Last Updated on February 18, 2023
When I heard that Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ was going to be eeked out from a very brief novel into three epic films I wasn’t filled with excitement. The principle reason for my lack of whooomph was that when Peter Jackson made the Lord of The Rings trilogy there was a lot of story left out of the final cut, even although the final cut was 400 hours long (with 600 hours of ‘extras’ on the DVD). The Lord of the Rings is epic, it is interweaved with complexities that are so, er, complex that they have been studied by academics for over half a century.* The Hobbit is not.
The Hobbit is a book that can be read in an afternoon, the pace is lightening fast almost to the point of absurdity. If The Silmarillion was Tolkien’s slap up evening meal The Lord of the Rings was his special birthday treat Sunday lunch, whereas The Hobbit is a peanut Tolkien popped in his mouth on his way past the bowl on the sideboard in the lounge.
However, this brevity is no bad thing, in fact the quick nibble of loveliness that is The Hobbit is one of the reasons I love the book so much. Bilbo’s tale is also very accessible, I read this book when I was about seven years old and romped through it. The Lord of the Rings was much more of an undertaking to read, and as for The Silmarillion., well I’m still trying to get round to finishing it.
So last night as the lights dimmed (and I asked my wife the traditional question ‘am I having a stroke?’) I put down the world’s most expensive air and heat expanded corn product and mumbled to myself ‘please don’t be shit’.
The web is full almost to the red line with reviews of ‘An Unexpected Journey’ so I won’t top it up with my own floury farty prose, instead I’ll attempt to condense my feelings on the film into a series of lazy bullet points:
- Wargs – YES!
- Eagles – YES!
- Gollum – YES!
- Utral-geek continuity with both the book and the LOTR trilogy – YES!
- Martin Freeman – YES!
- Galadriel, Frodo and Saruman et all squeezed into The Hobbit (not literally) – Kinda works!
- Dwarves – YES!
- More singing – Kinda fine with that!
- Elves – YES!
- Ken Stott and James Nesbitt as Dwarves – YES!
- Sylvester Mccoy as Radagast the Brown – SHITTING HELL YES!
- Necromancer – I POPPED OUT FOR A WEE SO I MISSED IT!
- Weird pasty faced ‘pale Orc’ – Kinda works!
- Ugly tumorous but humorous goblin king – YES!
I could go on, but I won’t because there are other things I should be doing right now, but I will just mention a few minor (but ultimately irrelevant) niggles.
A few minor (but ultimately irrelevant) niggles.
You’d have to be a proper nerdy geek to point out some of the very minor niggles in this film, and because I am a proper nerdy geek I’m going to mention the following (please correct me if I’m wrong):
- When the trolls turn to stone they are not in the same poses that they are when Frodo finds them in Lord of the Rings
- The Warg riders seem to have no issue with mooching around in direct sunlight
- Gandalf getting a bit daft with his little speech about love
- I can’t think of any more.
The sort of hasty conclusion one writes when he realises he’s spent too long on a review.
As far as I’m concerned ‘An Unexpected Journey’ is almost perfect and has a lot to offer Tolkien fans, but if you didn’t think much of Lord of the Rings then The Hobbit might not burst your corns. This first part of The Hobbit trilogy (it still feels weird saying that) takes a lot of meat from other Tolkien works, which is just fine by me because lets face it; we’re never going to see Jackson make any other Tolkien films.
I loved this film, but then I am known to be able to suspend disbelief to the level of a newborn shrew so I wouldn’t encourage you to take my word on anything.