Peter Jackson’s cinematic take on The Lord of the Rings trilogy is still regarded as one of the greatest adaptations of all time. Due to his work on those films, Jackson jumped into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth once again with The Hobbit trilogy. Despite his best efforts, this new trilogy did not meet the same success as The Lord of the Rings, and actor Jed Brophy, who played the role of dwarf Nori in The Hobbit films, blames the interference of Warner Bros. for why the same success was not met.
“They [studios] get in the way… I may be speaking out of turn here, and probably if those people ever find me I’ll get slammed, but I think that Warner Brothers kind of got in the way of Peter and The Hobbit… None of them are people that can actually look at a script and in their head imagine how you can actually get the best drama out of that. And if you get in the way of that process you’re actually stopping someone from actually getting a flow on, and that’s what I think happened, that’s what I could see happening is that there was not that same flow. Now, Peter would see stuff on Lord of the Rings and get this amazing idea about how he could shoot the next scene from stuff that was already happening on set, but if you’ve got people dictating what your day is going to be then that stops it.”
The reduction in quality between The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy did not go unnoticed and the main reason it suffered was that the decision was made to adapt Tolkien’s single novel “The Hobbit” into a very bloated trilogy. Jackson has publicly made his disappointment with the series clear, even as recent as 2015. During an interview, he revealed that he was abruptly brought in to replace Guillermo Del Toro on the project and he did not have enough time to decide on the right vision for the trilogy:
“Because Guillermo Del Toro had to leave and I jumped in and took over, we didn’t wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie, which was different to what he was doing. It was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all. You’re going on to a set and you’re winging it, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes, no storyboards and you’re making it up there and then on the spot […] I spent most of The Hobbit feeling like I was not on top of it […] even from a script point of view Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I hadn’t got the entire scripts written to our satisfaction so that was a very high-pressure situation.”
Despite critics considering the series inferior to its predecessor The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogy was still successful financially and it’s one of the highest-grossing film series of all-time. That being said, it certainly doesn’t have the staying power of the Rings trilogy and it ultimately becomes a bit of an afterthought after you watch them. There is an indication that these films could’ve been on the level of the original trilogy but there were too many cooks in the kitchen to create a clear and precise vision of what the series should be.
Are YOU a fan of The Hobbit trilogy?