PJ. I want to make Tolkien's The Hobbit. Studio. Is it like Lord of the Rings? PJ. Sort of, it's set in the same world and is about what happened to Bilbo Baggins before Frodo got the ring. Studio. So it's a prequel. PJ. Not exactly. Tolkien wrote it first. It's a separate story really, then he decided... Studio. Ah, we only do prequels - audiences aren't clever enough to recognise a separate-but-before story. PJ. It's a prequel. Studio. Great. How long is it? PJ. Just over 300 pages - say 1 hour 40? Studio. (Sighs)Peter, we'll make more money if it's another trilogy. PJ. It's a trilogy.
The LOTR trilogy successfully managed to create a fantasy world which was believable with credible characters and fantasy dialogue that worked. You simply accepted all the talk of magic, olden ways, Elven lore etc, but in The Hobbit it just comes across as corny and forced, as though someone had picked up a load of cheap fantasy novels and extracted suitable mystical stock phrases from them. The characters don't sell either, particularly the utterly ridiculous Radagast. They haven't got that same stamp of authenticity that they did in LOTR. Saruman appears to be on the verge of senility and listening to broad Scots and Irish accents of two of the dwarfs is priceless. As far as the visual style of the film is concerned, I get the artistic decision to shoot with the high frame rate cameras and creating super-saturated shots, but just because it's an artistic decision doesn't mean it's a GOOD artistic decision. Unfortunately, along with a lot of the CG, it just make the film look slightly fake and unconvincing.
I'm not a Tolkienite, though I do appreciate his books, but I suspect that in whatever passes for Middle-earth heaven, JRR is sitting somewhere sobbing and just repeating the word, "Why?" over and over again.