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`The Hobbit`

Posted October. 31, 2010 05:21,   


Hobbits are a dwarf tribe that appear in “The Lord of the Rings,” which is considered the best fantasy novel series in history. Instead of surrendering to the absolute ring that symbolizes absolute power, they save the world by destroying the ring. In 2003, skulls whose bodies were just 1 meter tall and whose brain volume was similar to that of humans were found on the Indonesian island of Flores. Some claim that hobbits really existed. The skulls were found to be those of modern humans who adapted to the environment on the island.

Hobbits are one of many tribes including humans, fairies, witches and orcs featured in the J.R.R. Tolkien books, but the author wrote the novel “The Hobbit” earlier. Tolkien, who had a keen interest in British myths and folklore, would write stories for his own children, and one of them was "The Hobbit." After the book grew popular, he started to write another novel, "The Lord of the Rings," at the request of a publisher. "The Hobbit" is the story of an adventurous journey in which hobbit Bilbo Baggins searches for treasure with the guidance of a dragon.

The movie series "Lord of the Rings" were a tremendous success both artistically and commercially, but the biggest winner was New Zealand. New Zealander director Peter Jackson chose his homeland for filming despite doubts in Hollywood that the movies could be filmed there due to limited infrastructure and poor staff. He even established a company to work on visual effects and film processing. The results were phenomenal. For the production of the three-part series, he hired 23,000 New Zealanders and generated massive added value. The beautiful scenery and breathtaking views of New Zealand shown in the movies spawned a tourism boom in the island country. Jackson was knighted by the British Queen for these contributions.

Jackson decided to film “The Hobbit” in New Zealand by investing 670 million dollars but faced an unexpected obstacle. An actors’ guild there decided to boycott the work over poor working conditions. After he hinted at changing the shooting location of the film, the New Zealand government stepped forward with a “surprise bargaining chip.” Wellington offered 60 million dollars in tax breaks and a change in labor law to block actors from engaging in labor disputes. The New Zealand government made a courageous decision to expedite job creation and economic development, risking opposition from the actors union and the opposition party. Jackson decided to stay put in New Zealand. Will "The Hobbit" save New Zealand again? What would have happened had a similar situation unfolded in Korea?

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)