What prompted me to write this rant was that I went out to go see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
. I am a Tolkienite, in that I grew up
reading these books ever since I discovered them on a dusty bookcase in my basement. After the first three Lord of the Rings
films, I actually
enjoyed them, because they pretty much stuck to the book with a few minor differences (artistic license, right?) - Peter Jackson definitely read the
Now, I come to watching the first Hobbit movie - This one was alright, and I overlooked the fact that they made an orc out to kill Thorin (I mean, the
only time they were being chased was after killing the goblin king - who wouldn't chase them after the people that killed your king?). The second
movie, however is where I draw the line between "artistic license" and "made up". I understand that you need to usually have three things to sell a
fantasy movie to adults:
1. Some kind of hero.
2. Lots of violence.
3. Some kind of romantic element (in this case a love triangle).
Problem is: This is a kids book - the whole story is about a hobbit named Bilbo, who is helping dwarves reclaim a home. There's no romance in the
book, and until the last couple chapters only spiders, goblins, wargs, and one dragon were hurt in the making of the book (a few of the characters die
off at the end). The whole bit with the Necromancer? Mentioned in the appendix of the LOTR set, and is not directly related to the story of the
I understand - the movie producer's goal is to make films that earn the mega-bucks and awards. I also understand that you can be creative. However,
you can only be creative when there are openings to be creative. For example, in the Star Wars franchise, we only know what happened (as movie goers)
in the films 1-6. George Lucas could create several other films because his universe is massive enough to contain areas where we don't know what will
happen. Same goes for movies such as the Wizard of Oz
- this was based off of a book series as well, but there are still openings to create a
side of Oz that we haven't seen before.
And I will say this - not all the films based on books or stories came out badly. For example, I loved The Illusionist
, and thought the movie
was one of the best things I've seen. About a month ago, I discovered the short story that it was based on, and liked the movie form better. Same with
The Princess Bride
- Loved the movie (yes, I'm a guy - I'm allowed to like fantasy romance movies), wasn't so much a fan of the book.
The short, short version of my rant is: If you are going to make a movie, and base it off of a book that existed before you were born and has limited
room for side plots - do it right by using the book as your script.
PS: For those of you that are thinking I'm just writing a movie review because I hated the film, think again. If I had never read the book, this
soon-to-be trilogy was not too bad, as far as films go.
PSS: Bah Humbug (after reading through my post a second time around - those two words describe my tone perfectly. I may rant, but I know when I sound
like a grumpy old man).
edit on 21/12/2013 by fossilera because: misplaced underline