They say lighting never strikes twice. Well that was certainly true when it came to Peter Jackson's second venture into Middle-earth.
Adapting The Lord of the Rings from book to film, was a tasked deemed impossible. Tolkien himself never had much faith in the movie business doing his books justice, and indeed he was proven right with several early, and less than favourable adaptions. In 1978 Ralph Bakshi delivered an animated account of the first half of Tolkien's epic tale, but it never received a sequel. In 1980 fans got an unrelated telling of The Return of the King from Rankin/Bass.
Neither production was all that successful, but eventually the Lord of the Rings got the treatment it deserved. Against the odds, Peter Jackson negotiated a three-movie deal with New Line. He spent years of pre-production to design the world and fine tune the script, bringing it as close to Tolkien as possible. It was a masterpiece.
So what the hell went wrong with The Hobbit? Two directors, three over-bloated movies, and studio interference, all contributed to a story that was ultimately less than the sum of its parts.
10. Trying To Stretch The Story Into Three Parts
Way back when Guillermo del Toro was scheduled to direct The Hobbit, it was originally intended to be a two-part movie. During these early stages, del Toro worked closely with the design teams, creating a world, wholly different to what we'd seen before. Like the original book, the story was intended to have a more "fairy-tale" like quality, in comparison to The Lord of the Rings.
The first film would depict a more fantastical world, and the second would see a subtle transitioning into a more gritty realm, inline with Jackson's original trilogy. The two-movie format also seemed to make sense in terms of the book's structuring. There are several fairly obvious places to divide the story. With two parts, you could adequately, but concisely tell the tale, while giving fans that cliffhanger moment. This seemed to be the direction del Toro was going in.
But he was forced to leave the project; the details of why are still somewhat mysterious. After a scramble for a new director, Peter Jackson agreed to step in.
A year of a half of pre-production was thrown out, and Jackson was given mere months to prep. He had none of the planning time of Lord of the Rings, and essentially started shooting without a finished script. He shot the story as a two-part movie, but a late decision was taken to create a third film. This third film was essentially cobbled together with excess footage and a number of reshoots and CGI sequences - could you tell?