Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit

Fans of the novel The Hobbit may be disappointed to know that the movie of that name is not exactly an adaptation of the book. Yes, the movie features Bilbo Baggins and 13 dwarves (which Tolkien later admitted should have been spelled "dwarfs") but the movie goes beyond this and expands on every reference made to contemporary events in the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings.

These changes were inevitable. There was a lot of pressure to expand the project from one movie with a cut-down plot to two. Add in the desire to link this more closely with the LotR movies and you get the final product.

The result works pretty well. The movie did drag in a few places, mainly because I was wondering exactly where it would break off. The LotR has several natural breaks but the Hobbit is one continuous narrative. That means that the producers had to arbitrarily divide it up. I'm sure that it will flow better on future viewings.

There is a lot of foreshadowing that was not in the Hobbit but implied by the appendixes. That is fair since we know more than Tolkien about the results of this quest.

The tone is lighter than the LotR which matches the book. The scenes with the three trolls and with Gollum have laugh out loud moments. The movie is also lusher. Hobbiton and Rivendale look bigger and more detailed. Gollum is even more realistic.

Martin Freeman eases into the character of Bilbo so easily that you forget that he shares the character with Ian Holm.

About the only change I didn't care for was the addition of a one-armed orc as a sworn enemy of Thorin.

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