The Hobbit is a wonderful story full of elves, dragons, dwarves, and of course hobbits. My love affair with the story began in sixth grade when I found a copy of the book on the top shelf of my father’s closet. What a book! Such vivid writing to capture the attention and entice the imagination.
Through the years, many Hobbit versions in different media have come out. I own a copy of the cartoon version of the Hobbit and I pretty much memorized the BBC production done in 1968 (always thought it had been done in the ’70s because of the sound effects). So I stood in line, full of expectation and excitement for the latest version of The Hobbit. I was in great company. I have been waiting patiently for this movie since The Lord of the Rings trilogy came out.
The lights dimmed and the audience cheered for every trailer. Everyone’s excitement was palpable. And then the featured presentation began! I’ll try not to go into too many details. But, if you have read the book, there are no surprises. There are some, “Hmm I don’t remember it exactly that way” moments and some, “They left that out” points, but I enjoyed the movie.
The opening is a wonderful tie -in with the trilogy we all love and have become invested in. We get a great visual back story to explain the quest to hunt Smaug. I loved how the dwarves sang, “We must away ere break of day.” Here is how it was sung in the BBC production:
The high frames per second 3D showing was smooth. I got distracted at how the characters stood in sharp contrast from the scenery. There is a lot of CG, but that is to be expected. One can’t really create the wonder of Rivendell or the terror of Smaug without it. One of my friends mentioned that he got distracted with the scenery details, such as the dust or the trees blowing; then he’d realize the characters were talking again. I want to watch it in non 3D just to see if I like it better. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the 3D. This was a movie filmed for 3D so it is not some re-release crud just trying to get more money. But I want to see The Hobbit again without the 3D to get a better sense of the characters.
My favorite parts were all there. The riddle game was well done, although they did leave out a couple. The dragon, Smaug, at least the parts we have seen so far, were spectacular. Radagast was a bit more wild looking than I imagined. I prefer the hermit monk living in the woods from the Middle Earth Card game. There are no “major” characters, like Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings, left out this time, at least so far.
I missed some of the “old songs.” Here is the goblin song, that was sort of missing from the movie. I think the goblin king chanted a bit with his last taunt.
Another song I really wanted them to sing was the Orc taunting song:
Peter Jackson created some extra tension and an additional story line here so the song wouldn’t work. It is a silly song that wouldn’t fit. But now that you know it, the tune will haunt you and play through your mind while you watch the movie, it did for me.
He also incorporated a lot of what was going at the same time as the Unexpected Journey – Gandalf and the Necromancer for example. We get to see what Gandalf was doing when he “went to look ahead and look behind.” Gandalf has a habit of leaving in the middle and coming back just in time, and now we get a glimpse of why.
The Hobbit is a beautiful movie. Two hours and 46 minutes long for only a part of the thing. I wasn’t surprised by this, when I did my book report back in sixth grade it took two days… so of course the movie would take longer than one sitting. This is one I will see again, and probably buy. I hope the next installment is as good.
Bonus: I found this interview with Tolkien, and thought you would like it: