Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jackson's "Hobbit" a Disappointment

A Tolkien fan, not a geek, I was thoroughly delighted by Peter Jackson's faithful rendering of each volume of The Lord of the Rings.  Despite some story changes (e.g. The deletion of Tom Bombadil) and moving some major events from book to book, each of the films left me satisfied and ready for the next.

For many years I read the Hobbit aloud to elementary kids.  It's a great story where the good guys come out ahead and evil is overcome.  (I usually summarized the battles at the end.)  One of my favorite scenes and a particular challenge was Gandalf's imitation of various troll voices to extend their discussion of how best to prepare the dwarves to eat is one of my favorites.  Under Jackson's direction Gandalf's cleverness becomes a warrior splitting a rock.  It robs the scene of intimacy and that sets the tone for the rest of the movie.  It's a video game, not a film.

While beautifully filmed and cleverly crafted the grand scale that must be imposed to satisfy audience expectations, overwhelms many an opportunity for empathy. This is a direct outcome of Jackson's division of the book into 3 movies.  While many of the expansions of story are true to Tolkien's universe, incorporating minor characters from ancillary materials, such as Radagast the Brown, it just isn't needed.  The original story is complete and well fashioned.  Jackson has shown his reverence for Tolkien in three brilliant films, but it seems that, like Smaug, greed is the undoing of the New Zealander.

One ring to rule them all.  One film to tell the tale of the Hobbit would have been plenty,

No comments:

Post a Comment