The long-awaited Hobbit movie by Peter Jackson finally released
yesterday – at least the first part released.  Jackson has taken one
book by JRR Tolkien and expanded it into a trilogy of three movies.
Some critics quoted Bilbo Baggins that “it is like butter spread over
too much bread.”  The obvious mercantile motive is clear.  The huge
fan base generated by the Lord Of The Rings trilogy could be counted
on to fork over their money for one movie, so why not make them pay
three times?

Jackson defends his triple play by pointing out that Tolkien’s Hobbit,
like the rest of his work, is much deeper than the surface story.  The
Hobbit was, in fact, a series of chapters Tolkien put together as a
children’s story – but it drew on a vast amount of material that he
only briefly touches upon in the book.  Tolkien’s appendices and notes
reveal back stories and subtexts that Jackson wished to bring forward
into the movie.  For example, when the dwarves are trapped in the
Misty Mountains, Tolkien focuses only on Bilbo’s riddle game with
Gollum.  Jackson gives the riddle game full play, but also expands
upon the rescue and escape of the dwarves.

Many of the Lord Of The Rings characters are back – Frodo, Gandalf,
Galadriel, and Elrond.  Orlando Bloom returns as Legolas and why not?
Elves are immortal and he is the son of  Thranduil, king of the
woodland elves who plays a large role in the Hobbit story.  Bag End
and the Shire are back. I visited Hobbiton in New Zealand on a Lord Of
The Rings tour in 2006 when the set was stripped to bare bones.  I
found it heartwarming to see the old sets refurbished and perhaps even
more elaborate.

Elaborate is my main criticism of Jackson’s Hobbit.  He uses too much
elaboration, animation, and artificial scenery.  At times the movie
loses even the imaginary reality of Lord Of The Rings and becomes
almost a Marvel comic.  The dwarves themselves are a case in point.
Gimli in Lord Of The Rings looks and feels and smells like a dwarf.
The characters in Hobbit with their exaggerated hair styles resemble
more the weird monks in The Name Of The Rose.  The Great Goblin who
ruled under the Misty Mountains comes off in Jackson’s movie as a
clown and the whole tree and wolves episode was staged on an
impossible cliff as unreal as it was unnecessary.

Very few people attended the matinee and nobody noticed my pointed elf
ears or Nenya, the ring of adamant.  Still the movie is worth seeing
and I will purchase the extended DVD trilogy when it eventually hits
the market.

Janice Van Cleve is a Tolkien fan who occasionally transforms into
Galadriel.  She has all of Tolkien’s books and has read through them
all numerous times.

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