Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Open Letter to Peter Jackson

Dear Peter Jackson,

How are you? I hope you and Fran are doing well, and that you're planning on doing something fun for the holidays. So then. I've got something I need to get off of my chest.

Where to begin? First of all, I'm a big fan. Love the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I even like King Kong, though I do think it would have benefited from a little editing. When I heard there was a Hobbit movie in production a few years ago, I was extremely excited. When I heard that Guillermo del Toro was dropping out and you were taking over... honestly, I was a little worried.

Sure, The Lord of the Rings films are some of my all-time favorites. And, sure, I love your work. But, the thing is, I've seen this before: a big genre director decides they know how to call the shots. Suddenly, they're their own producer, and no one's nixing their bad ideas.

The truth is, I got a little worried. Sure, I was still excited to be returning to Middle Earth, but deep down, I was concerned. Jump ahead to a week or two ago when the early reviews started to appear. While the Lord of the Rings had glowing reviews, these were far more mixed. Sure, it's still on the "Fresh" side of things over on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's close: 66% Fresh, as of this moment.

That was when I got really worried. I started to think that maybe you'd gotten full of yourself, that you'd lost perspective. I started to think you'd gone the way of Lucas, Cameron, Raimi, and others.

Well, I just saw The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, and I think you know where this is going.

Mr. Jackson, I am so, so sorry I doubted you: that movie was fucking awesome.

Where to start? How about the opening 45 minutes that critics are whining about. As a lifelong Tolkien fan and geek, every second was an absolute joy. After a fantastic nod to your first trilogy, you transitioned right into The Hobbit. And that sequence was a pitch-perfect adaptation of the book, at least to my memory. My favorite part of the movie, in fact. The singing, the jokes, and the fun of the book were all there.

As the movie progressed, you walked a tightrope between Tolkien's book and your other trilogy, and you did so masterfully. Navigating the tonal differences must have been frightening, but I thought you pretty much nailed it. Can I find moments to nitpick? Sure. But nothing all that major.

I hesitate to judge the critics too harshly yet. You see, I sidestepped the largest issue: the 48 fps, which just about everyone despised. I saw this in 2D on a "normal" screen, so it's certainly possible my enjoyment was tied to that choice.

I'll know better after I see The Hobbit in a different format. Even if everyone's right about it detracting from the film, I'll always have the option of shutting my eyes and enjoying the music.

Oh, one more thing. The movie felt a little short to me. Can't wait for the extended cut.

Erin Snyder

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