Closing The Ring.
As the stars of The Hobbit trilogy take to the Green Carpet, Emilia McKay looks back at the unexpected journey.
The stars took to the green carpet in London’s Leicester Square on Monday night for the world premiere of THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. As Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, et al, went one last time into the breach, they were greeted by a Middle Earth size army of fans, gamely sporting wizard hats, ears, rings and thrusting under their noses no end of weird & wonderful memorabilia for signing.
And so, On Friday 12th December, the rest of the UK will be in a Hobbit frenzy as the final chapter descends upon us.
Notably, it’ll be the end of an era, as Peter Jackson’s second trilogy from Tolkien’s famous novels comes to a close. You may just see us at the cinema armed with a box of tissues but it’s also a fitting time to celebrate this wonderful world that Jackson has so brilliantly brought to life. Thirteen dwarves, a handful of hobbits, three wizards, a skin changer, dragon, necromancer, numerous elves, humans, and goblins, Gollum (or perhaps Sméagol? No, Gollum. No, Sméagol, precious!) and Sauron later, our adventure draws to a close.
But then again, it’s not really the end. In fact, it ties up a loose end, and brings us neatly back around to The Lord of the Rings. From start to finish, The Hobbit was greenlit for production on 14th February, 2010. Jackson wasn’t originally intending to take on The Hobbit, even though the screenplay had been penned by himself, his wife Fran Walsh, writing partner Philippa Boyens, and the legendary Guillermo del Toro. Initially, he had passed the task of directing onto del Toro, a Tolkien fan, but other work commitments forced him to bow out of the project.
After a somewhat bumpy start, filming began, and we were spun back to Middle Earth as if we were Judy Garland wearing our red slippers. And boy was it good to be back!
An Unexpected Journey introduced us to Martin Freeman, who most definitely resembles a young Ian Holm, taking up position as Bilbo Baggins. As well as providing some light comic relief, Freeman has delighted with a very endearing portrayal of Bilbo.
Then, The Desolation of Smaug gave us a fire breathing Benedict Cumberbatch, who also doubled up to play the Necromancer.
Jackson and co. have given us stellar all-star casts with terrific performances throughout this trilogy.
But it isn’t just their hard work; it’s the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, namely Weta Workshop. Weta, for those not in the know, is a company that Peter Jackson, and colleagues Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk jointly founded back in 1987, and who are responsible for all those breath-taking special effects and out-of-this-world props seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Remember Sting, Bilbo’s sword? Weta. The Orc with the gnarly gnashers? Weta. You can find all their glorious work right here – you’ll be surprised what other films they have worked on.
Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in The Lord of the Rings films, is also back briefly, although only vocally – his is the voice you hear for the end credits.
Quoted in an interview with Billboard, Boyd said of his contribution:
“We focused on not just the final instalment, but more so on this 10-year epic adventure, a song to sum up the six movies. We recorded in Wellington, New Zealand, at one point traveling to Auckland to Neil Finn’s studio where we recorded some of the guitar. It was surreal to be in his studio, as he did the song for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to this astonishing world, as we see Thorin leading the company into battle to claim what is rightfully theirs.
Smaug, threatens to take the lives of the men, women and children of Lake-town, as the Dwarves mistakenly unleash Smaug.
Sacrificing honour and friendship for the Arkenstone, Thorin risks the lives of his company, forcing Bilbo to make an ultimatum. Legions of Men, Elves and Dwarves must make the final decision to either unite to fight, or be eradicated.
Sauron is back, and pitches his army of Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain.
Who will come out successful?
I’m joining Thorin’s company one last time – are you?
Released 12th December, with midnight screenings up and down the country.