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As 2013 draws to a close, Peter Jackson and his Hobbit team could be excused for taking a bit of a victory lap. The second installment to the ongoing trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is out, and is being well-received. It’s holding steady at 74% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and has earned a nearly $100 million domestically since opening on Dec. 13. Jackson easily could record a video lying on a bed of coins – similar to his dragon villain Smaug – thanking fans for all of the "support."
Instead, the final video blog shared on his official Facebook page celebrates an important component of Desolation, and of the Jackson Middle-earth movies, in general: Score. The video gives us a tremendous tour of Howard Shore’s New York studio (gorgeous), and takes us behind the scenes of his creative process on the music for Smaug. It’s interesting that he compares it to the other "bridge" chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. "It’s dark," Shore says. If you forget what Two Towers sounded like, you can sample that film’s score right here:
As the clip progresses, you get to visit the Wellington Town Hall, where a full orchestra gathered to record the music for Smaug. I can’t say, with any honesty, that the music in this latest chapter of the Hobbit story stuck with me. Not that Shore dropped the musical ball. But there is so much to look at visually -- from spiders and female archers to a massive mother of a dragon – that I don’t recall paying much attention to the music as Bilbo and his elfin brethren ran for their lives.
Jackson says in the notes of his production diary that he looks forward to continuing the journey with fans next year. We expect that he will continue to blog the trip through post-production as he concludes this Hobbit endeavor with There and Back Again. These really are outstanding insights into the director’s creative process. He loves to lounge on very comfortable couches and burp out opinions. And the world pays a fortune to see his output!
We have been continuing our own debate about whether Jackson legally can make more Tolkien adaptations, or whether we want him to move on. Whatever your opinion, we have one more movie – and likely several more video blogs – to go.