Tag Archives: Desolation of Smaug

Rewriting Tolkien

I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings because it’s dense, sprawling, and epic. I love it for its fractured but organized structure, its sense of depth and verisimilitude, its melancholy tone, and its sense of loss even in the face of triumph.

I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit because it’s light, focused, and personal. I love it for its simple structure, its immediate sense of childish wonder, its lively tone, and its sense of triumph even in the face of loss.

These are generalizations, of course. The Lord of the Rings is not without its light moments, and The Hobbit is not without depth, but there is no denying that these are two works that, despite some similarties, are inherently and deeply different from each other; different in authorial intent, different in theme, different in characterization, different in mood, different in tone, and different in audience.

I like Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings because, despite several qualms I have with the films, they are largely an attempt to capture the dense, sprawling, epic, melancholy nature of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

I am greatly disappointed in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey because, despite some things that I like about the movie, it is largely an attempt to capture the dense, sprawling, epic, melancholy nature of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

I wouldn’t have even brought this up until seeing all three parts of The Hobbit (as if there could be anything more damning than adapting The Hobbit into three long films), but the trailers for The Desolation of Smaug have clinched it for me. A trailer for The Hobbit where two characters who never appeared in the book (one of whom is fabricated solely for the movie) are focused on as much or more than the title character is all the further evidence I need to know that these movies are not for me.

I had been reading The Hobbit to my five year old daughter. We were about halfway through when An Unexpected Journey was released on DVD. My daughter, being the sweet child she’s sometimes capable of being, excitedly convinced her mother to buy me the movie for Father’s Day. She was so pleased and happy that I agreed to sit down that afternoon to watch the movie with her. About fifteen minutes into the movie she turns to me and says “I thought we were going to watch The Hobbit!” Yeah. That would have been a nice movie to see.

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