THE HOBBIT; A Pre-Movie(s) Review
'"Balin and Dwalin," they said not daring to be offended, and sat flop on the floor looking rather surprised.' - The Hobbit, Chapter Seven.
J.R.R. Tolkien's tale The Hobbit is beautifully and comically written. Tolkien is a wonderful storyteller that the tale of Bilbo Baggins and Thorin and Company almost demands to be read aloud. In fact, that's precisely what I did. I read The Hobbit out loud, to myself, the entire way through. It had been so long since the first time I read the story that I was able to experience it again as if for the first time. Although, I still remember having nightmares about the darkly magical forest of Mirkwood. Oddly enough, it was the elves that freaked me out more than the spiders. I have actual reasons for this, but I won't get into that here.
The Hobbit is an epic tale of hobbit size. For the page count one wouldn't think that Tolkien would have enough time to get the hobbit, twelve dwarves, and a wizard all the way from the Shire to the Lonely Mountain - and back again. Yet he manages it so well that it surprises you. In this way the book is much like its title character, the hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, who is always being told there's much more to him than his size would suggest.
It's for this, and the following very reason(s) why I now understand how Peter Jackson will have enough to work with to make The Hobbit into a trilogy.
Why The Hobbit has to be a trilogy, despite the small size of the book:
Thirteen dwarves and their character development. It will be interesting to see how the films fill in these characters and make them complete individuals. The book hardly has the time to develop full individual characters for all of Thorin's Company. Obviously Bilbo Baggins had a lot to development, as did Thorin. Balin and Bombur had a bit more. Fili and Kili are mentioned more frequently that the others and so are given a little more development.
The rest of the dwarves, however, (Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Dwalin, Dori, Nori, and Ori) are mentioned by name only a few times and aren't given much attention to specific character quirks. In the book this is understandable enough, because it isn't really the point. But the films couldn't get away with that. And frankly, I'm looking forward to "meeting" all these lovely dwarves! We kinda already know Gandalf and Biblo, to an extent, what with Lord of the Rings and all. Having re-read the book has only fanned the flame of my excitement for the movies.
Also, the book doesn't have much for dialogue, so that already lengthens the content quite a bit. I doubt the films will include all the songs the book does, but all the traveling and those breath-taking New Zealand landscapes will also take more time to see than to read. And we loving film-goers are expecting to be dazzled with the sights and sounds of Middle Earth (again).
Furthermore, Gandalf's whole story of where he was in between his time with Bilbo and the dwarves is explained in one, single sentence at the end of the book. Clearly it would not do to gloss over that entire branch of the story with a single line of dialogue. So now that I've read The Hobbit (again) I completely understand, not only how there can be enough for three films, but that three films is a must. And I am so excited to see these scenes unfold after they've been filtered through Peter Jackson's cinematic mind. It's going to be amazing!
A note of warning! Get concessions when you attend the films! Because the dwarves and Bilbo spend MOST OF THE TIME STARVING. My goodness, reading this book made me hungry - for eggs and bacon, tea and cakes, ale and anything! Just stop talking about how hungry you are, dwarves! I was even tempted to look up the recipe for cram! Oh no. I'm hungry again. May your beards wither!
Okay, no. Sorry. I take that back. May your beards grow ever longer.
So, um, I'm gonna go...eat something...and get on to my next projects. See you at the theaters in December, yeah?!