Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” – Looking for that Shire Magic once more

by Mar 25, 2004Lord of the Rings (Movies)

There has been a lot of talk and speculation as to the returning members of the cast that will be portrayed in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving have all been mentioned in reprising their roles, but there has been no mention of the venerable Ian Holm as Bilbo.

There are some that say that Ian Holm will perhaps be too old to play Bilbo once the distribution rights to the film “The Hobbit” are meshed out and King Kong has finished its screen debut.

“The Hobbit” for sure will be the crowning film of endearment for Middle Earth, far surpassing Lord of the Rings in all its complexity and pagentry. I cannot imagine the potential this film holds to truly crystalize Middle Earth as a place that can reach the soul and spirit to all who see it….young and old.

And the point of this article is to bring forth a peculiar event that happened during the viewing of the Fellowship of the Ring. This film somehow reached children in a very intimate way. From the moment the Lord of the Rings begins in the Shire, they are mesmorized by the Shire. They love Gandalf and his warmth. They find Frodos kindred spirit with Gandalf very reassuring that they are witnessing how adults really should express themselves.

It is something that cumulates all the way to Bag End and the meeting of Bilbo and Gandalf. Their interactions have truly made me see what the best of the Lord of the Rings had to offer. Unfortunately, those first 10-15 minutes pass so quickly and the film loses my children’s attentions as the “change” takes place in the film from charming to exciting. This feeling is acutely felt as Bilbo ends on a serious note and passes from the story.

As Ian Holm walks off and Gandalf is faced with grim business, we miss Iam Holm as his song fades down the road. The crotchety behavior he exhibits is delightful. I cannot begin to describe how much Middle Earth Ian Holm brought to those first few minutes of the film, but as he walked away from the film…..I had a doubt in my mind if the film would sustain itself. Could Lord of the Rings top that performance? It was amazing. You had to tell yourself right away….they had the sense to cast Ian Holm, so obviously they must have the sense to cast the film.

I was so incredibly delighted that Fellowship of the Rings Extended Edition had even more Shire. Unlike the filmmakers thoughts of too much Shire….children couldn’t get enough Shire. What had once played for almost 20 minutes of children delight now played for 30 minutes. The young audience…..and I mean the ages of 2-5 years old mind you!….would never watch the Theatrical Version again. Though my daughter can’t speak the words, she defintely knew that the green boxed edition was the one she wanted to watch.

And so, I asked myself a simple question. Was this part of the movie made for children??? Truth be said, I think it was made for everyone who cherish warmth, comfort, laughter and most of all endearing characters. The most endearing of course……Ian Holm.

I am just an observer, but I feel it is something of my obligation to report that this part of the film was perhaps the biggest success of the entire trilogy. I love Lord of the Rings in its entirety, but had I to go to my grave with just one part of that film…I would definitely want to be buried in the scenes of the Shire and those that lived in it. And I know there are legions of parents that will testify to this very sentiment……that even children wish for such a place to be in heaven. And the center of the Shire can be no other then “The Hobbit” as realized by Ian Holm.


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