Last night I took a couple of my boys to go see the Midnight Showing of THE HOBBIT.
This is a movie that I’ve been waiting for since I was a child. I don’t remember when I first read it… exactly… but I remember that I was very young. Before my family moved to Tacoma, I had already read it. I remember living in Tacoma, going to church the first time and meeting the other kids… and I remember going home and opening The Hobbit again and started reading it for the second time. I was… what 10? Maybe? I’ve read The Hobbit many times since. And The Lord of the Rings.
I’ve always enjoyed the cheesy, upbeat cartoon version too. But The Hobbit has always been one of my very favorite stories.
So I went to the theater with much expectation.
I was delighted.
Peter Jackson took a great deal of care in making this movie… Bringing in bits of Tolkien Lore that might not have been in The Hobbit, but are mentioned in passing in other books. Including The Necromancer. Which was done in a fantastic way that I really liked, showing Radagast The Brown, and giving him a bit of a bigger role in the story. On a side note, for the next movie, I really hope Peter Jackson throws in Beorn. A little known character that wasn’t in the Cartoon and largely forgotten… a man that can change into a Bear. Werewolf style. Beorn fights in the Battle of Five Armies after the defeat of Smaug.
While I hate dragons… Smaug has always been the model Dragon. He is intelligent, can communicate, but in the end he is a huge freaking monster that causes massive amounts of destruction on an industrial scale. A monster, treated as a monster. So far, the glimpses of Smaug, show that this is a Dragon done right. And not completely freaking wrong… like some other movies. Smaug is to Dragon what Bram Stoker’s Dracula is to Vampires. They way they should be. The set pattern.
The Hobbit has a lot of Levity. Lighthearted moments throughout. This is keeping with the Lord of the Rings precedent of showing Dwarves to be hard core Badasses, and funny at the same time. In the story, all the Dwarves get caught up in snares all the time… you can’t have a pack of badass Axe wielding warriors getting clobbered all the time without some humor. Tolkien didn’t write them out to be clowns though, and Peter Jackson found a balance. The Dwarves were very well done.
Also done well were the Trolls. Better than I had imagined them.
Peter Jackson… Thank you. After waiting for this movie for so long… You are doing it right.
There are a couple things that I can pick on. First, is the characterization of Radagast. Bird nest in his hair, poop running down the side of his face… that was nasty and unnecessary. Making him slightly touched though, explains why he was not used more in LOTR by Peter Jackson or Tolkien. The dog sled chase with the rabbits and wargs was kinda stupid, and I didn’t care for that.
The other thing I didn’t like was the use the Giants. While it was mentioned in The Hobbits that Stone-Giants were throwing rocks at each other for sport – across the valley – it’s not intended by Tolkien that they were made of Stone. Or that they were the size of mountains. Or that they were killing each other. That’s not how I nor the Author imagined them. Gandalf suggested to the Dwarves that they find a friendly giant to help them… but this isn’t possible considering Peter Jackson’s vision of them. Small matter though, Giants.