I just came back from watching The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey. I saw the film in 2D and was more than satisfied with the graphics. I reread the Hobbit in anticipation of the movie so I could see how faithful the story was. However, I had been following Peter Jackson’s blog on the desire to create a trilogy by adding on more of the story of the Necromancer and Dol Godur. For those that have not read the appendix in the Lord of the Rings, you will learn more about this aspect of the story, just briefly mentioned in the Hobbit. To learn even more, check out the Silmarillion and the Unfinished Tales of Middle Earth.
Where Jackson is taking the story will answer many questions for those who do not know about the full universe of Tolkiens’ creation. There is one scene where Gandalph is reunited with Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond in Rivendell. If all you have ever read is the Hobbit, you will immediately recognize this meeting never took place. There is a scene where Radagast the Brown appears in Dol Godur to witness a surprise. This too is not in the book, but is referenced in other stories and appendices. What makes Jackson an innovative filmmaker is that he can take the slightest narrative and expand it into a visual masterpiece. One scene has our band of adventurers being caught in the middle of a war between rock giants. The reference to the rock giants is in the Hobbit, but just barely.
For people like me who have read and reread Tolkien’s writings, we discover something new almost every time we read them and then wonder what it would look like on the screen. There are always going to be disappointments with the film version. I was slightly disappointed with the meeting with the trolls and the addition to Azog as the chief antagonist to Thorin. I was very pleased with the riddles in the dark scene, it was funny and moving at the same time. You once again have a love / hate relationship with Gollum.
In the end, I came away having a fondness for Bilbo and the Dwarves. This is important to me with any film and it is reinforced with Howard Shore’s new music and retro recall from the Lord of the Rings. You feel as though you never left the series. Bilbo ends the movie with his statement, “Well at least the hardest part of the journey is over.” Oh, the best is yet to come Bilbo and I want to be part of the journey. I will go see the Hobbit again for sure, some movies are much better with the big screen and super sound system. The Hobbit is well worth the two and three quarter hours. You will soon recall why it has been an enduring and endearing fantasy story since 1937. Good job Peter Jackson and crew, but why do you make us wait so long? It is pure agony precious.