Who Can Pull <i>The Hobbit</i>'s Plug? And When?

At what point does a movie just seem like it really, really doesn't want to be made? I ask because, now that there's been an explosion in the production workshop of The Hobbit, I am fairly sure that the various problems that've plagued Peter Jackson's adaptation of JRR Tolkien's pre-Lord of The Rings epic have officially graduated to the level of "curse." When will it all end? No, seriously, I'm actually asking.

To be fair, the movie's publicist is playing down the level of disaster this time around: Although two people were reportedly hospitalized after the blast, it's officially a "slight overstatement" to call it an explosion. And, sure, "a couple of the guys" suffered "mild burns" and "had some burnt nostril hairs," but it's nothing serious. Nonetheless: An explosion, even one that's slightly overstated? Coming after the director quitting and the studio going bankrupt, all before anything has even been shot? Someone, somewhere, has some kind of random cosmic grudge against this movie being made.

It's odd, really. Not that one movie can seem to have such bad luck, because, hey, crap happens. But that none of this seems to have deterred those involved from continuing to work on the project. It'd be nice to think of that as dedication to some kind of artistic ideal and, to be fair, I think that actually is the case for Jackson and many of his cohorts. But it's also impossible to ignore the lure of the massive payday that's hovering over everyone involved, at the same time. Jackson, WETA and whoever is involved may have the purest of artistic intentions, but the only reason that they've managed to keep going is, let's face it, because the studio heads know that there is an enormous financial upside coming from the very eager fanbase who've been dreaming of this movie for a long time. And that, weirdly enough, is the worrying part.

Let's just imagine for a second that The Hobbit does turn out to be something approximating cursed, and that things continue to go wrong with it - Not "end of the world" wrong, say, but Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark wrong. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone who'd know when it'd be a good idea to just... stop? To decide that things have gotten too ridiculous, too difficult, to continue without harming people (whether physically or mentally) and just give up? Normally, you'd have the studios and the producers to fill that role, but both parties have their own level of short-sightedness this time around, so they're out. Jackson, God love him, is also out because... well, Tolkien is his great white whale now. Who's left? Martin Freeman? Benedict Cumberbatch? Ian McKellan, perhaps; he's always struck me as a sensible man with a good head on his shoulders.

My point, I guess, is that every project needs a naysayer to know when it's time to cut your losses and get out. Especially on a project where people get caught in explosions, and instead of being horrified, your first response on finding out is a depressed, sarcastic, "Oh, of course people are getting blown up on that movie..."

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