Why I Am Angry With Peter Jackson
To begin with I would like to state that I was actually originally quite excited about The Hobbit being turned into a movie by Peter Jackson. I greatly enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, even though I had some issues with creativity liberties that Peter Jackson took. I began to become skeptical though when I heard that he was going to make the Hobbit into a trilogy of movies. This decision made little sense to me as a fan. The Hobbit was one book, and it was shorter than any of the Lord of the Rings books. How you could not manage to fit it into one movie was beyond me. As I watched the movies, I ended up realizing several problems about them. The first and foremost seems to be that Peter Jackson has come to think himself a better story teller than Tolkien. This quite frankly is not true. If you have not watched and do not want them to be spoiled, I suggest you quit reading here as there will be spoilers.
Are you a fan of the book?
An Unexpected Beginning
The first problem to rear its ugly head in The Hobbit movies is how it begins. I remember the first time that I read the Hobbit. It was fine experience. One of the points of the beginning is that we are put into the same situation that Bilbo is put into. We have no idea what is going on. A wizard, who is apparently famous in the world of Middle Earth, suddenly shows up at this Hobbit's door, and the next thing you know dwarves are showing up out of nowhere. Bilbo is absolutely clueless, and so is the reader. Peter Jackson, however, thought that we should start the movie with this long annoying narrative about how Smaug attacked The Lonely Mountain and drove the dwarves out. Suddenly, we know exactly what is going on. We know why Gandalf is there. We know why the dwarves are showing. Instead of capturing the feel of that childlike wonder that Tolkien begins with, Peter Jackson decides to do a lot of needless, idiotic exposition at the start of his movie, which bogs us down with more information than we need.
What is up with Radagast?
All right, I do understand the fact that Radagast is supposed to be the nature loving wizard, but that doesn't mean he needs to have bird poop down the side of his face. The brief glimpse that we get of Radagast in the books seems to be of a semi competent animal loving wizards, whose brain is all there. Granted, we don't have much to judge him on besides what Gandalf says and what Saruman says. Saruman does not seem to approve of Radagast. He is undoubtedly not the best of the wizard. That title seems to belong to Gandalf, who actually accomplishes his job. In the books, the wizards or the istari, are maiar, angelic beings, sent by the Valar to help the races of Middle Earth fight Sauron. These are beings of power and majesty. They are sensible individuals. Now, granted, most of them failed in doing their job. Of the five that came over, one turned evil, one became obsessed with nature, two are missing, and one actually seems to have accomplished his task. That said, they are all still maiar. In the movie instead of some great powerful being in Radagast, we get some weird guy in a rabbit draw sleigh with bird poop in his hair. He seems at best to be comedy relieve and at worst just some sad weird, who isn't even really funny.
The Radagast Poll
What was your opinion of Radagast
The Necromancer of Dol Guldur(aka Sauron)
All right, I will admit that the Necromancer of Dol Guldur is mentioned in The Hobbit. He is mentioned quite a few times, if I recall, but I do not recall having Radagast enter Dol Guldur and find a morgul blade. I really don't recall that at all. I also don't recall the great army led by Azog the Defiler(actually in the book it was Azog the Defiler's son) serving the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, or having poison in Morgul poison. I also don't recall Gandalf having a duel with the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. Now, Tolkien is a brilliant author. If we don't think that, then why the hell are we adapting his books. So I am shocked and appalled when Peter Jackson, whose main claim to fame is that he adapted Tolkien's work, somehow comes to think of himself as a better story teller than Tolkien. He never seems to stop and thank that perhaps there was a reason, Tolkien didn't focus much on the Necromancer. Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that Necromancer has nothing really to do with the story. The story of The Hobbit is shockingly about Bilbo the Hobbit. He is the titular character. It is about his adventure, not Gandalf and the rest of the Council of the Wise(Saruman, Elrond, and Galadriel) fighting the Necromancer. Including the Necromancer changes the entire feel of the story. Yes, there is a darkness in evil in The Hobbit, but it has a much lighter more playful tone to it than The Lord of the Rings. Including the Necromancer, to the extent that Peter Jackson does, darkens the tone.
