Published on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 by Jesse Baxter
I was overjoyed when I heard that one of my favorite books, The Hobbit, was being made into a film. I got even more excited when I found out that the film would be split into three parts, allowing each movie to be more detailed. However my hopes were dashed from the opening scene.
The first instalment of, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, contains numerous storyline errors, ranging from minor to major changes. In the opening scene, no dwarves escaped from the front gate when the dragon Smaug was attacking the mountain. In the book only dwarves who were outside the mountain, and two others who escaped using a secret door, survived. Another change is when the trolls caught the companions, Gandalf, Bilbo, and the 13 dwarves, it was Gandalf who saved them, instead of Bilbo.
The movie added scenes and characters that were not in the book, such as Saruman, Galadriel, Radagast, and the barely mentioned Necromancer. While these characters are in Tolkien’s other works, the only reason the producers included them was to make the Hobbit transition more smoothly into Lord of the Rings and help turn it into a trilogy. These scenes took up unnecessary time, while not adding much to the story. The character added who changed the story the most was the Pale Orc, Azog, who was not in any other of Tolkien’s works. He was added just to make the story more interesting, but it confused people who read the book and drew out the story.
Another thing that annoyed me was how violent the movie was compared to the book.
The Hobbit was originally written as a children’s book for Tolkien’s son, and did not contain as much violence as the movie did. The movie also added many battle scenes that were not in the book like the fight between the companions and orcs right before Rivendell. They did not encounter
any orcs until later in the story when they crossed the Misty Mountains. This was supposed to add action to the movie, but I felt it did not add any value.
The movie portrayed Thorin, the leader of the dwarves, as very aggressive towards all elves. This was because in the movie, the elves refused to help the dwarves fight against the orcs for Moria (a dwarf mine). This relationship is mostly inaccurate. While the dwarves slightly dislike the elves, they are not hostile towards the elves (except the ones in Mirkwood, who were not included in the movie). Thorin never fought for Moria either, it was only his grandfather, Thrór, who died there. Also the book never mentioned that the elves refused to help Thrór fight the orcs, so his hostility towards the elves in Rivendell is non existent in the book.The writers adding this in made no sense to me, it’s just an attempt to add drama to an already great story.
One of the most inaccurate scenes was when the dwarves were captured by the goblins in the Misty Mountains. The tunnels in the movie were made of wooden bridges over a chasm instead of regular stone tunnels like in the book. Bilbo did not escape when they were captured, he was taken along with everyone else. In the book, Gandalf made the fire go out and killed The Great Goblin instead fighting in full light. The escape was more stealthy in the book, where they ran in the darkness, fighting periodically. Another little change was instead of finding the ring by chance in the dark, Bilbo saw it at the bottom a tunnel.
While all the changes were annoying, the special effects, filming, and sound were well done. The fire and creatures were especially well done, and were very realistic. The songs were mostly upbeat and transferred well from the book. From dense forests and huge plains to mountains capped with snow, both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings have extraordinary scenery.
The acting in the movie was great with, the actors portrayed the characters feelings and mentality well. There were several actors that I knew and liked in the movie, such as Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Benedict Cumberbatch as the Necromancer. These factors combined to make The Hobbit more enjoyable.
Overall the movie was well done, and if I had not read the book, I would have enjoyed it immensely. However the inconsistencies between the book and the movie put a damper on watching it. I would recommend it to anyone who does not mind changes in the storyline and is up for a good two and a half hour movie. While I don’t have high hopes for the next movies following the storyline, I will look forward to seeing the effects, actors, and scenery. It will be interesting to see how the story will evolve from this interesting beginning.