The Hobbit Before Peter Jackson

the hobbit

Little do many know that The Hobbit franchise had a number of recreations before Peter Jackson got ahold of the Tolkien masterpiece. Of course there was the original novel J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, but before Jackson was even thinking of creating a live-action saga for the novel, a video game and even another full-length film based on the book were created.

A great many have read or had read to them Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit or sometimes subtitled There and Back Again as it has grown to become a historical piece of literature. Originally published in 1937, Tolkien intended for The Hobbit to be a simple story he could share with his own children. Little did he know that his tale would resonate with not only millions of children around the world, but a vast amount of adults as well. Thus, The Hobbit became a literary phenomenon and it was soon after that Tolkien’s publishers were calling for a sequel.

It seemed as if Tolkien had been fully immersed into this world known as Middle-Earth and instead of creating a sequel to The Hobbit, he wrote three. These titles are what would eventually become known as The Lord of the Rings. A second masterpiece was created and an entirely new world of fantasy was brought unto the public. Tolkien’s works still remain a hot commodity today and are read by millions around the globe daily, long after the author’s passing.

Before any of Tolkien’s work had reached the hands of Jackson, a TV movie based on The Hobbit was made in 1977. The film was fully animated and featured all of the primary characters featured in Tolkien’s novel included Bilbo Baggins, Thorin and his band of dwarves, Gandalf the Grey Wizard, Gollum and the ferocious dragon Smaug. The movie was but a modest 90 minutes long, but managed to cover the gist of adventures featured in the novel. The cartoon was also nominated for a Grammy award for Best Recording for Children in 1979.

In 2003, Jackson had brought The Lord of the Rings trilogy to life in three live-action films. Vivendi games sought to capitalize on the trend of Middle-Earth by creating a digital world of the trilogy’s prelude. A video game entitled The Hobbit was created for then-next-generation gaming consoles including the original Xbox, PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube. The video game featured animated designs reflecting the 1977 cartoon, but still felt up-to-date.

All aspects of The Hobbit’s storyline were featured in the game and a few additional quests and storylines were added for sake of gameplay. However, the game remained very true to all that the original novel was and brought in a great deal of nostalgia for readers of the book and allowed fans of the Lord of the Rings film to see how certain aspects came together.

Peter Jackson has now recreated The Hobbit in a live-action trilogy in the style of his Lord of the Rings films. The new series has been received incredibly well and the latest endeavor, Battle of the Five Armies, has now accomplished the impressive feat of acquiring $700 million worldwide in box office revenue in only three weeks of being released.

The evolution of The Hobbit before and after Peter Jackson’s widespread recreation has been a journey as extravagant as the one within the tale. One can only hope the yarns Tolkien has weaved will continue to thrive as brilliantly for many years to come.

By Cody Collier

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