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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.