Monday, March 24, 2014

Peter Jackson . . . the New George Lucas?

As I mentioned in my previous post, my fiance's recent surgery has resulted in many, many, many hours of movie viewing. We started with Star Wars episodes I through VI, followed that up with a little Pacific Rim, and then moved on to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He'd never seen the extended edition, which made for a great time on my part, getting to introduce him to all the extra hours of footage I find so phenomenal. Of course, as with any book to film adaptation there are going to be some liberties taken that hardcore fans are going to take exception too; but the truth is the Lord of the Rings film trilogy is a masterpiece, one which manages to pick and choose which scenes to take from the novels, which scenes to alter for the sake of pacing, all the while still honoring the original source.

Which got me thinking about Peter Jackson's latest project. I still find it somewhat hard to believe that the man who was so respectful of Tolkien's vision for The Lord of the Rings, could then go and create the travesty that is The Hobbit "trilogy". I just don't understand. From the moment they start talking about the growing evil in Middle Earth (something blatantly ripped out of the LOTR series and shoved unnecessarily into The Hobbit), to the introduction of the Tauriel (the redheaded elf Peter Jackson created with absolutely no literary basis), I knew the series was going to be awful. 

And boy was I right. He has become one of the biggest disappointments in cinematic history. 

Which makes me wonder, is Peter Jackson the new George Lucas? It is my personal opition that both Jackson and Lucas sold-out, tarnishing the reputations they earned honestly in the name of money. )Or maybe it was prestige they were after, but I'm inclined to think it was money.) 

One of the few things I can say in favor of George Lucas was at least the series he destroyed was his own. He created Star Wars from start to finish, and if he made the decision to ruin that with a prequel trilogy, that is his right. Disappointing to fans everywhere. But his right none the less. Peter Jackson on the other hand did NOT create The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, or anything associated with Middle Earth. As a filmmaker, he is allowed a certain amount of creative license, which he used to great effect in The Lord of the Rings. 

But when he adds new and unnecessary characters, creates romance between and elf and a dwarf (seriously, are you kidding me?), and in general ignores the very essence of the story in an effort to make it tie in with his previous series and thus draw in the fans he'd accumulated along the way . . . THAT is unacceptable. And heartbreaking. 

So is Peter Jackson the new George Lucas? It's hard to say. He certainly followed Lucas's footsteps, ruining an amazing trilogy with an obscenely horrible prequel trilogy. And I might even argue that all the new advancements in CGI actually hindered the story in both cases (they filming tricks they used in their original trilogies felt infinitely more realistic than the gross overuse of visual graphics in the prequels). 

All I know if these two filmmakers I once had such faith in have disappointed me to the extreme and I no longer trust them or their visions. 


  1. Jackson messed around with more elements in his original trilogy than you might think. He already had the impulse. What's better with the new films, if you choose to see it that way, is that he now better trusts his ability to shape the story his own way. It's more obvious, and as such perhaps more offensive, but it's got more integrity for it. I'd rather him take risks than just copy and paste. Even Tolkien rethought some of his own material. He realized Bilbo's ring was much more significant than it at first appeared to be. And so he went back and edited The Hobbit. In that sense, Jackson addressing the dangers to come (or what we've already seen) is addressing the monkey in the room that is otherwise not apparent as Bilbo faces his own problems.

  2. What Tony said.
    I like the Hobbit movies. I think a lot of the changes came about when the studio demanded three movies. He had to make up some stuff to draw it out that long. And remember, he didn't even want to direct them in the first place.

  3. I love LOTR and so far what I've seen of THE HOBBIT (still haven't seen part 2...or 3 for that matter). However, nothing tops THE FRIGHTENERS.

  4. I can see the comparison you're making. I really enjoyed the LotR trilogy (also a fan of the extended versions), but I can't get into The Hobbit. While it looks great and jives along with the LotR series, it doesn't have the same spirit. I can't quantify it with examples. I just know when I watch the 1st hobbit movie I wasn't nearly excited as with I saw The Fellowship of the Rings. Even without the changes he made, for the better or the worse, I still feel the movie lacks the magic of the LotR series.

  5. Did you see my review of Hobbit 2?

    1. No, I think I missed it. I'll take a look at your archives...

  6. I have no sentimental feelings over the Lord of the Rings films, though I was quite bored with the first Hobbit movie and I never felt that way watching the original trilogy. I only have so much room for high fantasy and something about the pacing in the Hobbit just made me crazy.

    Star Wars is my favorite movies series ever, and I adore the original three films. I can absolutely see the comparisons you're making btwn Lucas and Jackson. I recently watched Phantom Menace again and I was sort of shocked at just how bad it is. Everyone points to Jar Jar as the worst offender (fair point) but there doesn't seem to be any sense of point of view, it's literally just THINGS HAPPENING and character soup. At least the original, despite introducing many characters and the universe, you had a sense of a journey with Luke. It's easy to blame kid actors, but not so easy to blame CGI made by talented designers and voiced by professionals, so it comes down to writing and directing. Lucas should have stepped back from some of those roles, but well, hindsight.

    I"m still way geeked for JJ Abrams' version. At least once every few weeks I remember there will be new Star Wars movies and I get excited :)

  7. I've never seen the LotR movies, but I have seen a lot of Jackson's work. It's getting progressively more commercial as he gets higher and higher up the ladder in Hollywood. Maybe in the end that's the only way to get ahead.