So, we went to see The Hobbit – ostensibly as my birthday ‘treat’. I stocked up on drinks, popcorn and sweets and stuffed them in my bag (cos, seriously, who can afford to pay the prices they charge at cinemas?) And James and I got stuck in pretty much as soon as we sat down (oh, okay, before we even got to our seats) and Adrian got cross with all the rustling. But, hey, you gotta rustle in the cinema, right?
I confess I was doubtful, even before it started. As I said in my earlier post, I was never a huge fan of The Hobbit (no Aragorn, too many dwarves, etc etc) but the trailer had looked pretty awesome. But then, I wondered, were they really, truly, honest to godly stretching it out into three parts – each three hours’ long? Jesus, that’s nine hours’ of cinema for one pretty skinny book. It seemed a bit unfair. LOTR got that and it was – what? – seven times longer?
What can I say? I hated it. In fact, I fell asleep and slept through the most part of it out of sheer disappointment. Or maybe I was just terribly tired. I don’t know.
And it got me thinking…why? Why did I dislike it so much? I don’t read reviews but I know people have said it shouldn’t have been split into three parts, that it was over long and yes, absolutely. It felt…stretched. Every scene pulled and tugged until it nearly snapped.
But it was more than that. Somehow, it felt as if the very ‘ being’ of the book had been fundamentally changed, pulled out of alignment. It felt…glossy. Too glossy. It felt…epic. Too epic. And sexy. I mean, I seriously don’t remember cute, photogenic, shaggable dwarves in the book.
|Be honest - was this how you saw Thorin?|
It was like someone sat round the table in Hollywood or wherever, said, ‘Look, we haven’t got Aragorn or Boromir or Faramir or even Legolas, FFS, so what are we doing to do? Who’s gonna be the pin-up?’ Cos, let’s be honest, Bilbo and Gandalf aren’t lust material. So someone came up with the idea of giving a few of the dwarves a glossy makeover. So they don't actually look like dwarves. Kinda sad, huh?
And, ahem, what was with the cutesy big-eyed hedgehog stuff? That was total utter pure Disney. Don't get me wrong - I like Disney but in its rightful place, and its rightful place is not, not, not in Tolkien.
And then all the massive big action movie style moments – the giants slugging bits of mountain; the fights with goblins and wotnot. In the book they were just – exciting things that happened. But someone decided that wasn’t enough – they needed to be turned into something bigger, longer, wilder, madder. It was like they were thinking, ‘Hey, how would this scene be in the game of the movie of the book?’ or ‘What about when it gets turned into a ride at Disney?’ And I guess that’s fine but it brings me onto my last thought…and the major one.
It simply wasn’t representative of the book. It didn’t capture the ‘soul’ of the book, its essence. The Hobbit is a small book – one with big adventures and a wide landscape for sure, but its major focus is small, a microcosm – it’s a one man (or hobbit) tale of how Bilbo leaves the safety of the Shire and goes out into the big world to discover…himself.
And that is what gets lost almost entirely in this movie. They’ve turned it into a generic action adventure film – it’s Die Hard with sexy dwarves instead of Bruce Willis and with added dragons, orcs and goblins (and, weirdly, a reanimated hedgehog). And I figure that’s a shame.
Will I be watching the next two tranches? Unlikely.
Now, next question? If I felt that strongly about the movie of a book I wasn’t even that wild about, should I really go see Cloud Atlas and Life of Pi?