Last month Peter Jackson released, what we can safely assume is, the final installment of his Middle-Earth saga with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these movies, although I probably enjoyed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy a little more than the Hobbit trilogy. I found this a little strange for a few reasons. Growing up, I had read all four books, but The Hobbit was always the more enjoyable adventure. Dragons, lost treasure, wizards; there were things I could relate to, in a fantastic sense. Additionally, I remember the animated Hobbit movie from 1977 so fondly. So it picked at me: why did I enjoy the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy more? In an attempt to understand, I decided to re-read The Hobbit.
I cannot recommend reading this book enough, especially after seeing the movies. There are quite a few differences, which probably help to explain why I enjoyed the book more. While the plot doesn’t change, characters are added and deleted, stories are shortened and elongated and some sub-plots are developed more while others are ignored. The beauty of the Lord of the Rings movies for me was how true it kept to the books. I found myself mesmerized that a director had almost pulled the visuals from my brain and put them on the big screen. However, it seems like Jackson greatly adapted The Hobbit to fit his trilogy model and have the same feel as his previous trio of films. While I still abundantly enjoyed the Hobbit movies, the story lost its purpose in the retelling. The Hobbit is meant to be a prequel, not a stand-alone trilogy. It perfectly sets up the subsequent epic Lord of the Rings series, and I found it to even be a better companion to the films too. Had Tolkien intended for The Hobbit to be a stand-alone trilogy, he would have written three books and not one. Fortunately, the book itself still exists and is easily available from Amazon. It’s even part of the new Kindle Unlimited program. I was able to crank through the book over a slow weekend in what seemed like less time than actually watching all three movies. And if you still have a hankering for a movie version after reading, might I suggest this.
Tailor & Barber