30 Dec 2012

BOOK TO MOVIE: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure

This review only covers the parts of the book featured in the first movie; a full review of The Hobbit will be posted early 2013.

At first, I found it really difficult to get interested in the book- I will admit that I had previously picked up this book twice over the last two years and was unable to get very far at all, however this time around I was determined to press on in the hopes that I could finish the book before I went to see the movie. Luckily for me, after the first few chapters I found myself actually enjoying the book. The style of narrative intrigued me, while it focuses on Bilbo and his experiences most of the time, there are parts that slip into an unknown narrator voice that teases us with little comments on what is to come- these comments made me anxious to read on so that I could discover exactly what they were referring to. On top of this I quickly learned to love the characters- Bilbo, all the dwarves and even (okay, I lie- especially) Gollum. I know some people may think I’m a fan of The Lord of the Rings or epic fantasy novels, but honestly I have yet to read LotR (though I will in the future) and my experience in epic fantasy novels comprises of 100 odd pages of Game of Thrones- which is why it surprised me that I enjoyed the first third (in relation to the movies) of this novel so much. Even if you think fantasy novels aren’t your thing or whether you detest LotR with all of your might- I suggest giving The Hobbit a go, you might be pleasantly surprised like I was.

The thought of a movie that went for one hundred and sixty-nine minutes had me almost dreading the night and mixed reviews of the movie did not help much either. On one hand friend’s had said the movie was ‘the most boring thing they’d ever seen’ while others were already counting down the days until the nest movie was released- and while I had enjoyed what I’d already read of the book, who do you trust when it comes to movies?

The very start of the movie (as my friend’s agreed later) seemed a bit superfluous- while it was good to have Frodo and older Bilbo interacting and setting the story up to begin, there were parts of that scene that seemed to drag on when the subject was necessarily needed at that part. After this, of course, comes the introduction of the dwarves- possibly one of my favourite scenes in both the book and movie. The atmosphere that was set by the ‘merry gathering’ extended into the audience and the songs and actions of the dwarves had most of the cinema laughing especially with Martin Freeman’s (Bilbo Baggins) expressions.

Moving on to the actual adventure, I adored the stunning shots of ‘Middle Earth’ and even more of ‘Rivendell’ and the mountains and cliffs surrounding it. In fact, I found the entire movie really aesthetically pleasing and the special effects including the goblins, orcs and the creatures were amazing too.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the element of storytelling and flashbacks; I especially enjoyed the story of how the dwarves lost their homes and how that was shown in the movie rather than just told. Finally, I really enjoyed Martin Freeman as Bilbo and was pretty happy with the casting of the dwarves too- for me Martin really bought Bilbo to life and made me adore him even more (I will admit that I am a fan of him as a result BBC’s Sherlock). I can’t wait to see the remaining two films- if they are anything like this one, then I don’t think I’ll be disappointed!

Remember that if you’d like to see a full review of the book to check back early next year!

x Ely