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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein (book and movie)

The Movie
It should come as no surprise that I had advanced tickets for the opening day of the new Hobbit movie.  It will come as a surprise that, I, was not there.  My Folks and my friend Tess went, but not me.  Alas, I was on the other side of the state attending a funeral.

So it took me a while to get to the theater.  The Husband and finally I went on a snowy Saturday to the 3D version, since he had never seen a movie in 3D.

Cinamagraphically (is that even a word?  it is now...), amazing.  Rolling green hills, stunning vistas, towering mountains, lush green forests, some absolutely beautiful scenery shots.

Story-wise?  I was sadly underwhelmed.  Which lead me to pick up the book again.


The Book:
More time must have passed than I realized since I had last read this. I re-read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy after the movies.  And I've read the Simarillion in the last 10 years, as well as the Children of Hurin.  The Hobbit felt almost simple in comparison, which probably explains why there is this odd compulsion amongst SF&F convention attendees to brag about what age they read the Hobbit.  Like it is some sort of Badge of Honor to say, in a very pompous and officious voice, "I read the Hobbit when I was 5!"

But I digress.  The book is an epic fantasy adventure.  Our band of 13 dwarves and 1 Hobbit travel the width of the land to re-claim the treasure and mine of Thorin, son of Thror son of Thrain from the Dragon Smaug.  They pass through the mines of the Goblins, through the home of the Elves, are borne through the skies on the backs of the Great Eagles, become lost in the great forest of the Bear-shifter Beorne, are captured by the woodland Elves and escape to the home of the Men under the shores of the Misty Mountain, and, on the cusp of winter, come once again to Thorin's home of old.

Epic. Fantasy. Adventure.   


The Movie:
Epic. Fantasy. Action Flick.

I fully understand that anytime someone takes it upon themselves to make a movie out of a book, it will be subjected to artistic license and interpretation.

My issues with the movie:
1) Turned and adventure book into an Action Flick.
2) Just how many times can Gandalf shout "Run!"?
3) A lot of back story was added, which to me broke up the flow of the film. 


The movie did stay true to several main components and the order in which they happened:
The Fellowship coming together
The Trolls and finding of magical weapons
Visit to Rivendell
The Goblins and the King Under the Mountain
Gollum! Gollum! and our riddle challenge
Flight from the Gollum mines and the Wargs
The Golden Eagles

But, the movie added:
A personal vendetta between Thorin and the White Orc
Thorin's reluctance to visit Rivendell
The Brown Wizard - now, I will be honest, I thought he was super cool.
and, I'm guessing here, that we are going to see more of the Necromancer than is actually in the book, which is nothing.
I'm probably missing a couple items, but for this post, you get my drift. 

So while I just wasn't overly impressed, I am curious as to how the next two episodes will be played out.  I'm NOT looking forward to the bit with the giant spiders.  I get squeamish with ones quarter sized, and to have something 12' tall in HD or 3D? Oh dear, oh dear.  Hopefully my friend Tess will tell me when I can open my eyes again...






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