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The Unnecessarily Extended Version of "The Hobbit",
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This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
I recently read J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" to my daughter as a bedtime story, and, as I book that I started reading as a child and put down because I found it boring, I rather enjoyed as an adult. The story is often considered children's literature, but there is much, much more to Tolkien's story than a simple adventure. A lot of the humor and social criticism is lost on anyone not old enough to understand what he was trying to say. And it truly is an excellent story.
With that said, my wife really wanted to go see "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" when it was in the theaters. However, she was rather pregnant at the time, and we never wound up making the trip. After convincing her to do a 3-day "Lord of the Rings" marathon, she wound up really enjoying the story as well as the individual movies. Therefore, I pre-ordered the Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD + UltraViolet edition, and we waited anxiously for it to arrive. With the story fresh in my memory, I was curious to see how Peter Jackson would take a 200-plus page novel and turn it into a 3-film epic.
Over the years, I've heard many complaints about the liberties taken with "The Lord of the Rings" in how the story was told from multiple perspectives. My response to these complaints was to wave my hand in dismissal and remind the complainer that they have to give some leeway when taking an established novel and interpreting it into film. Liberties HAVE to be taken; it's almost always how it goes. With that said, I had a hard time swallowing a lot of what was filmed for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." I may be blowing things out of proportion here, but only about half of what happened in the film was actually in the book. A LOT of liberties were taken with the making of this film, and I can only imagine how much additional material will be added to the following two films.
Saying that, the film, in and of itself, is an enjoyable experience. If you're a long-time fan(atic) of the original novel, please accept this film as an "interpretive dance" version of the pre-"Lord of the Rings" universe as a whole. If you've never read the novel, please, by all means, watch the film. Just understand that the book, if you decide to read it, is a rather different animal. And if you have no intention whatsoever in reading the book, chances are you'll love this film, especially if you love the "Lord of the Rings" films.
In conclusion, I could have done without all the liberties taken with the story to make this a 3-film epic like "The Lord of the Rings." It was a bit much for me, and, as someone who has minimal background in the world of J. R. R. Tolkien's Hobbitverse, I have no clue where it all came from. My only guess is that these films will be the last Hobbitverse films made, so they're trying to cram in as much material as humanly possible.
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Initial post: Jun 5, 2013 12:20:47 AM PDT
You said, "I have no clue where it all came from. My only guess is that these films will be the last Hobbitverse films made, so they're trying to cram in as much material as humanly possible." Good guess! Most of it comes from Tolkien, who, later in life, seemed to regret having left out so much in order to make The Hobbit more suitable for children. As the Tolkien estate has been making noises about not permitting any more film rights, I was very happy to see that Jackson is pulling in as much as he legally can from the appendices and stories so that we get the maximum amount of Tolkien. Remember Gandalf not being able to remember the names of two of the wizards? The names are in some of the material the estate hasn't given permissions for. I think that in years to come, when audiences see Jackson's double trilogies in the proper order (Hobbit first), The Unexpected Journey will be far more widely appreciated than it is now, as a meandering introduction proper in length and detail to the whole story of Middle Earth. Thanks for an interesting review!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2013 11:43:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2013 11:44:59 PM PDT
Well put. I, for one, am very excited to see Jackson create a version of the Hobbit that is more thematically in line with Lord of the Rings, something Tolkien wanted to accomplish by rewriting the Hobbit but was talked out of, as I understand it. When all six movies (Hobbit and LotR) are out, I have a feeling it's gonna be a pretty epic achievement.
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