An Open Letter to Peter Jackson, Film Director: Once Upon a Time a Hobbit was Buried in a Hole

Subject: An Open Letter to Peter Jackson, Film Director: Once Upon a Time a Hobbit was Buried in a Hole
From: Tony Jones - Miller
Date: 19 Dec 2012
The Hobbit

Dear Mr Jackson

I have followed your career with interest and admiration, from your early days of low-budget Kiwi zombie films to the triumph that was your interpretation of the Lord of the Rings. I am not here to revisit and praise your Ring trilogy. You know it was a triumph, as do movie-goers, Tolkien fans, and film industry critics.
Why then turn from the pinnacle of Tolkien’s storytelling powers, and your triumphs in producing three films that remain (largely) faithful to the original and awe-inspiring, to a children’s book? I have now seen the film, and I do think you should have left it well alone.

Why, Mr Jackson, did you decide to spin out a book of 200 or so pages, into a massive trilogy? On that basis Lord of the Rings should have been 10 films, not three! What was required was a short sharply focused film aimed at children, one that put distance and separation from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. They are two different books. Anyone reading them both can see that straight away. In many ways, the Hobbit was a tester, an experiment by Tolkien, before he drew up in full his detailed Middle Earth world. The first part of the Hobbit is dull, simply because you have stretched a third of a short book to an almost unbearable length. You can tell the plot to a small child in one or two sentences. I can only suspect that you were told by the producers to make “a blockbuster” and emulate the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You should have said no. People came out of the cinema where I saw your film saying “And…?”. There was just not enough content or meat for an adult movie-goer.

Next up. 3D. Oh Dear. When are you and the bozos in the movie industry going to recognise that:

a) 3D is a passing fad
b) it is not realistic- it is just a special effect, fast become hackneyed and long-in-the-tooth
c) it is no substitute for a good film.

I cannot see The Hobbit in 2D until it is released on Blu-Ray/DVD I am told. Why ever not? 3D is certainly not universally liked, and you have robbed everyone of a choice between 2D and 3D that other films offer. I do hope this will change and that 2D versions will be released to cinemas over Christmas.

Finally the 48fps shooting of the film. It makes the whole picture seem so pin-sharp that it’s unrealistic. Even the real world outside of our window is not rendered in such detail. The film is a fantasy and should be mystical and magical, with soft tones and edges, smoke and mirrors, textures and layers- not all in harsh ultra-vision, that when coupled with 3D, makes the whole thing more alien than magical.
While I can see why you took up the challenge to direct The Hobbit, for your own career it would have been better to let someone else take the helm. I for one would love to have seen a different director’s interpretation of Hobbits and Middle Earth. Not more of the same as Lord of the Rings, for a book that quite frankly, does not deserve or need such epic treatment. I would forgive you this one film as an aberration, but I have to endure two more before I can see your considerable talents being used to better effect on something new. You reached the pinnacle with Lord of the Rings, and you should have known that to continue in that genre, there was only one direction of travel, downwards. “The Road Goes Ever On”- but for The Hobbit, it would have been better to have closed it for repairs.

I look forward to seeing The Hobbit (if it’s in 2D) or seeing the back of (if it remains in 3D), and look forward to your next film after this faux-pas.