Hobbits and the Nasty Business of Adventures

Last weekend Drew and I watched The Hobbit. I’ll try to review it without sharing spoilers but stop reading now if you don’t know the basic storyline.

The cinematography is breathtaking. Rivendell and The Shire in particular were amazing well done. I felt like I was standing next to the characters as they explored both areas. We didn’t pay extra to see it in 3D so I can’t contrast the two. Just know that the regular screening of it is still lush.

There are a few scenes in The Hobbit where Bilbo talks about how unsuited he is for this quest. He isn’t tall, strong and brave like his companions and his timidity and compassion definitely don’t fit the archetype of a traditional hero.

Someone whose life revolves around books, the food and the company of a few good friends isn’t the first person most of us would pick to take on a dragon. It’s easy to root for a shiny-armoured knight rolling out into battle. Even if few of us can identify with what feels like to swing a sword or walk in full body armour everyone knows knights stand a good chance of surviving fantasy battles.

Nobody expects the same thing from a  short, awkward guy who thinks adventures are too long, sweaty and dangerous. I grok this fellow and suspect he’s so beloved because far more people identify with hobbits than with the elves or dwarves. (Sorry, Thranduil!)

Yes, there were some changes made to the story as the original book does not include enough material to flesh out the plots of three movies. While I think everything could have been compressed into one or two movies I was mostly happy with how the new material was integrated with what I was expecting to see. Honestly, though, it’s better to go into The Hobbit without any intention to compare the movie to to the book. As far as I’m concerned they’re two different stories and deciding which one is better is like asking your parents which child they love the most.

The major concern I had with the new material is that some of it is so dark that The Hobbit is no longer appropriate for children. This movie truly earned its PG-13 rating and I would strongly recommend against ignoring this guideline. Even as an 11 or 12-year-old I would have had nightmares from certain battle scenes.


What did you think of The Hobbit?


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0 Responses to Hobbits and the Nasty Business of Adventures

  1. daphnepurpus

    I also saw The Hobbit in 2D this week and I agree with everything you said. I really enjoyed the movie a lot! I’d been worried that it would be too drawn out since the book, as you said, wasn’t long enough for three movies. But I liked how they foreshadowed what was to come so I thought what they added was appropriate. And as you also said, the cinematography is stupendous! Also, it isn’t a child’s movie for sure and earns its PG-13 rating but that being said, I was very impressed that there was no blood! Personally, I really appreciated that. The closest we got was some abrasions on one character’s face, but no flowing, spurting, etc blood, so that toned things down for me. Anyway, thanks for your review and I definitely agree that the movie is different (not more or less wonderful) from the book. It is nevertheless still definitely Tolkien, or so I think and I can’t wait for the next two!

    • Yes, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of blood and gore considering how many body parts were chopped off.

      It will be wonderful to see how the story progresses from here.

      Do you remember how old you were when you read The Hobbit for the first time? I think I was about 10.

      • daphnepurpus

        Yes, it will be wonderful to see how the story progresses. I can’t remember how old I was when I first read Tolkien, but I read it with my son, so I suspect he was about 10-12 which would make me mid-40’s, and I have re-read them all many times since.

        • I’m a tiny bit jealous that you first read him as an adult! In retrospect I should have waited until I was a little older. I can’t think of any good examples right now but certain scenes and plot points flew over my head at the time. It’s only as I reread the books as an adult that I realized, “oh, that’s what actually happened!” 🙂

          • daphnepurpus

            I find that is true of a lot of books. I was instructed to read the classics in high school and my father produced a list of British authors. I did enjoy most of them (Dickens, the Brontes, Austen, Thackeray, etc), but when I studied for my PhD years later and re-read them, it was absolutely incredible. I found them so much more meaningful and enjoyable. I guess in many ways, that is the test of good literature–whether as we change and mature the works take on new and deeper meanings. Maybe??

          • I think you’re right about that!

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