It was announced a while back that The Hobbit would be separated into two films. This has created a lot of hubbub in the Tolkien and film community about New Line trying to milk the franchise for more money and so forth. I’ve heard arguments from both camps, those who think separating is a good idea and those who think it’s a bad idea. I agree with certain points from each side but there are concerns I have that have to do with the separation and one other that doesn’t.
From what I’ve heard, one of the reasons for it being two films instead of one is because Peter Jackson is going to show what Gandalf is up to when he leaves Bilbo and the Dwarves during certain times in the story. The thing is that I like not really knowing what Gandalf is up to until near the end. You don’t know where Gandalf has gone or if and when he’ll come back into the story. That creates a little more tension because you don’t know if he’ll appear to help Bilbo when he’s in a bind. If the viewer knows where he is then they know if he will or will not show up and you lose an element of the story. His absence being unexplained also lends toward a little more mystery. I understand the intent of showing the audience but I would prefer if Jackson didn’t do it.
Something else that was announced not too long ago was that Frodo might be doing narration for the film. The problem is if you look at The Hobbit films as stand alone movies or movies that someone, who may know little or nothing about Lord of the Rings or seen the films, will be viewing for the first time, then having Frodo narrate the films has potential to confuse. Imagine you’ve never seen LOTR or read the books and you have this character, who doesn’t appear at all in the rest of the story, narrate the tale. From a prequel point of view it makes sense as it provides a character, other than Bilbo and Gandalf, that the audience, who’ve seen/read LOTR, can relate to. But if your intention is to make a movie someone can watch and then watch the three other movies then it seems like a bad idea and just an excuse to include a character, who isn’t in The Hobbit, for no reason. They could explain who Frodo is in the movie but it just strikes me as unnecessary.
I am willing to give Peter Jackson the benefit of the doubt with these issues and they will not ruin the movie for me (most likely) but will simply serve to annoy me.