So, the blatant and cynical money-grab that is the three-part adaptation of The Hobbit is but a little over three weeks away. I can't say I'm not looking forward to it -- I am one of those Lord of the Rings fans who liked the films, notwithstanding their shortfalls. I'll likely even make the effort to see it on opening weekend.
But contemplating three films just makes me sigh and roll my eyes. Peter Jackson seems to have more than a little George Lucas in him, and unfortunately he'll probably be richly rewarded for it as Lucas has been (and I recognize I'm part of that problem). Still and all, at least they've kept the same look and most of the actors. I don't recall Galdriel appearing in the book, so I'm a bit unhappy to see Cate Blanchett plastered all over the train station I'm currently sitting in.
I should not get too nostalgic for a golden age of cinema, I think it's always been about the money. Yet it seems that in the 80s one had to make a good film to do it. Yet there were certainly cynical money grab sequels aplenty then, too.
Potentially much worse than any cynicism is the involvement of Guillermo del Toro in the scriptwriting process. Judging by the man's previous works and commentary about fairy tales show him to be an enemy of everything J.R.R. Tolkein stood for. Del Toro is an anarchist for one thing (cf. his comments that "pro-institution" fairy tales are "reprehensible" and anarchic ones are good), which seems a bit ironic coming from a man who's father was kidnapped. Mr. Del Toro -- kidnappers are not good law abiding citizens! And not too many kidnappings occur in horrible countries like Canada where the rule if law is generally respected. And the Tolkein stories are rather "pro-institution" if one carefully reads them. Also, combining this with del Toro's calumnies against General Franco in films like Pan's Labrynth, his rebellious attitude extends to the Catholic Church and Tolkien was a devout Catholic. Actually, he's stated (ironically) "I'm an atheist, thank God." If only guys like him could leave our cultural patrimony alone, but alas, atheists tend to not actually be atheists but haters of God and especially His Church.
Upside: it's a great stiry and simple enough superficially that hopefully the Catholic messages were lost on Jackson and del Toro such that they didn't FUBAR it.