December 11th, 2012
01:24 PM ET

Peter Jackson's detailed approach to 'The Hobbit'

Turning a book into a movie often means either stretching the story across numerous films, or leaving chunks of it on the editing room floor.

"The Hobbit" director Peter Jackson seems to have gone with the first option, as he tells CNN that he wanted to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel story to life with a hope to accommodate all of the memorable scenes.

(This might be part of the reason why we're getting a trilogy, with the first installment, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," arriving in theaters on Friday.)

"We are fans of the books ourselves," Jackson told CNN. "You can't ever faithfully adapt a book in the sense of just every line of dialogue and every scene as exactly the same, but you do try to take care of those iconic moments. The moments where, as a reader of the book and fan of 'The Hobbit,' you expect to see in the movie. You try to have all those moments in there."

Attention to detail also influenced Jackson's decision to use the high-definition format of 48 frames per second, which is double the standard.

Using 48fps lends "a sharpness, because you don't have the motion blur that you get at 24 frames," Jackson told CNN. "We've always taken great care to make this [filmed] world of Middle Earth very lived in and very authentic. It's nice to see all that detail on screen."

But if you're not a "purist," said The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy in a review, that commitment to the minutiae of Tolkien's universe may seem unnecessary.

"Jackson and his colleagues have created a purist's delight, something the millions of die-hard fans of his 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy will gorge upon," McCarthy said. "In pure movie terms, however, it's also a bit of a slog, with an inordinate amount of exposition and lack of strong forward movement."

New York Magazine's David Edelstein found "signs of bloat ... everywhere," while Slate's Dana Stevens deadpans that "the movie starts to feel like some Buddhist exercise in deliberately inflicted tedium." The screenwriters, Stevens added, "vastly [overestimate the] audience’s need to witness every micro-bump in the road to Erebor. It provides service for the hardcore Tolkien-head, but no foothold for the casual fan."

Variety's Peter Debruge found that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" "delivers more of what made [Jackson's] earlier trilogy so compelling - colorful characters on an epic quest amid stunning New Zealand scenery." And yet, "it doesn't offer nearly enough novelty to justify the three-film, nine-hour treatment, at least on the basis of this overlong first installment."

How have the mixed reviews swayed your decision to see "An Unexpected Journey?" And does Jackson's commitment to detail delight or bore you?

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. got u

    don't like the video's...shut the machine off

    February 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lord.

    its super bowl day..i gotta a cake cooling down..shut up already...

    February 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. icolorcase

    You realize thus significantly with regards to this matter, made me personally believe it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men aren't interested until it is one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. Always take care of it up!

    February 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dennis l.

    Yes disappointed. I kinda knew this was going to happen, The Hobbit movie could be told in one movie. It's all the merchandizing that comes with it. From towels to cups, chess sets and film strips, plus all the jewelry and lead castings. Now we have ten years of junk that has no worth when we have I our hands. And the Ring, can we wear it? Can we get it our size or is it just a ring on a chain. The Unexpected Loss of your Bank Account.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. cml

    its nice that a movie is being made for the die hard fans instead of all the crap that we normally get because it will appeal to the masses. Thanks Peter!

    December 13, 2012 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bilbo_Baggins_Of_Bag-End

    Meh,I LOVE Lord of the Rings,BUT I HATE his movies.Bloated with stupid special effects.

    You need to read the books and let your imagination turn Tolkien's masterpieces into films in your head.I dont need this hack telling me how to imagine Tolkiens world!!

    Now Get outa here!!

    December 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rock

    Just use the same dialogue as what was used in the cartoon movie. Dont get creative....just use the same thing that everyone grew up with.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sylvia Taylor

    I will NOT seen the "Hobbit"! No one mentions anything about all the animals that got killed during the filming, including five horses. What the hell is wrong with these film makers and the people looking out for the interest of the animals that lost their lives ENTERTAINING humanity? Jackson is ultimately responsible, consequently, I am no longer interersted in any movie of his fearing the slaughter of more innocent animals.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mira

    Too long with nothing going on? Sounds like a faithful adaptation of the book! No, really, if you've read the Hobbit, you know it's full of nothing going on. Nothing much happens for dozens of pages at a time.

    Do I think it needs to last nine hours? Well, no. But if it were cut down to the Hollywood-standard 90 minutes, you would lose so much of what makes the book undeniably Tolkien.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Too long with nothing going on? Have you read the book? Please tell me where all the down time is in this book. I understand and agree with you that three movies may be too much for this one book. We'll see as the movies come out, but I would like to know where you thought there wasn't enough action. The group has run-ins with trolls, wolves, goblins, spiders, wood elves, a dragon and then some of those again in the end.

      December 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. oldman100

    Jackson might have to get his stomach stapled again. Looks like he's starting to put on the extra pounds. I remember in his younger days when he was skinny as a rail.

    December 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |

    will patch in the musical cast right now...they are 24 hr and will get right on it–i gotz another date tomorrow!!!

    get off this-mouth will lecture likes its justified ...

    December 12, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Musical almost over...

    cat files are they out?

    December 12, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bill

    In our sound-bite world it’s great to have detail. Jackson doesn’t need the money he’s just into the film, good on him.

    December 12, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nathan

    Two films I got. Three films just feels like a money grab. And from all the reviews I've seen and heard saying it's too long with nothing happening, it seems that's all it is. Artificial inflation to make more money. Like splitting the last book of Twilight or Hunger Games (the worst of the three by far) into two movies just to make more money. I thought Jackson a better film=maker than that, but money speaks volumes I guess.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ernie

    The devil is in the details but so is the genius. I'm sure Jackson's treatment will be as perfect as can be done.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  16. robert

    Haha we are going to complain because a director has the passion for detail? Jackson is incredible!

    December 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |

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