Visually stunning precursor to the Lord of the Rings.
So despite a lack of sleep this week (last week before finals this semester) I went out to the midnight showing of the first Hobbit, out of three. Yeah, apparently its three films now, at least according to IMDB. Last I heard it was two, but I’ve been pretty out of movie news on this for a while. Either way, I caught the midnight show and while it was rather enjoyable, other parts were a bit disappointing.
First thing I’ll address is my tag line here of “precursor to the Lord of the Rings.” While it has been a while since I read the books (I attempted to finish the Hobbit before the movie, but school got in the way and I only made it to page 40 or so), the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t lead too much into the Lord of the Rings. Granted, that’s probably for Fellowship of the Ring came 14 years later, and originally the Hobbit wasn’t really set up to have a sequel. This movie however spends quite a bit of time connecting events to the Lord of the Rings. I’ll try not to get too spoiler heavy for those unfamiliar, but you have been warned.
Radagast, for one, plays a huge role in this film. A name only mentioned briefly I believe in the Hobbit, and who played just a small role in the Lord of the Rings. Events that mainly were only hinted at in the Trilogy are played out quite extensively here. We also get ae story to the fall of Moria with – and I admit I cheated via Wiki on this bit – that originally happened with Dain II, Thorin’s cousin. Film wise Thorin stars at this battle while Azog the Albino Orc Giant lives rather than dies so he can give the film its big antagonist. Personally, I thought it was more or less a waste, and greatly changed the story. We also see councils that foreshadow the Trilogy and also take up a good deal of the film’s time. Really, if I were to guess between Radagast, Azog, and Gandalf’s meetings that don’t appear in the book, well I’d say less than half of this film actually is based off the Hobbit. The rest is mostly made up, with only a small bit of it being based off info given in the Trilogy.
That is why I’m a bit disappointed here. Still, the film is enjoyable enough. A lot of the canon portions have been tweaked. Some, of course, to help fit the non-canon parts. Others tweaked for I don’t know why, while some I admit were nice decisions since some things are hard to pass on in a movie compared to in a book. Like a story about one of Bilbo’s relatives is changed so Gandalf brings it up with a talk to Bilbo, which was a nice touch. The scene with Smeagol/Gollum was wonderfully handled as well. Other tweaks lay about with some being meaningless (Gandalf not riding his “majestic white horse”), to other various things.
Bottom line, the film is enjoyable, and if you enjoy the books or the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, you’ll probably like it. If you prefer things to stick as close as possible to the source material though, you may be slightly disappointed like I was at all the filler parts tossed in. By the way, the 3D was simply amazing! Best 3D anything I’ve ever seen. Well, besides real life.