Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Hobbit (book & movie)

Author:  J. R. R. Tolkien (book)
             Peter Jackson (movie)

Rating:  *** (3 stars out of 3, "A" for the book)
             0 stars out of 3 ("D" or "F" for the movie)

Audience:  6th grade and up

You just knew I wasn't going to like it, didn't you?!  While I fall far short of being a Tolkien purist, I was extremely disappointed in this movie from Peter Jackson.

Orcs.  Not in the book.  Not necessary.  Save them for Lord of the Rings.

Radagast the Brown.  Not in the book.  Not necessary.  I think Jackson found him in some unpublished Tolkien papers.  Leave him there.

PG-13.  Not in the book.  Not necessary.  Overdone violence, beheadings and orcs (see above).  Plus the humor, poetry and general feel of the book was mostly ignored, save perhaps for the initial dwarf scene at the hobbit hole.

Three movie sequence.  A big media ploy and entertainment rip-off.  Two movies I might have fallen for, but not three.  TimeWarner will only get rental income from me for the next two sequels (if they're that lucky)--no full price tickets for this family.

Production Quality.  Outstanding.  That I'll give to Mr. Jackson.  Which only makes a fan more wishful for what might have been.

It's useful to differentiate between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  They are very different books telling very different stories for very different audiences.  The Hobbit is really a wonderful place to introduce your children to the epic journey and epic storytelling.  Full of songs and poems, adventures, maps, description, humor and character development, it stands fine on it's own, or as a prequel to LoTR.  I consider it a "must-read" in children's or youth literature, while LoTR can be reserved for teens willing to further explore the fantasy genre.  Don't misunderstand me:  LoTR is wonderful, but many people are happy to stop at The Hobbit.  Just make sure you stop at your local bookstore, not the movie theater.

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