogy is, first and foremost, about Peter Jackson. Not about Bilbo Baggins. It’s about Jackson not wanting to let go to his bread and butter, or leave a fictional world he’s called home for over a decade. He’s become George Lucas, expanding and dwelling on parts of a story we were never really curious about. Maybe del Toro would have had more respect for our short, heroic friend.