One of the first computer games I ever played was Melbourne House’s graphical text adventure, The Hobbit, produced for the ZX Spectrum back in the early 1980’s. I hadn’t read Tolkien’s book before I played the game and the result was that I kept getting myself ‘burnt to a crisp by Smaug the Dragon’.
In the intervening years I finally got round to reading The Hobbit and was also hugely impressed by Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Lord of the Rings.
So, it is sad to report that the first part of The Hobbit trilogy was a big let-down. It started very slowly and just did not have anything like the exciting pace of the LOTR movies. I should add that my son thought the movie was ‘awesome’ so it is possible that I have just got grumpier since the last LOTR film came out in 2003.
Am I being a bit unfair as The Hobbit and the LOTR are different books and hence the movies will also be very different? Well, anyway I look at it, there was clearly quite a bit of padding added to Peter Jackson’s first Hobbit film. Not all of it was unwelcome. It was nice to see Elrond, Saruman, Frodo and Galadriel once again even though I can’t recall them featuring in Tolkien’s Hobbit, all the roles being reprised by Hugh Jackman, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood and the stunningly beautiful Cate Blanchett respectively.
But too many of the jokes seemed to fall a little flat and some of the characters including the grey Orc just seemed uninspired and a bit dull. That is a criminal thing to do to such a wonderful book.
Could it be that Peter Jackman and MGM have deliberately stretched out Tolkien’s slim book to three movies in order to maximise box office revenue at the cost of decent storytelling and excitement. I’m afraid that is what I thought last night at the cinema.