For even many die-hard Lord of the Rings fans, The Hobbit trilogy wound up being a disappointment. That was a jarring experience for many who grew up loving director Peter Jackson’s initial movie trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth literature. However, in a behind-the-scenes video from the Hobbit set, Jackson and The Hobbit crew shed light on how chaotic the experience of making The Hobbit was.
Guillermo del Toro was originally attached to direct The Hobbit; he dedicated nearly two years to pre-production and even moved his family to New Zealand to prepare for the film. However due to delays stemming from MGM's bankruptcy woes at the time, del Toro bowed out and Peter Jackson stepped in to direct the Hobbit movies instead.
Said behind-the-scenes featurette from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' home viewing release (hat tip to The Guardian) reveals the problem with The Hobbit and how Jackson cites the loss of director Guillermo del Toro as part of the reason for the hectic schedule and lack of prep time before the movies went into production:
“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.”
Due to del Toro’s departure, many scenes did not include any storyboarding and Jackson was left to “wing” scenes and making it up as he went along:
“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.”
Hearing the details from both Peter Jackson and the crew working on The Hobbit, it seems these films may've been doomed to fall short of expectations from the beginning. With lack of planning and the crew having to start from scratch, it appears there was no way that these movies could match the original LOTR trilogy in terms of overall quality.
While it’s refreshing to see an honest account of what happened on the set from the director himself, it’s disappointing that The Hobbit trilogy had such little preparation time after del Toro’s departure. Unfortunately, we will never get to see del Toro’s version of The Hobbit or how Peter Jackson could have done the trilogy with better preparation.
The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings movie trilogies are now available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD.
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