Believe me readers, I know what you’re thinking – that the Mysterious Mr. C and I are extremely behind the times. After all, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey first came out in 2012, and the second film in the series – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – was in theatres just a couple of months ago.
While we both read The Hobbit when we were younger, and are fans of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we had problems with the fact that he turned a 320-page fantasy novel into three separate movies. First of all, we found it hard to believe that he would have enough material for that many individual films, and the set-up just screamed, “I want to make as much money as possible” – with Tolkien’s work becoming Jackson’s personal cash cow. As such, we refused to pay the nearly $30 required these days to go see the film in theatres.
Once The Desolation of Smaug came out, however, more and more of our friends began asking us if we wanted to go see the movie with them. We declined, partially because we still didn’t want to pay the exorbitant ticket prices, but also because we had never seen the first film and figured we should do things in the proper order. Luckily for us, An Unexpected Journey was playing on television a few weeks ago. We recorded it, our qualms somewhat assuaged since we weren’t paying any fees, and watched it last weekend.
Both of us thought the cinematography was quite spectacular, though we had assumed it would be, knowing the theatricality of the LOTR films. I also enjoyed all of the little nods to The Fellowship of the Ring at the beginning of the movie. It showed an extreme amount of care and attention to detail, and I found myself starting to actually like the film.
But as the movie went on, I caught myself spending more time trying to figure out which parts of the movie were true to the book and which ones had been added, than actually just watching it and enjoying the story. (Even though I hadn’t seen the movies, I knew that there were additions based of friends’ reviews and the previews themselves – I mean, Legolas never appears in the story and Jackson has admitted to creating Tauriel so that there would be another female character.) For instance, I remembered the troll scene from the book, even though it’s been years since I’ve read it, but I was pretty sure that a necromancer had never made an appearance (C confirmed that I was correct). After that, I second-guessed just about everything on the screen. It didn’t necessarily make me like the movie any less, but it did keep me from just losing myself in the world that Jackson has so meticulously created.
Having started the series, C and I will have to watch all of it at some point, but for now, I’m adding The Hobbit to my reading list, so I can more fully remember how the story is supposed to go.