Friday, 12 April 2013

The Hobbit - The Friday Adaptation

Every Friday we'll be discussing one film or TV series that has been adapted from the book or graphic novel. We'll be discussing which version is better, why the adaptation happened and the critical response to both book and film.

The first Friday adaptation comes in the shape of this weeks new DVD release of The Hobbit.

With the success of the Lord of the Rings films it was only a matter of time until this prequel saw the light of day on screen. It wasn't plain sailing though as the original director Guillermo Del Toro after a few months left the directors chair, with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson taking over. It was always going to be Peter Jackson's baby though.
Peter Jackson has decided to broaden the story on screen by splitting it into not two but three films. Another trilogy. Everyone loves a trilogy but there has to be material there for it to be split and The Hobbit is a fairly slender book. Added to The Hobbit trilogy are parts from other Tolkien books I am told but even so, there was far too much slow motion and panning of huge vistas in it for my taste. It's pretty, but at 163 minutes you kinda just want it to stop faffing with all the lovely fields and get to the gritty action. I am in no way an expert though as I read the book when I was a wee lad and not since (on my to-read list) so I asked some dedicated Tolkien fans on Twitter whether the adaptation succeeded. Thomas Mathie AKA @Headphonaught is an avid collector of The Hobbit books. I asked him if the film lived up to expectation.

"Yes & more. I loved it. What did I like? The Dwarves. The Trolls. The Goblin King. Seeing Erabor in all its finery. I also loved seeing Bilbo, Galadriel and Saruman. Radaghast was brilliant too. Oh and the music...I loved the soundtrack". 

Anything you disliked?
"Didn't like the introduction of Azog the Defiler. Understand why he's there but I didn't like him"

Another fan of the book is fellow musician Lew Bear AKA @LewBearMusic

"I liked it, but wish the dwarves were less comical (in the main). Radaghast was awesome though! :)"
He also agrees with Thomas about Azog.
"...the army is led by Borg in the book and would have worked better."

So it looks like the fans of the book were satisfied, but what about critics? On it gets a fairly average score of 65% with fantasy magazing SFX saying "There is a good film here, but with many double albums, you have to sift through a lot of padding to find it." In Empire Magazine it got 3 out of 5 stars and this tends to be the consensus amongst most.

The book came out in 1937 and instantly became a hit, winning several awards. It became so popular that the publishers asked Tolkien to write a sequel, which became the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

My memory has erased much of the book so going into the film fresh may have helped me. I do feel it is over long but nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed it. The casting of Bilbo was exceptional. Martin Freeman does bumbling yet confident with perfection. And in a little side note, my wife's old Uni colleague is one of the dwarfs. 

Peter Jackson, director of Tolkien films
As always there is always going to be something missing from a film version of any book (see my Hunger Games book review) so there will never be a 100% correct answer, but The Hobbit film adaptation was a pretty big success.

Buy Tolkien from the shop HERE
Comment below with your opinion...