Well, you’ve made it this far, which is to say you’ve chosen to actually read my defense, so for that, I applaud you!
On my most recent sick day (and by that, of course, I mean like, 3 months ago), I decided to rewatch Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.
I realize you might now be asking, “Why, Emador? Jackson’s Lord of the Rings is so vastly superior in every way, why would you choose to put yourself through that? Better yet, why did you spend money on the Extended Edition Blu-Rays?”
Believe me. I have no illusions about this trilogy and I agree The Hobbit trilogy has its shortcomings; its many, many shortcomings…
There is no good reason on God’s green earth that it should have been a trilogy. I agree. Two movies would have been plenty, or even one very long movie. Had it stayed true to the novel, it would’ve been a delightful movie and would’ve probably rivaled Lord of the Rings in its greatness.
There was so much stuff not even in the book! In The Hobbit, no. However, much of the stuff they added can be found in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings. Because these movies were released after Lord of the Rings, means that they automatically become a collective prequel. That’s just the fact of the matter. Tolkien didn’t write it like that, but because Lord of the Rings was such a huge success as a movie, it needed to contain some context for the beginning of The Lord of the Rings. The writers and director had to connect the dots for the people who never read the books. (As to why there are still people who haven’t read the books, I have no answer.)
Okay, I’ll give you that. But there was still stuff that wasn’t in the LOTR appendices! Yes. I will give you that. The ridiculous subplot with the Pale Orc was uncalled for and unneeded. I have no defense for that.
BUT! There are a handful of things that Peter Jackson did right:
The dwarves. The Hobbit was intended to be a children’s book and when you have 13 dwarves going anywhere, it’s going to be funny. There was enough humor to keep things light without downplaying the danger and high stakes. Unlike in the books, each dwarf had his own personality and character quirks.
Smaug. Beautiful Smaug. They kept most (if not all) of his lines from the book verbatim and Benedict Cumberbatch did an exquisite job.
Bilbo Baggins. Martin Freeman, man. That man did everything right when it came to Bilbo Baggins. A beautiful balance of comic relief and heart-touching moments. His classic “English gentleman” facial expressions and gestures give Bilbo an oddly relatable quality. Polite with a dash of get-the-hell-out-of-my-house and are-you-serious-right-now.
Politely putting his foot down.
That little finger, though…
Little expressions like this tell you so much about the character.
It’s a rock, Bilbo. You don’t shake it.
Yet, amidst all these, you get little touching moments that remind you that he’s just a humble hobbit!
So, for a girl who spent her high school and college years reading, watching, playing, RPing, and writing English papers on The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit gave us a delightful double-dip into Middle-Earth. It will never measure up to or surpass The Lord of the Rings, but…was it meant to?