The Hobbit

On December 14, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens

I just got back to my hotel room from a 12:01am showing of The Hobbit here in West Palm Beach. It’s past 3am but I can’t sleep yet, so instead I’ll write some thoughts I have about the movie.

I’m going to assume you know the story of the Hobbit and of The Lord of the Rings, but will try not to spoil anything movie-specific.

First, the songs. I have to talk about the songs. When I first heard that these movies would be made, my thoughts immediately turned to “Carefully, carefully with the plates.” Yes, three songs made it in, and I thought they were all well done. Especially the parts Bilbo Baggins hates.

Which brings me to the next point: they played it straight, but not too straight. This is a children’s story at heart, but it’s also the trigger of the epic events of The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf the kindly, bumbling wizard is of the great Istari. Elrond of the Last Homely House is a great leader of Elves. Thorin Oakenshield is a direct descendant of Durin the Deathless. You have to give them a certain amount of respect, too. The movie does.

But at the same time, the movie is funny. And it’s generally not the kind of Hollywood funny that movies will try to inject into any old plot. The parts that are supposed to make you laugh will do so. The characters that are meant to be less serious are used for this. Bombur. Fili and Kili. Gandalf. Bilbo himself. The trolls (who go nameless, which was honestly best). You will laugh.

Now, there was a rumor that Gandalf and Galadriel have an expanded relationship. That’s overstated. It could easily be interpreted as that, or just that the two are Ringbearers, carrying Narya and Nenya as they do.

Of course, the very presence of Galadriel in this movie means the movies are not going to be just The Hobbit. The movies are pulling from all of the canon. Middle-earth is alive, and great forces are at work. War is coming, though few know it yet. The movie respects that, too.

The movie was respectful. That’s the best thing I can say for it. There were no stupid changes made. No silly moments like the Arwen/Aragorn scenes that were added to The Lord of the Rings story. It was just as faithful as it needed to be, but no more than it should have been. The Hobbit is probably a better Hollywood fit, as liberties had to be taken to make it fit at all.

It’s funny though. The movie was so enjoyable, I found myself thinking late in it that I’d pay good money to see this treatment given to the story of Beren and Luthien. Forget the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. Let’s see Morgoth in Angband. It’ll probably never happen, but I can dream.

P.S. Radagast the fool! Out of the frying pan! Bilbo Baggins at yours! Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror! Lobelia Sackville-Baggins! What has it got in its pocketses? Thief! Baggins!

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