The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug opens nationwide across the UK on 13th December 2013
The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventures of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a production of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.
October 1, 2013
January 22, 2013
Yes, even in the Third Age, there were Keynsian apologists:
Over on the Guerrilla Economist blog, Ust Oldfield discusses the economic consequences of the dragon Smaug on Tolkien’s fictional universe, Middle Earth. He argues that the net effect on Middle Earth’s economy may well have been positive. Both Dwarves and dragons hoarded the gold, so there would have been no monetary shock from the rapid withdrawal of so much precious metal from the economy. The Dwarves were then forced to offer their labour and skills to the outside world as refugees, contributing to the economy at large.
Perhaps. But there is something wrong with this picture. Ust neglects to mention that much of the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor and nearby Dale were utterly destroyed. Thousands of years’ worth of accumulated physical, human (or should that be Dwarven?) and social capital incinerated. In order to have a net positive effect on the economy of Middle Earth, the Dwarves’ integration with the wider economy must outweigh this massive destruction of wealth. This is unlikely, to say the least. For a start, the human city of Dale existed because of its trade with Erebor. Therefore the Dwarves were already engaging in peaceful and mutually beneficial exchange with the rest of Middle Earth. The Dwarves’ actions as refugees can only have created less value if their highest-value, voluntary choices were forcibly eliminated.
January 21, 2013
In Wired, James Daily analyzes the contract between Bilbo Baggins and Thorin’s company:
Ordinarily I don’t discuss legal issues relating to fictional settings that are dramatically different from the real world in terms of their legal system. Thus, Star Wars, Star Trek, Tolkien’s Middle Earth, etc. are usually off-limits because we can’t meaningfully apply real-world law to them. But the contract featured in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was just too good a topic to pass up, especially since you can buy a high-quality replica of it that is over 5 feet long unfolded.
First, it seems fairly clear (to me, anyway) that Tolkien wrote the Shire (where hobbits live) as a close analog to pastoral England, with its similar legal and political structures. For example, the Shire has a mayor and sheriffs, and there is a system of inheritance similar to the common law. The common law fundamentals of contract law have not changed significantly since the time that the Shire is meant to evoke, so it makes sense that the contract would be broadly similar to a modern contract (and likewise that we could apply modern contract law to it).
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
December 20, 2012
Mike and Jay talk about Peter Jackson’s latest trip to Middle-Earth, The Hobbit, and frustrate both Tolkien fans and HFR projection supporters in the process.
December 17, 2012
The Hobbit: “The company of Dwarves isn’t the hand-picked band of mighty warriors … but ordinary (if short) blokes united by faith and loyalty”
We went to see The Hobbit on the weekend, with a bit of foreboding thanks to the numerous advance reviews warning us that Jackson had sold out his film-making heritage for shiny 48fps gadgetry that made everything look fake. Thankfully, we didn’t find that to be the case at all: all four of us loved the movie to a greater or lesser extent. I plan on seeing it again while it’s still in the theatres (which I rarely do).
A Very British Dude was also impressed:
Those who loved Sir Peter Jackson’s adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy will love this movie. Those who didn’t, won’t. It’s as simple as that.
[. . .]
There are those critics who will think the movie “plodding” and over-long. That’s a complaint with Tolkien’s utter disregard for narrative arc. Indeed, it’s this lack of tidy endings, and profusion of sub-plot lines that make the mythology so compelling. It’s more like reality than many gritty cop-dramas or action movies today. There may even be purists who may take issue with the additions to the book’s tale, but as these are telling back-stories and tying the Hobbit deeper into the Lord of the Rings narrative, it didn’t bother me. [. . .]
The company of Dwarves isn’t the hand-picked band of mighty warriors that the Fellowship of the Ring was, but ordinary (if short) blokes united by faith and loyalty. This is a thread which runs through all Tolkien’s work: the idea that free people thrust into extraordinary situations will do remarkable things. Tolkien never claimed to have been influenced by his experiences on the Western Front in 1916, but it’s clear he was. He asserted there to be no analogy to the second world war in his books.
Gandalf’s greatest insight is that Hobbits — a sort of idealised rustic Englishman were a better bulwark against evil than the great princes and warriors of greater strength and fame, who’re too easily corrupted by power. This is perhaps the reason the mythological cycle of which the Hobbit forms a part is so appealing to the Anglo-Saxon world: it speaks to a dimly remembered folk-memory of doughty farmers and nascent local democracy dating from the dark-ages. The idea that we’re free, and they’re not.
December 8, 2009
In what I’m sure was meant to stir the fans, The Guardian headlines this story with “Tom Waits to star in The Hobbit?”:
Will Tom Waits battle Bilbo Baggins? A “trusted” source working on Guillermo del Toro’s production of The Hobbit claims that the singer-songwriter is up for a part.
Waits has acted before, in films such as Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law. But he has never played the kind of character you would expect to find in a JRR Tolkien’s novel. Though the role under consideration isn’t clear, an anonymous source told Ain’t It Cool News that Waits is near the top of del Toro’s list. “As much as I’d like to say he’s a lock, I’m told he’s simply someone the production is talking about,” claims the source, “but they seem to be talking about him pretty seriously.”
For all his charms, Waits seems an unlikely pick for Bilbo, the titular hobbit played by Ian Holm in The Lord of the Rings films. He is, above all, too grumpy. Besides, a cornucopia of much more avuncular, nerdy actors, including The Office‘s Martin Freeman, Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe and Doctor Who‘s David Tennant are reportedly under consideration for the part. The film-makers are reportedly auditioning unknown actors too.