I'm going to see The Hobbit on Monday. I am very excited, as I'm a slight obsessive over anything Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings books are likely to be my next Mastermind specialism, after all. The Hobbit is a wonderful book, filled with well-painted characters and excellent passages of action, humour and fear. It is also a very short book, in contrast to it's younger, big-boned sibling, and this is where most people's issues lie. 'How can they make three films from such a slender source?' folk scream, waving their hands and crying onto their iPads, 'how could Jackson be so foolish to let the moneymen persuade him to spread it so thin?'
Three films? Of The Hobbit? Three years of looking forward to a festive slice of Hobbity goodness (Christmas dinner at the Shelob household, you know)? How could anyone not enjoy this? Even if it's a cynical ploy, designed to make the sort of money not seen since the robber barons of the industrialising USA, then who the hell cares? Why would I dampen my pleasure with the thought that I'll have to pay around £30, over three years, to watch three wonderfully directed films about wizards and dragons? People seriously need to lighten up. £30, spread over three years (add a bit for popcorn, yes, and a small fortune for Ben and Jerry's, if you lack willpower), is less than I will spend on bleach in the same period, or scourers. And what we get in return is a series of films made by the most Tolkien-friendly bunch in the business. Peter Jackson loves his source material, as does Fran Walsh and Pippa Boyens. They live and breathe Middle-Earth, and would rather live with Tom Bombadil* than deliver poor quality films.
The casting is perfect, with Martin Freeman born to play the role. Tim Canterbury more or less was Bilbo Baggins, only transported to a Slough paper merchant. Ian McKellen is the finest person in the world, and I'm fairly sure Tolkien somehow anticipated him when creating the character. As for the rest, what more could you want? And if anyone else is short-sighted enough to moan about the 48fps, they can kindly remove themselves from the passage of history. It's a revolution in far more ways than 3D ever could be. Before long, the old 24fps will strike us all as blurry, foul and dirty, and we'll refuse to watch it out of sheer disgust.
Let's all chill out, enjoy the extended content, in all its Necromantic glory, and look forward to seeing Smaug get all kick ass over Laketown. That scene in itself, reported in a mere 2 pages by Tolkien, should fill about 20 minutes of film if Jackson knows what he's doing. And he does.
*Just imagine it. You'd go mad and batter him with a candlestick after only the third 'rim bim bam billo, Tom Bombadillo...'