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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.


Nov. 1st, 2014 11:57 am (UTC)
I am thoroughly enjoying them. In some ways, I am enjoying The Hobbit films more than I did the LotR films because it doesn't bother me that they are not an exact interpretation of the book, whereas I had a few things about LotR that annoyed me in the films. A couple of the changes introduced in the Hobbit films did produce a "hmm, that's interesting!" comment from me, but other than that, I have no problem with them. I also don't have any problem with the film being made into three films, because for me that just means more of what I love seeing -- interesting characters being fleshed out and the geography and scenery of Middle-earth being revealed.

It is possible that this ability to enjoy them is partly due to not really being as invested in The Hobbit as a book as much as I was with LotR, so that it doesn't bother me to see the films stretching things to make a good movie. But it may also just be that I went into watching this trilogy knowing that it was going to be different than the book no matter what, and that it was okay for that to be true. The things I care about -- characterization and the visualization of previously only imagined places -- are well done, in my opinion, and so I am enjoying myself immensely. I am very much looking forward to the extended version of Film 2, and the opening of Film 3 in December.



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