He is. Or didn’t we know this already? I guess it wasn’t official before. And it is now.
Good news, right? In a way it would have been cool to have Jackson do the whole series — there would have been that consistency in tone throughout all the movies. But spending that much time in Jackson’s head was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. I’m ready to see Middle Earth through somebody else’s eyes. I don’t actually know that much about del Toro — I saw Hellboy but not Pan’s Labyrinth (except that scene with some guy with eyes on his hands, which was cool) — but everybody seems to think he’s a visual whiz. And you know, everybody is always right.
And Jackson will provide a steadying presence, consulting on special effects and (presumably) collaborating on the screenplay. In the past I’ve gotten frustrated with Jackson — I don’t always feel that his visual brilliance is matched by a deep, fluid understanding of character. But the other day I stumbled on footage from Jackson’s King Kong on cable, a movie I actually never ended up seeing when it came out, partly because everybody said it was kinda not-so-great, and I was reminded of what makes Jackson a genius. Dude does know his way around some digital effects. And there’s something about the greens in his movies — everything is so lush and verdant.
The real question mark is that second Hobbit movie. God knows why they think it’s a good idea to create a bridge-movie to connect The Hobbit with The Fellowship of the Ring. I mean, Tolkien was fine with there being a gap. What-all happens in those 60 years anyway? Bilbo is big-pimping with all his dragon-treasure, and that’s about it, right? I picture some kind of all-hobbit Desperate Housewives-in-the-Shire scenario.