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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

dreamflower02
Nov. 1st, 2014 10:40 am (UTC)
I am enjoying them for what they are: fanfiction of The Hobbit.

I think as adaptations of the book, they are rather poor compared to PJ's LOTR. There are flashes in them of the Middle-earth I love, but they are seen through the filter of PJ's ideas and imagination much more so than LOTR was. They are much more a prequel to the original trilogy of movies than a faithful adaptation of the book, and I have far more "nits to pick" with them.

That said, as fanfic, they are a fun AU. It's not Tolkien's Middle-earth, but it is recognizably Tolkien's sandbox. But I do believe if I had seen these movies first, before I had seen LOTR and before I was familiar with the concept of fanfiction, I probably would have hated them, which is a shame.

I think ten years from now if someone who's read the books is introduced to these movies by watching TH first, they will never be able to enjoy the entire series.

If I were reading it as a fanfic instead of watching it as a film, I'd probably recommend a beta to help with a lot of the OOC moments and to tone down the occasional inappropriate humor.

That said, I still am enjoying PJ's strong points: visual imagination and scope. He's always been better at those things than he has at scripting.



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