I used to make excuses for the Hobbit movies. I used to say, “If you ignore the book, they’re actually quite decent.” Before that, I used to say “There were things that could have been done better, but they were actually okay.” Heck, leaving the theatre after seeing the third movie, I remember being in tears because poor, poor Tauriel! And poor, poor Legolas!
Now, however, I merely say “Poor, poor book. You were sadly mistreated and mostly ignored. I do apologise.” Now, after my most recent reread of The Hobbit earlier this month, I appreciate even more the brilliance of the book and the lack of coherence in the movies.
But the question is – why are they such bad films? Here are three reasons why I think that the movies messed up.
Number 1 – Lack of Bilbo
When I reread The Hobbit earlier this month, the thing that struck me immediately was the fact that the entire book is from Bilbo Baggins’ perspective. Nothing happens from anyone else’s point of view. For some reason I had forgotten this; yet it is crucial to the book itself.
This is where the Hobbit movies immediately went wrong. All three movies ricochet between point of view to point of view. This not only makes them feel rather disjointed; it also changes the very feel of the movies.
Tolkien knew what he was doing when he wrote the book purely from Bilbo’s perspective. The book was intended to be a children’s tale, and it was written from the point of view of a character who perhaps never fully comprehends the danger that he is in. This ensures that the reader never fully comprehends the danger. Thus, you have a battle in a children’s book that is only really scary when you understand the entire background, something that a child might not.
However, when the point of view was given to characters who understood the danger that they were in, and all the circumstances surrounding it, the atmosphere becomes a lot darker. The movies made the mistake of creating unnecessary side quests, which both distracted from the very title of the franchise – The Hobbit – and made the films more like blockbusters, than a tale which could be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
If The Hobbit films had kept the point of view primarily to Bilbo and eliminated all the randomly-added side quests, then they would have kept a little more of the magic and brilliance of the book itself.
(This is also why I think that the first movie was the best – it focused a lot on Bilbo and less on other random adventures of Gandalf and Thorin!)
Number 2 – reliance on CGI
The Hobbit movies experimented with a lot of cgi which weren’t present in the Lord of the Rings films. The reason why the Hobbit films look and feel so different to The Lord of the Rings (although they were made by the same director) was because of their heavy reliance on CGI.
The Hobbit movies used CGI every scene, and it’s very obvious that it’s CGI. In fact, it’s so obvious that the intentionally awe-inspiring moment of a barrel crushing orcs is instead mildly funny and very very sad!
The Lord of the Rings movies felt like Middle Earth (at least in my opinion 🙂 ). They were raw and gritty, and the lack of CGI made the films feel genuine and real. The Hobbit movies felt so different because the set wasn’t the hills of New Zealand – it was the middle of a green painted warehouse.
Number 3 – what was the script doing??
Peter Jackson himself said that he wasn’t happy with the finished product of The Hobbit. And I think that it’s so easy to blame the script – but I’m going to do it anyway.
The script just wasn’t very good. There were unnecessary parts that should have been cut out, and there were parts not present that should have been. It was just too long, and thin, and stretched – “Like butter spread over too much bread.” 😉
With all this said, there was a huge push from the company to make three movies out of it. It wasn’t primarily Peter Jackson’s fault that the movies turned out to be money-making blockbusters, which really didn’t feel like Middle Earth at all. It’s really sad that such brilliance got turned into such sadness with no plot – but it’s the way of the world, I suppose!
I kind of feel bad for wasting a post on movies which I really don’t like, but at the same time, I had some thoughts that I wanted to get off my brain! 🙂
Do you agree/disagree? Tell me down below!