Peter Jackson talks problems making The Hobbit, didn’t have enough prep time


The Hobbit trilogy made roughly $3 billion worldwide, but it was also a bloated disappointment that felt nowhere near as taut as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The writing wasn’t there, the special effects seemed less polished, and the movie lacked focus. Martin Freeman’s Bilbo, easily the best part of all three films, goes missing for long stretches even though he’s the heart of the story.

So what exactly went wrong?

In a behind-the-scenes video from the Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-ray/DVD, Peter Jackson and members of the production team admit that they didn’t have the prep time necessary to make the best movie they could.

That’s right: no storyboards, no extensive pre-visualization, sets and costumes rushed to be made; just winging it all on the fly.

Jackson and Weta Workshop set a high bar with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but they also had years of pre-production to get everything right. Weta head Richard Taylor notes that they had three and a half years to set up Lord of the Rings.

As easy as it is to deride the Hobbit movies for their shaky execution, I almost admire Peter Jackson and his team for this kind of moxie on a massive undertaking. Then, remembering the movies, the admiration turns back into disappointment. (“SMH” as you kids say.)

Ultimately I wonder what The Hobbit movies could have been had they just spent a year or a year and a half planning things out better.

[via The Guardian]

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.