The Hobbit (2012 film)

By Razib Khan | December 21, 2011 12:19 pm

My working assumption is that this will be a regression back to the mean in relation to Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I notice is that the projected budget for the two films is already more than a time and a half greater than all three of those earlier releases. Even accounting for inflation I suspect this is just a function of the resources now available to Jackson.

Though I assume it will at least supersede the 1977 Rankin-Bass production of the Hobbit (often parodied on South Park):

  • floodmouse

    Doesn’t anyone want to talk about hobbit evolution? How was the Shire sufficiently isolated from the rest of Middle Earth to allow hobbits to differentiate from elves and dwarves, not to mention humans? Did the fur between their toes present a cultural stigmata that prevented intermarriage?

    While we’re on the subject, what about Orcs? Genetically engineered as a killing machine, without symmetry or regard for harmonious design, surely the Orc presents a useful warning to the future, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? By the way, are Orcs really descended from pigs?

    Not to mention Golem. What explains his remarkable phenotypic differentiation from his origins as a hobbit-like land-dweller? Is it a matter of diet and epigenetic expression? Can living in the dark eating worms really turn hobbits into nude, faintly reptilian scavengers?

    I crave insight, my preciouses . . .

  • Peter Ellis

    Well, Gollum’s been discussed in the literature previously.

  • Naughtius Maximus

    Don’t forget The Dark Knight Rises trailer aswell.

  • EcoPhysioMichelle

    #1: I thought Orcs were the result of crossbreeding evil elves with evil men, or something to that effect. Maybe then they were crossbred with pigs. Who knows. That might explain why they’re born out of the mud.

    #3: The Dark Knight Rises can eat me. I am so done with this Batman franchise.

  • RafeK

    I am not sold on the hobbit film, I really enjoyed FOTR but found the later two movies disappointing. I am more willing to be open minded about reimagining the hobbit as even Tolkien expressed the desire to have taken a more adult theme with the hobbit and wanted to retcon even more of it(the orginal hobbit was edited to change the story of how bilbo got the ring) to fit with the silmarillion and LOTR. I still think a really good animation would be the best way to treat the hobbit. Miyazaki might do something really cool with the hobbit given a chance.

  • Chris T

    I’m apprehensive about The Dark Knight Rises. Creators of highly successful and regarded products or art too often try to outdo their success and end up overdoing it with follow up projects.

    The Pirates of the Caribbean and Matrix sequels are prime examples.

  • RafeK

    Chris I agree with you, I was trying to think of series of films were the third one was good that were not based of series of books and can hardly think of anything.

    The first series of batman movies went of the rails at movie three.
    As did x-men, as did Spider man, Rush hour, Lethal Weapon. The only exception I can think of is the Bourne series.

    The new batman looks notably lighter in color, more saturated and more Cartoonish, casting Anne Hathaway as Cat woman is bizarre and scenes of batman fighting on the steps of city hall in open daylight seem completely out of step with the tone of the previous two films

  • EcoPhysioMichelle

    I love Anne Hathaway more than anyone on the planet, but she will be a terrible Catwoman. X-Men 3 sucked because it lost its character-driven focus. It could have been good if they’d been able to keep Bryan Singer as director.

  • leviticus

    No Smaug! That was the only reason why I was looking forward to the trailer. I wanted to see how they would handle Smaug. And what’s with the Galadriel/Gandalf looking soulfully into each others’ eyes and playing with the hair scene? I always figured that was a platonic, professional relationship. Sure, G & G probably enjoyed inside jokes about life in Valinor, Aule’s quirks, and Feanor bloopers that Celembridor wouldn’t be privy to, but nothing romantic. On the other hand, Galadriel and Celembridor did separate, amicably of course, at the end of the trilogy when Galadriel left on a boat with Gandalf.

    I also figured dwarvish singing for more Eurasian/Slavic/Turkic instead of this Celtic-esque New Age-y stuff in the trailer.

    (The internet is lovely, one can’t very well talk about this stuff with most of one’s friends and relatives, and all of one’s love interests)


    Hobbits were already differentiated by the time they came to the Shire, into three distinct types. These types merged to form the basic Shire Hobbit. This is dealt with at length in the intro to the Fellowship of the Ring. The smallness- adaptation to Mirkwood or perhaps a series of droughts and generations of malnutrition in Wilderland?

    On Orcs, Tolkien changed his mind as his legendarium developed. In later years, see Morgoth’s Ring, he largely abandoned the theory that corrupted elves formed the orc ancestral stock. If elves were immortal, how could orcs be short lived? Most likely men, or even beasts, were Tolkien’s final conclusions for the origins of orcs. He said that incarnate spirits in orc form might have been their leaders, this would explain certain long-lived orcs/goblins.

  • EcoPhysioMichelle

    leviticus, if you can’t discuss this type of stuff with your love interests, then you’re dating the wrong people!

  • Mike Keesey

    @leviticus, they split the book into two movies, so Smaug will be in the second one. (But note that you can see Smaug in this trailer — or at least Tolkien’s drawing of him on the map. Also we saw a representation of him in Fellowship, in Gandalf’s fireworks display.)

  • Mike Keesey

    The only trilogy I can think of offhand where the third movie isn’t significantly worse than the first is Toy Story. (Even there, they’re about on par with each other, and with the second.)

  • Grey

    “I also figured dwarvish singing for more Eurasian/Slavic/Turkic instead of this Celtic-esque New Age-y stuff in the trailer.”

    It sounded monk-ish to me, which i would never have thought of myself, but actually works if you think of Dwarf cities as giant underground cathedrals.

  • Andy

    Singing! Am I the only one who wondered how LOTR was considered true to the books when it had no singing?

  • EcoPhysioMichelle

    Andy: SOMETHING had to go. Also it did have some singing. The EEs had even more.

  • Sniffnoy

    I’m confused; the background music included vocals, but I don’t recall any of the actual songs from the book (e.g. the warsong of the ents) being included. Not a big consistency issue, but definitely disappointing.

  • Al Cibiades

    Back to the Future; First Star Trek series franchise, (hopefully Sherlock Holmes/Downey+Jude)
    Characteristic is impressive first, less than impressive second, and a wowzer third!


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar