The World’s Biggest Hobbit: Why Peter Jackson Should Not Have Supersized Bilbo

Via: Tuned In

SPOILER ALERT: This post discusses The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in detail. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and are sensitive about such things, don’t read this. I saw The Hobbit with two people, both of whom were me: Tolkien Nut Jim and Movie Fan Jim. Tolkien Nut Jim was utterly jazzed that Peter Jackson was back in Middle-Earth with budget and time to spare. He was tantalyzed by the glimpses of Smaug and his destruction, thrilled to see Wargs realized in their snarling and slavering glory. He could have spent hours lolling around Bag End, Bilbo Baggins’ underground manse, which Jackson visualizes as half rambling estate, half gourmet food boutique. And he almost stood up and cheered when Jackson brought on the wizard Radagast the Brown—Radagast!—a barely-mentioned footnote in Tolkien’s books, whose mystery and vague description tantalized Tolkien Nut Jim the approximately dozen times he read the books in junior high school. Now here was Radagast, given form and a big chunk of screen time, driving a chariot drawn by bunnies and investigating the dealings of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur–another subject mentioned scantly in passing in Tolkien. It took big detours from Bilbo’s story, yes, but Tolkien Nut Jim was glad to chase down those rabbit holes. Movie Fan Jim, not so much. He loved Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy films for their emotional power and the way they distilled a sprawling epic down to size—nine hours, yes, but not a wasted minute—disposing of Bombadils and Scourings of the Shire to serve the needs of the movie. But The Hobbit? This Unexpected Journey was more like the Unending Journey. He couldn’t believe he sat three butt-numbing hours to watch the first third of a relatively short story, padded to bursting with Tolkien ephemera. J.R.R. Tolkien, not exactly known for his terseness, relegated the goblin king Azog and his battle with the dwarves at Moria to an appendix in The Lord of the Rings; now he anchored a whole story arc. There were two freaking prologues: first

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