Thoughts on the Upcoming Hobbit Film

Christian Fantasy

Over the holidays, I watched The Hobbit trailer, and it sparked a host of miscellaneous thoughts, foremost that I hope they use the time gained by splitting the book into two films to more fully explore the tale Tolkien told, not to add story devices of their own making. All that aside, I liked the tone of the preview–the ancient map, the earthy song of the dwarves, the glimpses at situations which will birth the story told in Lord of the Rings–and I’m feeling more anticipation than I previously did.

Though it’s impossible to tell without seeing the entire film, it appears that Martin Freeman will make an excellent Bilbo. I enjoyed his acting skills in the BBC Sherlock series, and I have a good feeling about his role in the Hobbit. The dwarves only make cameo appearances in the preview, but they look appropriately dwarvish, and I hope they’ll stay true to character. In fact, although I mentioned my hope that they’ll avoid substantial plot deviations, I’m more concerned about the depiction of the characters, as they changed several of my favorites drastically in the adaptation of Lord of the Rings. When I watch a film, I want to feel that familiar characters have come to life, not that I’m viewing the actions of a stranger.

But then, I’m extremely picky when it comes to movie adaptations of books, perhaps more so than most people. What did you think of this first glimpse at the film? Are you more excited about the movie or less?

If by some chance you haven’t seen the preview, you can view it here (click through if you’re reading this post via RSS or email):

Comments

  • Kessie
    December 28, 2011 - 5:07 pm · Reply

    I’m optimistic about it. Face it, at least 8 of the dwarves were only in the group for the silly sounding names. The only ones I ever cared about were Thorin, Balin, Bomber, and Fili and Kili. I’m sure they’re going to show some of the backstory, with Gandalf visiting the Dark Tower in Mirkwood to find Thorin’s dad and possibly even duel the Necromancer.

    Sigh. It fills me with such fangirl glee.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 5, 2012 - 3:13 pm · Reply

      The extra dwarves offer more than just strange names–they also make the scene with Beorn much more interesting. 😉 In all seriousness, you’re right that many of the dwarves don’t receive much character development, rather they simply flesh out the company and add bits of color throughout. Of course, I’m most interested in how they depict a younger Bilbo, but the peripheral characters do make a difference.

      I don’t mind some of the backstory woven into real time action, necessarily, as long as it’s not backstory of their own invention. Tolkien wrote plenty about what happened before The Hobbit, and I’d like to see them stick with it rather than go off on their own tangents. But like I said, I’m rather particular. 🙂

  • Bethany A. Jennings
    December 28, 2011 - 5:09 pm · Reply

    I’m more excited about the movie with every tidbit of video and information I see! I admit I am a little worried about the “fan backstory” they are weaving in to beef it up. I don’t feel like “The Hobbit” needs any beefing, so I don’t understand why they split it into two movies just to add in extra story that isn’t “in the Tolkien canon” to begin with. It seems a little disrespectful of Tolkien’s lifelong work, to add to it like that. But, still, I am very much looking forward to the film!

    Come to think of it, I suppose they did the same thing with “The Lord of the Rings”, but I read the books right before seeing the movie, so as a relatively new fan it didn’t bother me to see the changes they made. I do think they did a good job overall, taking the story from book to film. I have high hopes that “The Hobbit” will prove to have the same masterful workmanship!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 5, 2012 - 3:20 pm · Reply

      Bethany, I’m becoming more excited also. My feelings about the extra material will depend on how they choose to work it in, and whether or not they pull from what Tolkien himself wrote of in other books or invent their own story elements. Of course, I’d strongly prefer they stick with Tolkien’s writings.

      They made some fairly big alterations to LOTR, in my opinion, and the result was that I only moderately enjoyed those films–and only if I viewed them as separate entities from the books. All film versions will require some alterations from the books, but I felt some of the changes simply didn’t need to be made. However, I think the differences stood out to me more than they did to some people, because I had read the series numerous times (from childhood on) before I saw the films. So I even noticed differently placed lines of dialogue. 🙂

      All that said, there are a number of good things about the adaptations, and the team working on them has definite skill. Overall I’m feeling more optimistic about this one than I did about LOTR, and I’m quite interested to see how they bring the story to life.

  • Jamie T
    December 29, 2011 - 11:02 pm · Reply

    I’ve not even read Lord of the Rings, much less seen the movies, but it all looks interesting. I am excited for my LOTR fan-friends who are looking forward to The Hobbit… I LOVE the song they sing in the trailer; I have it on a playlist!

