My husband and I have a few books that we reread every now and then, and among these are Tolkein’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. Without going into too much, I will say that I love these books, and find them not only to be a thoroughly enchanting read, but also to have great personal value. When the Peter Jackson movies arrived, I felt generally positive about them, in spite of some screenplay irritations (Why did we need all that Arwen and Aragorn stuff? WHY did we need Frodo and Sam to have a fight?), but by and large, it’s an “adaptation,” not a “transliteration.” The two media are too different for audiences to reasonably expect perfect fidelity. That’s just my feeling. My brother disagrees on this, and his thoughts are worth reading. Anyway, I’m only trying to say that I think I have a pretty open mind about necessary book-to-screenplay adjustments. Necessary ones. They are painful, but I can accept them.
But then there was The Hobbit. For this movie, it’s actually a good thing he took such initiative to move beyond the “necessary changes” idea and just hacked away, because The Hobbit wasn’t a very good book and that’s why nobody liked it very much. Right. That’s why no one ever reads it.
Stuff like this makes me scratch my head. How could such a good director let such a big project go so badly? Did screenwriters really think they were improving? Did everyone really think moviegoers wouldn’t mind that they all but discarded the original story? I suspect they thought neither of those things, but knew we would buy tickets anyway. It’s sad, but it happens. It’s the Citizen Kane syndrome: a small-time creator with big dreams of crushing the man makes something big happen, turns heads, becomes a force to be reckoned with, and slowly yields to the compromise that he initially spoke out against. I understand they wished to tie it in with the LOTR movie set, but the effort was really unnecessary, and the resulting final product is disappointing. I won’t detail my specific problems with it, aside from one pertinant change that my husband pointed out. The dwarves in the movie are reclaiming their home, as opposed to the ones in the book who are pursuing stolen gold. Doesn’t that make sense? Why not draw a little attention away from the pitfalls of greed? The entire movie is the child of gold mongering, and I find nothing surprising about the producers wanting to avoid the subject. Maybe they would have been better off doing so- is it better to admit you’re greedy and selfish or try to pretend you’re telling a pleasant little tale of lost orphans who want to go home and risk sounding vapid instead?
What do you think? Did you see the movie? If so, am I overreacting, or do you agree?
Anyhow, however the movie turned out, at least I got some good legos out of it. Hunny bought me Bilbo’s House a few days back as a present, and I share it below, just so that I can close this post on a positive note and also because I like talking about legos:
The design has a great balance of house and hill. It looks as cozy as Bag-End is supposed to be, complete with careful detail to the kitchen, of course. (There is a lot of food with this set.) This little kitchen stove and chimney are pretty cute, no?
My favorite detail, though, is this front window.
I love lego structures that are made up of creatively arranged standard pieces.
Yeah, that’s a cool window. This little bit of carefully organized plastic is altogether more appealing to me than the movie’s heart and soul, I’m sorry to say. If it weren’t for this acquisition, I would have ended my post telling you that I found virtually nothing of value in that movie. So very sad.