News / Arts & Entertainment

'Lord of the Rings' Prequel Takes Unexpected Journey

'Lord of the Rings' Prequel Takes Unexpected Journeyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Penelope Poulou
December 14, 2012 9:22 PM
Nine years after the cinematic conclusion of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, academy award winning director Peter Jackson returns with J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. VOA's Penelope Poulou says the 1937 prequel novel has a lighter tone than Tolkien's 1954 trilogy because it represents a more innocent era.
Penelope Poulou
Nine years after the cinematic conclusion of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, academy award-winning director Peter Jackson returns with J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Because it represents a more innocent era, the 1937 prequel novel has a lighter tone than Tolkien's 1954 trilogy. "Lord of the Rings" was influenced  by the carnage of World War II.

Jackson’s first film in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy - about a battle between good and evil - was released three months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York. Audiences identified with the filmmaker’s apocalyptic world.

"The Hobbit" is the first installment of Jackson’s new trilogy, which sets the stage for "Lord of the Rings." Fans have hailed the director's digitally-upgraded project but the question for many is whether "The Hobbit" will match its predecessor.

Tolkien wrote the novel for his children in 1937. The visuals are crisp and bright compared to its predecessor, thanks to Jackson’s cutting-edge digital technology which brings thousands of computer-generated characters and three-dimensional worlds to life.

“It will give you an immersive sense of reality, like taking the screen away and looking into a window, into the real world," Jackson says.  

A scene where the Hobbit is lost in a cave and meets Gollum for the first time showcases the film’s technological virtuosity.  

“I wanted him to look the same on the outside but, underneath his skin, his muscles around his eyes and mouth are much more realistic and more complex, like a human being’s," Jackson says. "When Andy Serkis performs Gollum, every little nuance of his performance is now captured accurately one-to-one in the digital puppet.”

Andy Serkis is once again Gollum, surpassing his previous impersonations. Other favorite actors return: Ian McKellan as the wizard Gandalf and Cate Blanchett as Princess Galadriel. Elijah Wood has a cameo role as Frodo.

But newcomer Martin Freeman carries the title role as the timid but ultimately brave Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who gets recruited to help 13 dwarfs reclaim their kingdom.
 
For fans the world over, "The Hobbit" is a skillful prequel which revives interest in Jackson’s Oscar-studded trilogy. But a shorter version of this film would have made for a snappier, more thrilling addition.

The film’s comic relief undercuts the gravitas of the original trilogy. Granted, we haven't yet seen the two other installments. But so far "The Hobbit," while impressive, cannot match the director’s previous opus.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."