Should Peter Jackson Have Made The Hobbit First?

The new trailer for next year's long awaited Hobbit movie is spectacular, but I can't help but think how great it would have been to see it over a decade ago.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but I always wished that Peter Jackson had adapted The Hobbit first.

J.R.R. Tolkien's introduction to Middle Earth was one of my favorite books as a child.  His later grand epic (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King) was an undeniable masterpiece, and Jackson's sweeping version definitely did it justice, but The Hobbit was a wonderful standalone tale that set the stage for the greatness to come, and it should have been made first.

The blog Movies with Butter succinctly sums up my trepidation. Since we've already seen the live-action Lord of the Rings films, "we know what will happen to all the characters so it's difficult to be surprised by the events in the (Hobbit) movie. The stakes are so much lower here as well. In the Lord of the Rings, the world is on the brink of being overrun by Sauron's army horde; in The Hobbit, a group of dwarves just want to reclaim their home. Taken for what it is though, The Hobbit will still stand on its own, just don't expect to see Lord of the Rings here."

I read The Hobbit first and then delved into the richer LOTR novels.  Would it have been better to experience the movies in that order too?  Watching Bilbo's cameo in the trilogy, I felt a sense of missing backstory -- I wanted to see his original journey, not just imagine it based on the story I read as a child.  Now, watching the new trailer, I have a sense of bizarre nostalgia -- it's the first "episode," but we've seen everything that will come next with Frodo and the rest.

I'm glad that we will now be able to see the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, the discovery of the Ring, the ultimate battle with the dragon Smaug in not one but two movies (An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again), but would it have been more powerful as the first movie in Jackson's saga rather than just a prequel?


Andrew said…
I don't think he should have made it first, but other than money, is there a reason why it's being made into two films?
Nick said…
You're right, probably just to make more money. Although I'll give Jackson the benefit of the doubt, maybe it came out to be a 6 hour adaptation and he figured out a way to split it in two -- like Tarantino did for Kill Bill.