    I’m with you about transferring characters from books to movies. I usually get nervous that they’ll be changed into something I don’t care for anymore…

    Have a Happy New Years!

    ~Jamie

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 5, 2012 - 3:23 pm · Reply

      The song was great, and I’m glad they showed it in the trailer, as it added a distinct Tolkien flavor that I hope permeates the film.

      It’s good to know I’m not the only one who gets nervous that characters I love will be altered beyond recognition or tweaked enough that they no longer appeal. To me, it seems like one of the biggest challenges of creating a film version of a book would be bringing beloved characters to life.

  • Sienna North
    January 2, 2012 - 1:32 pm · Reply

    I’ve always admired Peter Jackson’s work for his dedication to the original story. In the commentaries on Lord of the Rings, Jackson carefully explained his decisions as to the characters and the minor changes he made to the plot of the Lord of the Rings and, after a great deal of thought on the subject, I was satisfied with his explanations. So now I trust him rather unconditionally on the Hobbit. I think he’ll do a lovely job.

    Now as for the “extra” material, do note that it’s elaborated on in the Silmarillion (as any who have ventured to read that heavy tome may remember). So it’s not that Jackson will be adding to the story from his own imagination (or at any rate not much); instead, he’s delving beyond the simpler story of the Hobbit. Personally, I appreciate his decision to expand on the rather lighthearted story and bring in Tolkien’s larger body of material.

    That’s not to say that I will agree with or like every portion of the movie, but I’m excited for it, to be sure. May December come quickly!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 5, 2012 - 4:27 pm · Reply

      Perhaps I would have been more sympathetic to his adaptation of Lord of the Rings had I watched the director’s commentary and understood some of the rationale behind the decisions. Jackson faced a difficult task in turning such a well beloved story into a film, and I suspect some people would have been disappointed no matter what approach he took. Again, the rampant character alterations were more of an issue to me than the plot changes, though some of those struck me as detracting from the power of the story as well. I’m glad you mentioned the value of the commentaries…now I’ll have to try to watch them some time to hear what Jackson has to say about the whole thing.

      All that said, what I’ve seen thus far on the Hobbit seems promising, and I’m looking forward to the film. Time will tell if it meets expectations or not.

      If they pull the extra material from the Silmarillion and Tolkien’s other writings concerning the events referenced in the Hobbit and LOTR, then I’m not too concerned, because they will stay true to the writer’s vision for the story (something important to me). In fact, I’m with you in that I’d be interested in seeing some of the events Tolkien detailed elsewhere come to life.

      I’ll look forward to hearing everyone’s opinions when the film does actually come out, and we can compare likes and dislikes. 🙂

  • TheQuietPen
    January 4, 2012 - 9:50 pm · Reply

    I did give a fangirlish squeal when I first saw the trailer–and heard the dwarves singing! However, I pulled back shortly after, for I am a Tolkien purist of a certain order, having read the Silmarillion, the Unfinished Tales, Morgoth’s ring, and owning five other tomes of the History of Middle Earth series (they’ve been on my “to-read” list for years–but even owning them gives me security that they WILL be read…eventually. Perhaps).

    And while the set design, most of the acting, the special effects, much of the dialog, and fight scenes were good in the trilogy adaptation, I wince every time the elves come on screen. Their costumes are beautiful, but face it, most humans just can’t properly play elves (with the exception of Cate Blanchett, who can play just about anything).

    However, that being said, I have already spoken with my husband about dressing up for a line party for the premier (because I will take any excuse to dress up in medieval-ish garb) and I am greatly looking forward to the dwarves and Martin Freeman (who’s more than proven his chops with Sherlock).

    And the elves…I will deal with. And admire the costumes.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 5, 2012 - 4:29 pm · Reply

      The dwarves singing was spot on as far as I’m concerned (though their beards were on the short side). I admit to being a Tolkien purist as also, and one who has read the Silmarillion and many of his other peripheral Middle Earth volumes as well. So I may be more particular than some regarding the adaptations.

      I agree that the set designs and costumes are lovely, and one of the things I like most about the films is being able to see various parts of Middle Earth come to life in such a vivid way. And that’s a good point regarding the inability of most humans to play elves. None of the “elvish” actors came close to the majesty and beauty of what I envisioned in the elves. Elrond was by far the worst, in my opinion. I actually laughed aloud when I first saw him on the screen, simply because he seemed absurd to me.

      Dressing up in medieval garb sounds like a fantastic notion. Sadly, I don’t yet possess such finery, though I’ve had my eye on a few lovely gowns for some time. Did you make or purchase yours?

Leave a Reply to Sienna North. Cancel Reply