The Desolation of the Hobbit
Now, I come to the second movie The Desolation of Smaug. In all fairness, I was somewhat angry after the first. This movie though made me want to throw something at my TV screen in the first ten minutes. I believe that that is a new record for how quickly a movie had made me angry. What in the first ten minutes could have possibly made me that angry, you ask. Beorn! In the book, Beorn is a skin changer. We don't know where he came from. We don't know exactly what he is. The Silmarillion does give us a possible idea of what he might be though. Furthermore, in the books, he is a loud, boisterous individual. His human and his bear self are also the same self. The bear is no more unpredictable than the human looking guy. In the movies, the bear is unpredictable but the man can be reasoned with. Also Beorn apparently belongs to this whole race of skin changers, which were somehow beaten and enslaved by Azog the Defiler. Considering what we see Beorn do at the end of the book, I really must wonder how the hell Azog the Defiler managed to beat and enslave an entire race of Beorns. He is also quiet, calm, and collected. He seems perhaps even stoic. Now, there are two main issues with this reinvention(it doesn't even deserve to be called an interpretation) of Beorn. First, Middle Earth is full of enigmas. Tolkien was trying to build mythology, and mythology often has enigmas. Enigmas are part of the wonder of it all. Removing the enigma of what exactly Beorn is by creating an entire race of Beorns removes some of the wonder of the story. Second, making Beorn into this stoic tribesman figure removes the fun of the character. It removes the joy, you see in this wild man. In other words, you destroy Beorn.
The Desolation of the Hobbit: Mirkwood and Love
One would have thought that by turning The Hobbit into a trilogy, we might have actually been able to see quite a bit more of the book, but The Desolation of Smaug woefully little from the book. We cut out pretty much all of Mirkwood or changed it into some ridiculous fight scene along the banks of a river. What is more Peter Jackson felt for some reason that what The Hobbit always needed was a love triangle. Ignoring the possible merits of a female character in her own right, Tauriel is pathetic and worthless. She serves no purpose in the story except to heal a dwarf of morgul, who should've never been poisoned with morgul poison. She also seems to be there to create a bit of tension because of the weird love triangle. Apparently, Tauriel and I think that it is Kili start having what seems to be the beginnings of a relationship. Also Legolas and her already have a relationship sort of. Her character serves no useful purpose. She only exists to appease misguided political correctness because we have to have a female in every story.
The next issue with Mirkwood is the entire escape in the barrels. In the book, the dwarves were inside closed barrels, which were brought to Laketown. In the movie, the barrels aren't closed. This leads to the fun orc attack where Kili poisoned while trying to enable their escape. Yet again, I am not positive as to why we need that to happen. Apparently, dragons don't create enough tension. The overall scene was absurd. What was more absurd is the fact that Legolas touch an orc to kill it, or he is perfectly fine with leaving orcs alive behind him so that they can stab him in the back.
The final issue in Mirkwood is that Thranduil is apparently an idiot. O, well orcs from Dol Guldur have invaded our land, but it still isn't our problem. Huh? What? Seriously?
Was Tauriel a useful addition or a waste of space
The Desolation of the Hobbit: The Lonely Mountain
I've decided to skip over Laketown because it was completely idiotic and pointless. I would only point that we apparently had to cut out most of the actual book so that we could do all these pointless side things which have nothing to do with the actual plot. Now, in The Lonely Mountain, we come upon a very weird fight scene, which I still don't get. Not only was it not in the book, it made absolutely no sense. I still don't understand the dwarves' strategy. It seemed that their brilliant plan was to get the forge lit so that they could heat molten metal, which they would then put into the statue mold and drop on Smaug. Why this was not a brilliant plan? Well, apparently dwarves, who do not breathe fire last time I checked, can sail down a river of molten metal on what I believe was a shield without being harmed, but we expect the molten metal to harm a dragon, who breathes fire. Huh? I'm confused. Why would it harm the dragon?
The Hobbit was an excellent. As I said earlier, I can still remember my childlike wonder as I read it, and I still have that wonder as I read it now. I was hoping that The Hobbit movie would capture that wonder, but rather than show respect for the book and for the author, Peter Jackson to make a quick buck. This annoys me to no end. Instead of great movie adaptations of a great book, we got senseless movies. With this installment, the movies have entered the realm of being little more than fanfiction and bad fanfiction at that. In conclusion, people would be far better served by going and reading the original book with all the wonder it contains than watching these movies.