Friday, November 21, 2014

Peter Jackson's version of J.R.R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT

Peter Jackson's version of J.R.R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT

This is the last time we'll have a brand new movie to revel in Tolkien's Middle Earth.  Long ago I came to grips with the fact that the movies would not stay as true to the source material as I would prefer (the end of Return of the King being the thing that grinds my gears the most; or perhaps it is the failure to develop Faramir further--I'm not sure).

I did not love The Hobbit as much as I loved LotR, so my gears were only ground an average amount when I watched the first movie installment and I felt that Peter Jackson took it upon himself to change the way Bilbo proves himself to the dwarves.  This is a story that is first and foremost about Bilbo discovering himself, and to change important elements of that journey is to change the character of the story on a core level.  How strange is it that LotR and Hobbit were both given three movies but, despite being significantly longer, the LotR movies were truer to Tolkien's novels than The Hobbit movies have been.

Jackson has grown a bit too big for his britches in my opinion.  The whole creation of the white orc seems to imply that Jackson felt The Hobbit, as told by Tolkien, did not have enough action.  Why time was used on made up scenes or why scenes were changed unnecessarily, I'll never understand.  The scene in the cave before everyone is captured and taken to goblin town, for example.  Or the scene where Gandalf brings the party to Beorn's house.  Telling a story, getting Beorn hooked, refraining from telling Beorn how many dwarves were in the party, all while more dwarves are showing up--that is classic Tolkien and classic Gandalf.  Replacing that scene with some ridiculous running from a bear scene where the door is shut just in the nick of time is an absolute crime.  And Jackson's replacement scene is so horribly cliche that it is surprising it's anywhere other than the editing room's wastebasket. 

So given that my gears are being ground by each new instance of Jackson's revisionist take on Middle Earth, why am I excited?  I guess I've just accepted that Jackson is going to do his thing and that whatever he does, a fair bit of Tolkien will still shine through in the end.  And it's a bit harsh to only focus on how Jackson is putting his own stamp on Middle Earth while staying silent on the fact that he does a lot to make Tolkien's world look and feel real.  Jackson, afterall, makes Middle Earth look beautiful.  I mean it looks so good that I think every 2 bit fantasy hack like myself harbors secret daydreams of their own world looking that good on the silver screen one day.  And that's pretty high praise. 

In the end it's a real treat to get to experience Middle Earth and the characters I love, even if what we get is an imperfect version of the original. 

December 17 is when the magic happens.  It should be amazing.

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