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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is almost upon us. A trailer has just been released and it looks pretty exciting. However, I can guarantee that the film will be met with criticism from the diehard Tolkien fans. Hell, the first Hobbit was even criticised by the fans of the first trilogy. Some could say that Peter Jackson cannot do anything right, even though this time he has the secret weapon of both a dragon and Martin Freeman.

Because I really want this film to do well (I have said before it is the only adequate Fantasy genre franchise out there right now), so I have put together three rules that could help improve the Hobbit movie. Redundant I know, seeing as the three movies are pretty much in the bag right now, but I thought I would write them up anyway. If the next two films follow these three rules, then we should have no reason to pick holes with them.

3 – NO MORE CAMEOS

OK, I get that Lord of the Rings is filled with great characters, but do we really need the sheer amount of references that the first Hobbit gave us? The most annoying scene in the first one was in Rivendell, when Peter Jackson got together the almighty four, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman. I know it is hard to resist the chance at getting these powerhouses in the movie, but with a film that is already feeling bloated with its running time, they should have been the first people on the list to get the cut. Of course, Ian McKellan made sense, as Gandalf is one of, if not the, main characters in that trilogy. Hugo Weaving too, I liked the fact that the Hobbit had a good excuse to show Elrond in his fighting days. However, Cate Blanchette and Christopher Lee were pointlessly squeezed in for a bit of star value. And what about Elijah Wood as Frodo? What did his appearance give the plot? It was just an excuse to add another big actor to the cast list.

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And as we saw with the trailer for ‘Desolation’, Orlando Bloom shall be reprising the role of Legolas, who didn’t even show up in the book. In fairness, Jackson seems to have found a good place for the character. Maybe writing him in will actually be a cool twist of events. I sincerely hope so, as the trailer spent a good chunk of its time showing us the elf in action. It will be a big disappointment if he just shows up for a token amount of time (Tolkien amount of time?), simply because he is the fan favourite from the first trilogy.

2 – LESS SWEEPING SHOTS

Yeah, I had to address this. In fairness, I do not think that the amount of walking shots is as bad as everyone is making it out to be. It is quite clearly just Peter Jackson being unable to resist showing us the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. Tolkien’s source text was filled with description (too much, in my opinion), and this is Jackson’s way of accommodating that. However, if I was in Jackson’s shoes, or any director’s, I would listen to the majority of the fans. This is something they want changed, so maybe consider changing it, especially as most of the time spent on set is acquiring these sweeping shots.

I don’t want them cut entirely from the text. When the big battles start coming up (the final movie, I believe), we are going to want to see sweeping shots of the large ranks of Orcs and Goblins. And when we get to the dwarven city, I don’t think Jackson should hold back on showing us the amazing landscape that the crew spend so long perfecting for us. Just, a little less than the first Hobbit, please. There was a LOT of walking.

1 – NO MORE GANDALF SAVING THE DAY

OK, I know that Peter Jackson is working with a source text, that he cannot change too much, but you have to admit: Gandalf saves the day ‘a lot’.

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It happens in both Lord of the Rings and the first Hobbit movie. The gang are attacked, only to be saved by Gandalf returning from doing wizardly things at the last moment. In the Hobbit, it happened twice: against the three trolls and the Goblin-king. In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf just managed to save the others at Helm’s Deep, Merry and Pippin in the woods and managed to get to Frodo before the Ring-Wraiths in ‘Fellowship’. Hell, he even is the only reason Frodo and Samwise survived Mount Doom. It is a predictable plot device and I am getting tired with it.

I get that Gandalf is probably one of the best characters. He is almighty, the only guy who could take on the Balrog and he has so many tricks up his sleeve. Also, Ian McKellan is freaking awesome and owns the role. But maybe give one of the other characters some time to shine. Rewrite a scene, so one of the dwarves we haven’t had time to develop has a chance to be the hero of the scene. Otherwise, Gandalf probably is better off doing the entire quest by himself.

2 thoughts on “3 Rules for Writing a Hobbit Sequel

  1. Can’t wait for the sequel! Looking forward to the return of Legolas and also something I only found out about yesterday, Evangeline Lilly, has a role as another elf. Awesome! 🙂

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