The habits of Hobbits

My quick review of the new Hobbit film: I enjoyed it a lot, though perhaps not as much as the first one. Too much romance, not enough Mirkwood, too many echoes of LOTR, and somewhat excessive use of decapitation, but, it must be said, an exceedingly fine dragon.

Tolkien purists (like Rose) will be furious, but my view is that you have to change even a good book to make a good film. And, if you’re going to invent new characters, then you’ll get fewer complaints from me if you have them played by people like Evangeline Lilly.

The middle film of a trilogy is always the hardest to do, to which a fair response would be that they were foolish to do it as a trilogy. That, I imagine, was determined by pure economics. It’ll be interesting to see whether Peter Jackson can do something really new with part III. In the book, Bilbo misses the whole final battle through being knocked on the head. Somehow, I think the movie may deviate from the canon there…

Meanwhile, I imagine that the entrepreneurs of New Zealand’s South Island are already planning barrel riding trips for the spring tourists…

5 Comments

I agree, but will of course see the final one as well.

I thought the oddest change was adding orcs so that the wood elves weren’t seen as the bad guys during the capture and barrel escape. And adding orcs to the town scenes. And rather more orc close-ups than I needed.

The dragon was indeed fine, but were all those dragon chase scenes necessary? The attempt at gilding was unexpected too.

But I think the oddest thing was the sick dwarf resting his head on a pillow of walnuts. Some kind of product placement by a walnut growers association perhaps.

Ha! Yes, I noticed the walnuts too!

Perhaps they provide some sort of Indian head massage, well known for soothing those with Morgul arrows in their legs…

I decided not to see the movies – Hobbit purist. Also – it’s a slim book – not 3 movies worth without a vast amount of padding – and imo that was just about money. I would love to have seen a movie that was faithful to the book. Maybe I’ll watch them when they start turning up at Poundland; that won’t encourage the movie-maker habit of adding in a movie or two to pad the profit line.

Here’s another review I read which reinforced yours – http://boingboing.net/2013/12/13/the-desolation-of-tolkien.html.

I’ve been working on the conceit that this is the story of what actually happened. What JRRT gave us was Bilbo’s toned-down story that he used to tell the little hobbits without wanting to frighten them too much.

We know that Bilbo’s original telling had to be amended because he was less than truthful about what actually happened in those tunnels with Gollum. I recall hearing somewhere that JRRT was working on a third version which was even more consistent with the more grown-up stories of “The Lord Of The Rings” etc but was dissuaded because it was getting “too dark” and wasn’t the same “Hobbit” story everyone loved. True or not, my head-canon is that this would have been the real story and corresponds more closely with the PJ movies.

I am awaiting the third movie with great excitement while looking forward to Christmas when I will receive the DVD of the Extended Edition of the first: 5 discs? Too much joy 😉

Thanks Jeff –

Yes, the BoingBoing review is very good!

Q

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