The Hobbit?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Everybody knows it's coming and that it was split into three movies and today, a new trailer for The Hobbit (An Unexpected Journey) movie was released:


My reaction each time I hear some talk about The Hobbit is that I never read the book (and that the movie looks much more interesting that I thought). I started reading it at least once or twice when I was a teen but I always felt that the book was YA Fantasy and put it back on the shelf (you can't always be right).  I think I should be slightly ashamed since it's not even a long read and that's actually what I want to talk about with you.  I still have ample time to read the book before the release of the first movie (December 2012, 2013 and 2014) but I'm not sure it's a good idea, or rather the good time.

I loved the LOTR movies and I think that alongside Game of Thrones, it's probably one of the best book adaptations I ever saw on screen.  It's not perfect but they both are more than worthy efforts.  However, in both cases, I knew exactly what was going to happen.  It didn't spoil the fun but it spoiled the surprises. So, maybe I ought to wait and that idea seems to be even better when thinking about the actual material included in the movie.  The Hobbit is more than he seems on more than one aspect.  

Since the announcement that The Hobbit was turning out to be three movies instead of two, I have read several comments of resentful tone.  For the majority of them, the problem seems to be the fact that a project telling a story meant for two movies will only be diluted by the addition of a third and that the plot will suffer from it (hard to tell but often true).  For some, the problem is with the difference in length between the story from the book and the length of three movies or, to put it another way, the fact that so few material could produce so much plot elements to present in the movies.  Are they right?

That being said, I can't judge that element right now.  Peter Jackson is digging into appendices (mostly from Return of the King) to add more background to the Middle Earth movie experience and more potential for the three new movies.  That looks like a great idea, Tolkien's world represented on screen could certainly benefit from more exploration if it can be done within the setting of The Hobbit.

Judging by the results of LOTR, I'd say that the director should be given the benefit of the doubt. Then, I'm really not sure if I want to pick up the book before watching the movies.  Maybe for once, it's time to stay in the dark (at least for the parts from Tolkien's first book if not from the appendices) and hopefully enjoy the element of surprise...

What do you think?  Will it be a success?  Should I read it before watching the movie?

10 comments:

Cursed Armada said...

First of all I have to say that I'm somewhat SHOCKED that you have never read The Hobbit before! I mean this revelation borders on blasphemy lol. My reaction to the film becoming a trilogy was positive. I had never read The Lord of the Rings until I saw the first movie. Needless to say it had a profound impact on my 13 year old impressionable mind. I mean after all I now have Boromir tattooed on me... The Lord of the Rings trilogy were not only good movies for a Fantasy fan, but just good movies in general. There is a reason it was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards. So when I heard it would become a trilogy I was optimistic that they will all succeed. I'm sure there is going to be some filer throughout the film, but let's face it: when you think of the best fantasy films of all time, there is nothing that comes close to TLOTR trilogy. So even a decent Hobbit is going to be better than 100% of other films based in the genre. My hope is that The Hobbit will get to include the conclusions of the dwarf characters and how they fare once the journey is over with. There is some rich rich history there. All in all I have faith that these movies will be awesome. My only worry is that Peter Jackson will make these films too humorous, compared to the dark, foreboding sense of doom that TLOTR had. Even if the film has some funny moments, it should just elevate the darker moments that much more. As for whether or not you should read the book before the movie... Interesting question... Might I suggest a poll from you're readers??? Just an idea! Good thoughts Phil, as always.

shaneo52 said...

I seen LOTR and never read the books, and I havent read The Hobbit either, I think I'm going to watch the movie first myself too.

Jamie Gibbs said...

The Hobbit is a great read, and not that long too, so I recommend reading it before you see the first movie. Though, given Jackson making 3 movies out of that one shortish book, he's probably going to include EVERYTHING in the book!

Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

Ghost said...

I think the big problem is that The Hobbit isn't that thick of a book. Unless Jackson add things of his own into the movies, I have a hard time believing there is enough material for 3 of them. Hell, if you just take the book by itself, I don't think there's enough for 2 movies much less 3.

M0rg0th said...

It was always clear that more than just making a movie about The Hobbit Peter Jackson also wanted to create a connection to the LOTR-movies. So the message that the whole thing will become a trilogy left me with mixed feelings. On one hand it's great that we get to see more of Middle Earth but on the other hand the third film underlined that this is more about the story Peter Jackson wants to tell. And this means that it's getting difficult to know what to exactly expect from those movies.
I read The Hobbit and it's an easy and short read so it definitely can't hurt to read it beforehand although it's not really clear how much it really has to do with this trilogy...

tomlloyd said...

read it! One of my favourite books ever, a much more gentle and funny tone that LOTR, it's certainly worth it.

very mixed feelings about expanding it to three movies, mostly because I can't see the point. But Jackson's earned sufficient trust on his handling of LOTR that I'm not writing them off. You watch the bonus dvds for LOTR and you see the genuine love for the material, coupled with an understanding that it can't be totally faithful and still be a good film.

Anonymous said...

i've read 'Neverwhere' after watching it, it is not good really. so i had to watch it again, after book finishing. better to read 'The Hobbit' now, it's slim enough.

the book is a bit pointlessly, very far from Hollywood storytelling standart, so there are always some plot issues. Jackson makes beautiful movies, so extension is not bad thing anyway, and screentime extantion can be very small smt like 3x 2h 15m instead of 2x 3h.

Rob said...

"[...] always felt that the book was YA Fantasy and put it back on the shelf [...]"

You're not that far off, really. It was written for children originally. It's great fun, though, and certainly worth reading. I just finished reading it for the fourth or fifth time!

Phil said...

Thanks for the comments guys!

@Cursed: you have Boromir tattooed? Did you post it on the Fantasy Tavern?

From what I gather from your comments, I think that I should read the book before watching the movies... I'll think about it!

One thing is certain though, Jackson really has to prove himself, nobody seems to agree on the three movies idea...

Fantasist said...

You've waited this long I'd say watch the movie first. You'll enjoy the movie even if it isn't true to the book and then later you can read the book and say wow the book's so much better than the movie how did I ever think the movie was any good.

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