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?