What The Hobbit must have
With producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo Del Toro set to host a live chat Saturday about their impending film adaptation of The Hobbit, movie site The Deadbolt has posted an excellent article about the "Seven Things We Want From The Hobbit." They're spot-on. There's a lot of detail to each one, but the site's seven basic demands are:
1. It has to be funny.
2. It needs to work as a stand-alone film.
3. The whole movie can't be about the Battle of the Five Armies.
4. Smaug needs to be a classic movie villain first, dragon second.
5. Don't cut out all of the songs.
6. Explain the ring.
7. Don't be afraid to make Gandalf a bit of a bastard.
In the item about Smaug, I particularly like this bit:
Renaissance festivals and lackluster CGI have defanged the dragon for modern film audiences, so how can Del Toro hope to make Smaug as cool as he needs to be? Our advice - concentrate on the drama and dialogue of the Smaug scenes first and worry about his design later. Smaug, first and foremost, needs to be a classic villain - we're talking Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Hans Gruber, etc. - and we need to be much more afraid of his words and demeanor than his spiky claws or teeth. In fact, Del Toro should use the scene in No Country for Old Men between Anton Chigurh and the gas station owner as the model for the tone and level of raised stakes in the Bilbo/Smaug scenes. Chigurh was so scary it didn't even matter that he had the haircut that he did, so if Smaug's character is handled correctly, it shouldn't matter that movie audiences aren't afraid of dragons anymore.