I am a small child in a man’s body. I thrill to the adventures of Jedi Knights; I feel as if I have walked the very halls of Hogwarts; I watch Star Trek reruns in all of its incantations including Deep Space Nine and Enterprise; and I suffered through every step that Frodo took. The child delights in the special effects made feasible by today’s technology.
The adult in me, however, has a whole new set of heroes. My list of heroes began with Steven Spielberg who terrorized me with Jaws in 1975, and thrilled me with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982 and then completely convinced me that dinosaurs still walked the earth with Jurassic Park in 1993. George Lucas, of course, will forever be my personal champion as the producer and director of the Star Wars galaxy. Then again, I could not imagine a list without James Cameron who gave us Titanic.
I will also admit that I am not solely smitten by mega-budget science fiction or fantasy, so I give a sincere nod to Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Oliver Stone (Platoon), John Woo, Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, and a host of others.
But my hero is Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was simply incredible. King Kong was unbelievable. Peter Jackson is without question my hero of heroes.
So this evening when I watched the first television commercial advertising District 9 by Peter Jackson, my heart rate sped up. District 9 (pictured below) looks like it will indeed be worthy of Jackson and I will have to go and see it. I then immediately began to consider, what else is on tap for Mr. Jackson? That's when I remembered his plans for The Hobbit in two parts… due in 2011.
The Hobbit was a great book to read and the animated movie was wonderful. Unfortunately, I could not imagine it reaching the epic proportions of LOTR… until I remembered Smaug. Smaug was the dragon that made all other dragons laughable for me. I’d seen dragons from Disney as a child, but they were entirely forgettable, like Pete’s Dragon. Many of the dragons from films throughout the years were deliberately cuddly and cute… like Faelcore from The Neverending Story and Mushu from Mulan.
I would be foolish to not acknowledge the really good dragon movies in recent memory. Movies like Dragonheart, starring Sir. Sean Connery as the voice of Draco; and Reign of Fire with an insane Matthew McConaughey and a scruffy Christian Bale, where the Earth has literally been scorched by the dominion of the dragons. Dragonslayer (jointly produced by Disney and Paramount) is generally acknowledged by many as the gold standard, but I thought that Eragon with Jeremy Irons and Djimon Hounsou was a better movie and I can’t wait to see the sequel.
Regardless of all of that, the dragon that left the most lasting impression on me from childhood was Smaug from the animated version of The Hobbit. Smaug didn’t play. Smaug had Richard Boone’s cool voice from Paladin... and those eyes that could see in the dark. Smaug was awesome. "I ... Am... SMAUG" Oh, he was so cool.
Now my understanding is that Peter Jackson will produce The Hobbit, and turn the directorial chores over to Guillermo Del Toro (Blade II, Hellboy, and Pans Labyrinth) which in my mind does not qualify him to take on The Hobbit. Fortunately I am confident that Peter Jackson will make this happen.
Now... can you imagine what Peter Jackson will do with Smaug? Oh baby.