Tolkien Tuesday- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

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I just have to start out by saying that I am a huge Tolkien fan and I am looking at this movie from a literary perspective without being too mean to my other favorite person (Peter Jackson).

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. For some of the less nerdy people out there they would automatically think that this was from The Lord of the Rings, but they are sadly mistaken. This sentence comes from one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most notable pieces of children’s literature, The Hobbit.

As most of you know (or at least you SHOULD know if you haven’t been living under a rock), the first part to The Hobbit trilogy was released a couple months ago. You heard that right- Hobbit TRILOGY.

“That’s a little strange,” you might say, “How are they making that children’s book into three movies?”

Well, other than talking to yourself, there is nothing wrong with that question. Many people have been asking the same thing. Myself included.

Let’s take a look at The Lord of the Rings (my all time favorite books AND movies by the way).

In my copy of The Lord of the Rings, which is combined all in to one, there are just under 1,200 pages. Peter Jackson and the gang turned those 1,200 pages into three three hour long movies. Now, I know that there had to be a lot of sacrifices made to cram those pages into a short (cough, cough) 9 hours of movies, but what I just can’t figure out is how they think they can make a book that is about 170 (you read that right) pages long into the same amount of movies.

So the first thing that you will notice when you see The Hobbit (and assuming you’ve read the book) is that there seems to be a lot of….how should we say it…”additions” to the story. Now here’s where I have gotten in arguments with people. There are three different kind of additions when it comes to literary adaptions. One, something that was added that there seems to be absolutely no reason to be added other than it’s entertaining (Harry Potter is famous for this. Just take a look at the 8th movie in particular, but I’ll go into that another time). Two, an addition is made from the creators mind that enhances the story line but really has no basis in the books. And three, there is an addition from other material based on the books. So far The Hobbit has thankfully kept to the second and third. Most of the added scenes and pieces to the movie have been from The Silmarillion (for those of you who don’t know what that is first repent, then here’s a description). I have no problem with these scenes and ideas being added (again, at least so far) because I think they make the story more interesting. Now, I am not condoning the idea of making this book into three movies because, honestly, as much as it kills me to say because I love Peter, I think they’re just doing it to make more money, but it gave me a slight nerdgasm. The idea that we still have 2 more movies after this one to bask in the Middle Earth sun makes me quite happy. As long as it doesn’t suck.

 

Now that I’m done bashing the movie (or as much as I can bash anything Tolkien related), I have to say that I am still pleased with how An Unexpected Journey turned out. Mainly because I do realize the difficulties in making this story in particular into a movie when all the action is packed towards the end. There’s really no “enemy” until they meet the dragon Smaug towards the end of the book, and they needed some sort of opposition. I think, just like with The Lord of the Rings, they kept the “soul” of the story intact. Same with LOTR. They skip about a fourth of the first book. But they’re all good movies by themselves, if that makes sense. The acting was great, I enjoyed the graphics, and the frames per second that it was shot in didn’t bother me at all like I hear it did to some people. But that may just be because I saw it in 2D like a sane person (another personal rant I’ll have to get into later). One of the most important scenes that I think they did an excellent job with the scene in Gollum’s cave. This is the point at which everything changes for Bilbo, Gollum, and pretty much all of Middle Earth even if they don’t know it at the time. It is a big deal to the Tolkienites and I for one think they pulled it off spectacularly.

I am pretty sure that I have ranted and rambled about this movie long enough. For now. But I wanted to leave you all with a thought that I think about a lot- Don’t be one of those people who just go to see a movie for a pure easy minded, no thinking, entertaining time. Don’t get me wrong, a movie should entertain. But a good movie should do more than that. It should move you.

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