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There's been a bit of back-and-forth news re: the Hobbit movies the last few days. It seems that a lot of the dwarf actors weren't getting flown out to the London premiere of the final movie and the list of attendees were released to the media and journalists went to Oin's actor and got a distraught reaction out of him. Apparently it was a miscommunication and the whole company is going to the final premiere, in LA. Or maybe that was New Line's or whomever's way of avoiding the PR problem. You can read the details here and make of them what you will.

But the whole thing has me thinking about the Hobbit movies and particularly how long-term fans of the book view them. I don't just mean are there parts that drive us up the wall or parts that are particularly moving or well-done, but at a more fundamental level, how do we feel about them as Tolkien (as opposed to Jackson) fans. Are we glad they were made, and if so for whatever reason - because it's a reasonably faithful adaptation, or because it practically kept people interested in Tolkien, or what? Can we enjoy it outside of Tolkien, as just a good adventure story? I'd be interested in hearing from people who were fans of the books before the movies came out (which is I think most people reading this, but I don't want to assume). Are you glad these movies were made or not, and why or why not?

Speaking for myself, I had my qualms about the first movie but found it reasonably convincing as a telling of that book. The second movie, though, was just... I'm having a hard time explaining it but it just wasn't Middle-earth. Too much violence, too much revenge and trickery from "good guy" characters, and just too ... low-brow, I guess? Also too much of trying to make this a battle-for-the-fate-of-the-world like LOTR (the parallels were almost funny at times), when the real beauty of the story for me reading it was that this was only one of many such skirmishes in the lead-up to the Ring War, that heroic men like Thorin and Bilbo and Bard were having to make stands like this all the time (and that they did). It felt like twisting something I loved deeply, and while there were bits I am so glad I got to see (pretty much everything with Bilbo and Bard and Gollum, and some of the flashbacks into Dwarvish history), as a whole I find myself wishing it wasn't made at all. It was okay as an adventure story and when I've rewatched, if I forgot it was The Hobbit I could enjoy it at that level, but that hardly seems like a good standard.

If anyone else has thoughts on the movies, I'd be interested to hear it.

Comments

donutgirl
Nov. 1st, 2014 06:03 am (UTC)
I'm not in the Tolkien fandom, I can't cite chapter and verse like some people, I've never read the Silmarillion. But I have read LOTR and the Hobbit a few times, and I am a fan in the sense that I *care* about middle earth, even though I don't write fic or go to cons or collect first editions or anything like that. (although my dad has first edition LOTR that he bought back when it came out, so perhaps I will inherit it!)

so, that said... Peter Jackson is dead to me. I saw The Fellowship in the theater and had a few gripes, but mostly thought "well, it could have been worse." Then I saw The Two Towers and I was done. It felt wrong to me, and decided right there I wanted nothing more to do with those movies.

With Cumberbatch as Smaug, I have softened to the point where I am willing to watch a few scenes from the Hobbit, just to see/hear him and Martin. But I disconnect it completely from the book. It's basically a Sherlock AU to me, and nothing to do with Tolkien.

I have a friend who is the same way with Sherlock. I try not to even mention BBC Sherlock around her, because she is so deeply invested in ACD Sherlock that this version feels like an insult. I think for me, Tolkien was such a huge part of my childhood, that I'm very protective of the books as I remember them. I want them cast in amber, not updated and reimagined and whatnot.

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