Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Hobbit, Parts I and II

I don't think we need another review of the two recent movie adaptations (parts 1 and 2 of a planned trilogy) of The Hobbit. I am not the best qualified person to review them anyway. These are just my personal reactions to the first and second parts of the trilogy of movies.


The Hobbit is a fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, published in 1937. It also is a book directed at children. However, it has been read and cherished by many adults. Gandalf talks Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, into going on a quest with 13 dwarfs to find a lost jewel that will restore their homeland. The jewel is guarded by a huge, fierce dragon who took their home and destroyed the towns around their mountain. [If you are very familiar with the story, I am sure this leaves out a lot of important points. I have read the book but that was many, many years ago.]

The novel has been adapted in three fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. Part 1 is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Part 2 is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Both of these have already been released. The third part will be The Hobbit: There and Back Again and should come out later this year.

To start with, I enjoyed the two movies because of the acting. Martin Freeman is always good, and he is very effective in the role of Bilbo Baggins. Ian McKellan played the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Ring movies, and he is just as good here. I like Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the exiled king of the dwarfs. In the second part, there is a female Wood-Elf, Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly. This was a role that did not exist in the book. I thought this was a good addition to the story and liked Lilly's acting.

I enjoyed seeing the first two movies so close together because it was very clear how much Bilbo Baggins has matured as the group continues their quest. In the first part he is a reluctant member of the group and resented by some of the members of the group. In the second, he has accepted that he misses home and its comforts, but feels that he can help the dwarfs recover their home and is committed to seeing the adventure through to the end, no matter how dangerous.

I did not realize coming into the movie that the movie had revisions or additions not in the book. There are characters that are important in the movies but do not exist in the book. I am more used to movies where plot lines or characters are excised for lack of time to cover them. This did not bother me. Some of the additional characters were characters I especially enjoyed, as mentioned above, so I would hate to lose them.

I look forward to seeing the final movie. This won't happen until it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD, because we don't go to theaters to see movies. So, it will be a while. I am sure that movie will live up to the first two parts and the conclusion will be handled well.

This is my second submission for Once Upon a Time VIII.

14 comments:

  1. Not seen any of the Hobbit films and will continue to avoid if I can, may not be possible as the family are up for them!
    I think I had my fill of this type of thing with TLOTR films. Great films but a bit over-long and draggy in places - all of them!

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    1. To each his own, Col. My main complaint is the length, long movies are not my thing. But we enjoy them as a family.

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  2. I saw The Desolation of Smaug last night funnily enough... absolutely loved it. But you've answered a few questions because I didn't know of the additions either and was wondering why I didn't remember certain people from the book.

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    1. That is a coincidence, Cath. Maybe someday I will reread The Hobbitt, before we re-watch the full set of films.

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed the films, Tracy. I think it must be very, very difficult to do a really effective film adaptation of a book that has so much in it.

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    1. I think Peter Jackson has a lot of enthusiasm for this book and the Tolkien characters, Margot. But they had me when they cast Martin Freeman as Bilbo.

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  4. I was interested to read your views Tracy, but I don't think I will ever see the films, they just don't appeal - I quite liked the book when I read it, but that's where it ends for me!

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    1. I think I must have liked the book, Moira, but I read it aloud to my son many years ago... and was even less invested in fantasy at the time. I am enjoying the trilogy of movies because of the shared experience with my son and husband; I would not seek it out on my own. And then there is Martin Freeman.

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  5. Unfortunately I reread the Hobbit before the first film appeared on the big screen and I think this soured my experience a little as frankly these films little resemble the actual book! But, on reflection and given time, plus a rewatch, plus the second film (which I thought was quite good) I've come round to them a little and appreciate what Jackson is trying to do. I'm still not convinced that a book the size of the Hobbit needed three films but I'll still watch the last one - I'm committed now!
    Lynn :D

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    1. I can understand that reading the book in close proximity to watching the movie(s) could spoil the experience, Lynn. I had not read it in a while, so I really would not have known what was changed if my son had not told me. I sort of see the book and these movies as two different experiences. I think I would like to re-read the book someday.

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  6. I have not read any of Tolkien's books but what struck me after seeing only snatches of the film adaptations is the similarity with the Harry Potter books, especially the character of Gandalf who seems to have inspired Albus Dumbledore's character.

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    1. Prashant, that is an interesting thought. I don't remember where, but I did see a comparison between The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series. And they did mention Gandalf and Dumbledore.

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  7. I enjoyed the first film but still haven't managed the second!

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    1. Sarah, I found the second film slower but enjoyed some of the special effects more. I hate to have to wait for the third film to be released.

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