The Hobbit

December 22, 2012 — 4 Comments

The-Hobbit-poster-2I just returned from seeing The Hobbit. My expectations were not high, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Being transported back to Middle Earth reminded me of how thrilling it was going to watch The Lord of the Rings.

We can be very thankful that Peter Jackson picked up this project rather than someone else who certainly would not have made it coincide as well with the LOTR Trilogy.

Most of the critiques I have heard of the movie have some good answers. I agree with Owen Strachan, the best article to read on the subject is from Seth Abramson in the Huffington Post.

Jackson extended the book in a way that is faithful to Tolkien although much of it is not necessarily in The Hobbit. But if you are going to extend The Hobbit, this is the way to do it.

I have not read the book in about 5-7 years, so I was able to enjoy the movie without being overly critical of what they changed. I do wish Bilbo would have found the ring in the exact way he did in the book. Although it was close, I expected that Jackson would have not diverted from the plot in the least in this scene. I have copied the part from the book below.

Very slowly he got up and groped about on all fours, till he touched the wall of the tunnel; but neither up nor down it could he find anything: nothing at all, no sign of goblins, no sign of dwarves. His head was swimming, and he was far from certain even of the direction they had been going in when he had his fall. He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking; certainly it did not seem of any particular use at the moment. He did not go much further, but sat down on the cold floor and gave himself up to complete miserableness, for a long while. He thought of himself frying bacon and eggs in his own kitchen at homeā€”for he could feel inside that it was high time for some meal or other; but that only made him miserabler.

There were a few other parts I wished were different.

  • I remember fondly the part about the Trolls and Gandalf throwing his voice until the sun came up. I am not sure it matters that much, but I thought this was an important scene of character development for Gandalf which was missed. Rather they made it a character development scene for Bilbo.
  • The stone giants part (although in the book) was weird and overplayed. I thought I was suddenly watching a Rocky movie.

But as Owen says, don’t believe the critics, this movie is well done. It celebrates humility, virtue, hope, and the triumph of goodness. Below were some of the parts I thought were done well.

  • I enjoyed the brief historical piece about Erebor and Thorin. It was very similar to the way the LOTR started and set things in perspective.
  • I was glad they included Frodo and Bilbo (albeit briefly)as they were in the LOTR. It made the two movies connect in a way that immediately endeared the movie to me.
  • Jackson’s portrayal of the dwarves was right on.
  • The humor was fitted for the type of book The Hobbit was. It is more a kids book which did include humor.
  • The songs were well done and not as corny as I thought they would be.
  • Gandalf (Ian McKellen) fit his character perfectly, as he did before. Just like in LOTR he had some conversations in the book that give a nice pause to the action and provide much needed reflective and philosophical depth to the film (more movies need to do this, it can make or break a movie).
  • Bilbo was appropriately humble. I was afraid they were going to try to make him too much of a hero.
  • I love that these movies portray good and evil in such stark images.
  • The scene between Gollum and Bilbo was masterfully done and the best part of the movie.

So when you go to the see the movie, don’t expect it to be exactly like the book, but let it stand on its own ground, and celebrate what Jackson did well.

I am looking forward to next Christmas.