Elven Interventions: A Fan's Review of The Hobbit (Part I)
There are spoilers that follow, I suppose, but not any that would ruin the film.
Image: My girlfriend and I with Gandalf at the movie theater.
|P. Jackson (source)|
My first thought in response to this news was that Peter Jackson et al. were doing it for the money (also my thought regarding the final Harry Potter movies). Three films would make hundreds of millions of dollars more than one would. I then heard the films would incorporate material from outside The Hobbit itself, coming from Tolkien's other writing about the history of Middle Earth, like in the LotR appendices. I remained suspicious. Sure there was other history there to explore, but three films? It still seemed crazy. Fortunately, seeing the first film allayed my fears, and it made me realize these three Hobbit films have a vision behind them and won't just be about making money.
|the cover for my |
copy of The Hobbit
Without a doubt, Jackson is making The Hobbit more of a prequel to the Lord of the Rings than Tolkien did, and I agree with this review that had Tolkien written The Hobbit after LotR, rather than before, he would have made many more connections as well. That's certainly what he did in his other undervalued or unpublished writings, like the LotR Appendices and the works later posthumously published as The Simarillion. Tolkien was constantly constructing a lengendarium—a detailed universe of stories and myths with thousands of years of history and multiple languages he invented himself. This dynamic is what makes An Unexpected Journey a film that will, I think, elicit mixed reviews from people who never watched the LotR movies or never read Tolkien, even in spite of Jackson's attempts to make the film's adventure appeal to all. I would recommend to anyone wanting to see The Hobbit that they should at least watch The Fellowship of the Ring. (No reading required!)
|Elrond, from An Unexpected Journey|
An elven intervention also occurred in Jackson's The Two Towers, when elves from Lothlorien arrived to aid in the defense of Helm's Deep. That never happened! Nevertheless, these liberties taken with the original writings are not too unbelievable to accept for enthusiastic fans like me. The only people who might get really hung up on these changes are radical, die-hard fans of the books. They might be disappointed with where the Hobbit films are going, but then again, after the Lord of the Rings films they shouldn't be surprised. Ultimately, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be great entertainment for most anyone who watched LotR or read Tolkien's books. It seems Peter Jackson and company have an ambitious vision for their new trilogy of films, and after seeing the first installment, I believe they are achieving that vision in a pretty entertaining, successful, and respectful way.