Monday, December 17, 2012

A non-Tolkien fan reviews The Hobbit

I have a confession to make: I don't like J.R.R. Tolkien.  I read The Hobbit back in middle school, at the insistence of a friend who had drunk the kool-aid, and I hated it.  Absolutely hated it.  I never went on to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I've had people tell me those books are better.  I'll take their word for it.

I saw the movie The Hobbit this weekend.  Given my history with the book, I was predisposed to not really like the movie.  While I thought it was visually well-done, with lots of special effects and action, I thought the plot was somewhat lacking.


Bilbo and the dwarves basically get into one scrape after another, with Gandalf always turning up at a key moment to save them.  Later, rinse, repeat.  Frankly, it was boring.  What are the stakes?  Where's the risk? I kept hearing Donald Maass's voice in my head saying "Make things worse for the characters."  In this case, everyone makes it through to the end of the movie.  No one dies, no one is seriously hurt--although I did think the dwarf leader was going to bite it in one scene.

I'm not saying the characters didn't have to make sacrifices or encounter hardships, but with Gandalf always there to save the day, I was never really worried about how things were going to turn out. Likewise, I guess I didn't really connect with any of the characters because it seemed a foregone conclusion that things were going to be okay in the end.

Granted, this is the first movie of a trilogy, so maybe things get worse for them before the end.  I have to say though, this movie didn't exactly leave me clamoring for more, and I'm certainly not about to pick up the book to refresh my memory.

Has anyone else seen the movie yet?  What did you think of the movie or the book?  Am I the only person out there who never really liked Tolkien?


  1. You don't like Tolkien????

    Okay, sorry, I can't read the rest of your post yet cos I haven't seen the movie. Will be back after this afternoon's viewing!

    But I've reread the Hobbit, and LOTR, and all his other writing a gazillion times. Hmm, perhaps I could recommend one of his other stories to you. Anyhow, I'll be back ;-)

  2. Also, my captcha word was 'poomysis' - a new disease perhaps?

  3. Okay, I'm back. First off, with the books, it's perfectly possible to hate The Hobbit and love The Lord of the Rings - that's how DH feels.
    I love hearing reviews from those who haven't read or don't remember [g] the books, because I always feel justified in nitpicking and complaining about the movie (Harry taking the Tube during the summer, anyone??).
    So yea, the movie does make it seem as though Gandalf saves everything, doesn't it? But the book definitely makes it seem less so - for one thing, in the scene with the trolls, in the book, none of them knew Gandalf was there (as opposed to Bilbo catching sight of him in the movie). And the escape from the goblins' lair was less overtly Gandalf's doing in the books - more run & chase, less fighting.
    One thing I always complain about is the stilted dialogue and lack of dialogue in the movies. Why can't the characters talk properly/naturally? Why can't we have some scenes of them sitting around the fire at nights, getting to know one another? Okay, they did it once, to explain some of Thorin's backstory - but they changed the backstory! For no reason that I could see...
    Anyway, I'm really not the person to talk to about these things [g] I'm such a book fan.

    1. I figured liberties were taken [g] in the making of the movie. I'm glad that as a Tolkien fan you enjoyed the movie--nothing worse than a book you love being butchered on film!

  4. Not a Tolkien fan, haven't read the books, disliked the animated Hobbit as a kid, sat through all three LOTR with my kids because they wanted me to, but I have no recollection of what any of it is about. Have no desire to see this one. Surprisingly, my son is eager to see it.

    I have a ton of online friends who have been anxiously awaiting the film due to one Mr. Richard Armitage of the BBC's Robin Hood fame. (Well, that's how I met said online friends.)

    Thanks for your writers take on the plot. Now I'm not worried about not seeing it.

    1. I love me some Richard Armitage as well, but he was all furry and covered up in this movie so you don't really get to see his handsome face. Oh well...


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