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Dull reading (Inglis version) and dismal adaptation (BBC version) of a beloved story
on December 6, 2012
*** 3 stars FOR THE AUDIOBOOK NARRATED BY ROB INGLIS:
I purchased this audiobook version of the Hobbit for a road trip my husband and I made recently as he had never read the book(!), and, with the movie version coming out, I liked the idea of reacquainting myself with the tale.
I was initially pleased that the narrator was British, as I have a fondness for the accent and the diction, finding it generally more rich than that of American readers. Sadly, that approbation did not last long. Granted, the reading of this story, with its many and varied characters, and many songs and poems, is a daunting task. Unfortunately, I found the narrator's soft, somnolent drone more suited to a bedtime story than an adventure tale, and I even dozed while driving! In addition, I found the pronunciation of the dwarves' names to be odd, and some of the voices to be not as I would have expected, most notably Beorn.
Worst of all were the attempts at singing the various songs. It started with the warbling rendition of the delightful "That's what Bilbo Baggins hates/So carefully, carefully with the plates!", and concluded with a ghastly interpretation of one of my favorite song/poems "The Road Goes Ever On", the latter which was so awful I actually had to turn off the audiobook a couple of times to seethe before being able to listen to the entire thing.
The best thing I can say for this is that it is unabridged narration, and it is better than the BBC dramatization (reviewed below since some quirk in Amazon can't distinguish between these audiobooks for review purposes). Perhaps with the movie spurring a renewed interest in this classic story a better audio interpretation will become available.
** Two stars for the BBC DRAMATIZATION of the Hobbit: A dismal rendering from start to finish.
For those of you who own and enjoy the stellar Lord of the Rings dramatization with Ian Holm, Bill Nighy, etc., you will unquestionably be, as I was, astonishingly disappointed at this dramatization of The Hobbit. From the cheezy, tinny opening horns, to the horrible voice of Gandalf (sounds more like an effeminate villian in a 1920's melodrama), to the absence of some of the charming passages that made the book colorful (only adventuristic aspects seem to have been included), to the jumble of narrator vs. Bilbo vs. some other character speaking all at once or on top of one another, to the mispronunciation of character names (Thorin sounds like "tureen", and Gollum is "gol-oom"...huh?!), this adaptation is, as they say, "one hot mess" and best avoided, especially for those of you who expect it to be on par with the LOTR radio drama aforementioned.