Filming an entire trilogy in one go is an incredibly risky thing to do. Imagine if George Lucas had filmed the new Star Wars trilogy like Peter Jackson has his two middle earth trilogies? It’s a safe bet we would have been subjected to a heck of a lot more Jar Jar than we ultimately were. Reshoots aside, for better or for worse there are some things that cannot be undone about Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. Here are 8 things in The Hobbit: That Desolation of Smaug that we hope can be.
1 | Less Radagast
Honestly, I’d be happy with no Radagast at all. Radagast never appears in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and only turns up in mention in The Lord of the Rings, which is part of the allure of the character in the first place. I wasn’t against putting Radagast in the film, but it’s hard to imagine how they could have fucked the character up any more than they did. Proof again that Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson just don’t cut it when it comes to writing screenplays. Somebody needed to step in a long time ago and perhaps mention that the rabbit sled, the drug use and the stupid porcupine Sebastian probably weren’t the greatest ideas.
2 | Less CGI
I guess this is what happens when all of a sudden you find yourself hanging out with James Cameron and George Lucas more. So much of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey looked like a computer game, and that white orc dickhead had none of the presence of Lurtz from Fellowship, literally and figuratively. Since they’ve already filmed the trilogy, there’s little chance we’ll see a cut back on the CGI.
3 | More Dwarven Awesomeness
The best part about The Hobbit novel are the Dwarves. There were perhaps three or four dwarves in The Hobbit: An Expected Journey that made any sort of impression and probably only one who made a positive impression. Peter Jackson reportedly decided to direct this trilogy because of the dwarves, which strikes me as surprising considering you could probably replace the actors or even characters completely and nobody would bat an eyelid. One of my principle issues with the second two films in The Lord of the Rings trilogy was the way in which Gimli was reduced to little more than comic relief. I’d hoped The Hobbit would make amends, but so far it hasn’t.
4 | Better music
Howard Shore’s work on Middle Earth films has been getting been getting progressively worse since his amazing score for The Fellowship of the Ring. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey did have a great central theme for the dwarves, but the rest was just a muddled clash of noise. Shore even managed to completely butcher some of his more memorable themes from the LOTR trilogy.
5 | Character Development
I probably mean ‘Good character development’, because there were attempts made at helping us invest in the troupe first time round. Unfortunately they all boiled down to a few seconds of random emotion for weird looking dwarves we didn’t even know the names of. James Nesbitt’s Bofur was a particularly memorable offender of the incongruous and rushed character development the audience was subjected to in the first film.
6 | No More Throwbacks to LOTR
In perhaps the most unwise movie of a film filled with unwise moves, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens with a drawn-out sequence in which Ian Holm’s elderly Bilbo recounts the history of Erebor to Frodo. I’d no prior objections to Jackson including material that didn’t strictly appear in Tolkein’s original novel, but featuring Frodo and Holm’s Bilbo was unnecessary and got the film off onto the completely wrong foot. Instead of launching into a completely new trilogy, the audience was immediately left wondering why there’s all this Lord of the Rings bullshit going on. There should be no room for trilogy sentimentalism – something filmmakers should have learned from George Lucas gratuitously packing R2-D2, C-3PO, Boba Fett into the new Star Wars trilogy. Which brings me to….
7 | No Legolas
Orlando Bloom is still a great looking guy, even after the strain of having his Rolex collection stolen, but nearly fifteen years have passed since The Lord of the Rings started filming, and he just looks different. Going from the trailers alone, there is definitely something off-putting about his appearance in the second instalment of The Hobbit, which always occurs when filmmakers attempt to de-age their stars. Having said that, there’s still a far more compelling justification to include Legolas in the films than Frodo, considering he was actually alive and hanging about when the journey to the Lonely Mountain took place, so we might let this one slide.
8 | Awesome Smaug/Awesome Bard/Awesome Bjeorn
I’m sure Peter Jackson and co. have every intention of making these three characters great, but they’ve increasingly abused the incredible goodwill they gathered after the fantastic Fellowship of the Ring (the best of the original trilogy by leaps and bounds). An Unexpected Journey didn’t introduce a single interesting character, which are plentiful in the source material. On top of that, it managed to ruin some of the best characters from The Lord of the Rings with poor writing weak filmmaking.