Tag Archives: The Hobbit

Worst ideas of 2012: the rise of the multi-part movie | Xan Brooks | The Guardian


The Hobbit again, and again, the complaint is that it does not stay true to its written original. This aspect of the movie — the expansion of a short novel into a cinematic trilogy — is apparently worthy of a noteworthy mention for the year (in reverse). The expansion and splitting of the original narrative, with some negative effects on the its plot development, is also seen in other movies during the year. For The Hobbit, the expansion does appear to make commercial sense: one gets three times the money if the short novel is cut into three, and played in separate years. This general trend of serializing movies appears to have shifted away the idea of the relative autonomy of a feature film, which unlike television, is not usually serialised.

Something is very wrong when even a slim volume like The Hobbit turns into three films

“If I want to see long-form storytelling played out on a screen, I’ll watch a season of Breaking Bad or Mad Men. If I want to see a stand-alone tale, I’ll go to the cinema – well, I would have until Hollywood started monkeying with the format and stealing from its cousin. The studios have helped make 2012 the season of the season. They’ve abandoned the narrative rule book (three acts, a resolution) in favour of expanding middles and never-ending stories. The entire industry has a problem with closure.

The film franchise is nothing new, but the film franchise that wraps up in instalments, with a final stanza that divides and metastasises, seems a perplexing innovation. It wasn’t enough for the (already interminable) Harry Potter series to end with The Deathly Hallows, or the Twilight saga  to bow out with Breaking Dawn. Both supposed climaxes had to be staggered, paused in the middle, delivered in segments. The Hobbit – that lovely, slender children’s book by JRR Tolkien – is being cranked out into a movie trilogy, while The Hunger Games, conceived as a trilogy, gets beefed up into a quartet.”

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The Hobbit: Narrative Validation or Vandalism? «concluding observations»


☞ Again, adaptation becomes an issue… How close is the film to the original? When should this become an issue? Or, to put it in the terms of this review, when does a film begin to “vandalise” the original?

“What began as a necessary fleshing out of narrative allusions and foreshadowing to effectively translate literature into a movie ended up as Jackson’s sheer invention and gratuitous abuse of the characters, all of whom sword fight more often than Conan the Barbarian and more bloodily than Leonidas. If Thorin had shouted in the midst of battle with the Goblins, “Dwarves! Tonight we dine in Mordor!” no one in the audience would have been the least bit surprised. Zorro and the Three Musketeers had less skill with a blade in hand-to-hand combat than do these Dwarves, Gandalf or at times, Bilbo Baggins.

The only scenes where Jackson manages genuine fidelity to the story are the ones with Gollum, Bilbo and their Riddle-Game – perhaps out of fear of trivializing his previous movies, Tolkien’s actual dialogue and plot enters the script before vanishing again into a Jacksonian cinematic homage to every American action movie ever made. No wonder Christopher Tolkien looks on with weary despair.”

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