Thursday, December 27, 2012

Curmudgeon's Corner (SK): Too Much of a Good Thing?

Welcome back Shawn Keenan, the author of The Intern's Tale and The Buried Covenant. If you haven't read these two awesome books, pick it up over the holidays to have something fun to read! They are definitely special. He also has a great blog. Stop by!

I watched the movie THE HOBBIT this weekend.  I’m not as big a fan of Tolkien as some, but I have read the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, THE HOBBIT a couple of times, and watched these stories on the big screen. 

I say I’ve watched THE HOBBIT, but I’ve actually only watched about a third of what is that relatively short story.  And it took almost three hours.  That means I probably have about another six hours ahead of me to get the full story presented in all of its 48 fps glory.  (Not sure if that’s how I actually saw it, it just looked like a movie to me).

So here’s my rant.  Did Peter Jackson do this classic story a service or an injustice by stretching it out, puff it up, and possibly making it a bit bloated in his efforts to create another trilogy? 

Bottom line, yeah, just a little.

The book THE HOBBIT is very unique.  In so many ways, it’s a rough draft for the three-book saga that is THE LORD OF THE RINGS.  You can see him trying things out, playing with themes, and taking a first swipe at what would be expansive world building in his trilogy.  And I find a charm in that.  I don’t go so far as to say it’s a children’s book, but there is a fairy tale quality to it and Bilbo, I think, would be very relatable to younger adults and even preteens who feel like they are setting off on a journey into a larger world filled with Giants, Goblins, and Dragons every time they step out their front door.

The HobbitIn my opinion, Jackson has tried to turn THE HOBBIT into a sequel to LOTR’s, without recognizing that the story is distinctly a prequel, and is in many ways more like an extended prologue.  By adding plots, weight, and melodrama to what is a more straightforward story, he burdens it a bit.

My point is this (maybe):  When you take a beloved story, even though you are staying very true to the author’s source material, if you ignore the essence of what that story is, you may lose something in the process.  I think LOTR fans will love this movie and so will most other moviegoers. 

I don’t think anyone who ends up seeing all three movies of this new trilogy will have experienced much of what people who read the book THE HOBBIT felt in reading it, and that’s ok.  Movies are movies and books are books.  Sometimes a movie can’t accomplish what a book does, and that’s part of the magic of books. 

What do you think about The Hobbit being stretched out to three movies?

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  1. I'm of two minds about the stretching. On the one hand, I don't think the story itself sustains three films. But on the other hand, I was very tired on the day I saw The Hobbit but I was utterly entranced throughout especially by the performances from Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage (as well as Sir Ian McKellen of course!)

  2. I agree. I did not think the Hobbit was one of Tolkien's best writings, but now that you mention it, I can see it was a prequel to the Lord of the Rings (they too were a little too involved for me. I cannot foresee anything good coming out of making the Hobbit into a trilogy. For an action book I thought it was too slow.
    I have read the books but I have seen none of the movies so I cannot comment on that end of your dilemma.

  3. I believe that you are correct when you say that the Hobbit seems to be becoming a part of the LOTR's movie series. I hate that it is looking like that, because it is it's own book and should not be combined with another series.