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Author Topic: The Hobbit: from Page to Cinema (Spoilers!)  (Read 943 times)

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March 22, 2013, 09:13:25 PM


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The Hobbit
-from Page to Cinema-

Note:  Expect spoilers in this thread!

Here in the DG, we’re getting ready to roll out our next discussion on Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and we'd love to begin by talking about the first of Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films, An Unexpected Journey. 

You may have already seen that Discussion Station has a couple other threads on the Jackson's film:  the Films Forum has this thread which focuses on the movie as cinematic art/entertainment, and this one in the Books Forum has been chatting about the novel's language and narrative voice, as well as book covers.  Here, we propose to discuss both book and movie by looking at the ways in which Jackson has chosen to interpret and adapt the novel so far.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to respond to the questions which interest you, and to bring in your own ideas, comments, and questions.

*The Hobbit was written as a children’s book.  There has been some talk about how An Unexpected Journey is quite violent, and much more in the mode of an action film than a children’s fantasy novel.  How do you feel about this shift in tone? 

*What scene(s) did you find faithful to the book?

*What scenes or conflicts were altered or entirely made up?  Were you satisfied with such scenes/conflicts?  Did they serve a purpose – explanatory, or perhaps artistic?

*To what extent is the movie faithful to Tolkien’s characters?  What are your likes/dislikes in this area?

*What are your thoughts on the visual quality of the film?  Does the film capture the world of the novel the way you pictured it while reading?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 09:28:28 PM by merrythought »

April 02, 2013, 11:25:20 AM
Reply #1

Hermione P

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I like the Good Morning scene (from the book), and Bilbo handing Frodo the "No Admittance Except On Party Business" sign (original scene in the Hobbit) to hang on the gate just after Frodo mentioned about how the other hobbits think that Bilbo is being anti-social. I was already laughing as Bilbo was handing over the sign because I remember from the books and previous trilogy what was on the sign.

On the other hand, as much as I enjoy looking at Kili in the films, I am dreading his romantic subplot (not in the books) in the second movie to be released this December. It might be better than I imagine, but based on the photos released so far, I think the hair/makeup/clothes don't do Evangeline Lilly justice.
April 03, 2013, 11:06:22 AM
Reply #2


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I've read The Hobbit three times, and I dislike it more with each read. It is not a well constructed book, jumping from one scene to another, and so I think Peter Jackson and his team have worked miracles.

The biggest change is the characterisation of Thorin and the dwarves. In the book they are all idiots, constantly needing help. In the film they have personality and, most importantly, the bravery that Gimli came to epitomise.

I didn't think the film was particularly violent. I expect this to pick up though, especially by the time it comes to the Battle of the Five Armies.

And the Riddles in the Dark scene was perfection. The scene where Bilbo withdraws from killing Gollum is beautiful.

The film is a stunning adaptation of a poor book. I cannot wait for December and the Desolation of Smaug.
August 10, 2013, 11:34:17 PM
Reply #3


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I've only just finally watched this movie, and I must say that it has a lot better story and plot, than the one in the book. However, having read the book with you all not so long ago, I must say that the amount of scenes and characterizations(!) that actually do tally with the book are scaringly few! In fact it is altered to a degree where you have no idea what will happen next, despite knowing the story quite well from the book. So far I think it deviates enough for me to be a bit baffled, and we are a LOOONG way off from how the material was treated in the LOTR movies, as far as faithful to the material goes.

I did apreciate the introduction where you see what happened in ancient time in the city long lost, because it brought a much better depth to the story.

As for the scenes with the brown wizard, though, where does that even come from? Is it in one of the appendices somewhere or did the film makers make it up?  :crabbegoyle: I don't recall reading any such thing in either The Hobbit (certainly not), LOTR or The Silmarillion, although that one I read years ago, so I might have forgotten about it.....?

The scene in Rivendell is altered beyond all recognition, this seems to have been rewritten to mirror the scene in LOTR, which I think is a pity. Why not make this encounter more different so you feel it is actually a different (earlier) age, and let it stand on its own merit instead?

I grew very tired of ways by which it is possible for dwarves to slay goblins and how to escape from their caves, long before the scene ended. Really, it wasn't that much variations there! And why exactly did they loose their ponnies? All 15 companions and the horses were saved from the trolls, yet suddenly they are all walking....?

The scene that I liked the most was the eagle scene, that rocked!  ;D

There are very few characters in this adaption that appears according to the book it claims to be "based on", personally I think "reinvented from" fits better... Neither Bilbo, nor any of the 13 dwarves behave like they are "supposed to".
So as far as an adaption from page to screen goes, it seems there aren't many pages in the mix...
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 11:38:22 PM by Evreka »
August 11, 2013, 12:26:39 AM
Reply #4


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I disagree completely, Evreka. At its core, the first film is very faithful to the linear thread of the book. It has been expanded and improved for a cinematic audience.

The destruction of Erebor features in the appendices of The Return of the King, which Jackson, Bowen & Walsh used in addition to the source material from The Hobbit.

The meeting of Gandalf and Bilbo at Bag End is very faithful, down to the conversation. As is the meeting of the dwarves at Bag End.

The troll scene is expanded, and ties up very sweetly with Samwise's comment in The Fellowship of The Ring when the four Hobbits and Aragorn are trying to save Frodo at Trollshaw.

The ponies disappearing is explained by Ori, just before Radagast appears, where he says they have run away because of the Wargs.

Radagast was actually cut from the film version of Fellowship, but he is mentioned in The Hobbit, and The Silmarrilion, as well as the appendices.

The White Council is taken from the appendices. As will what happens in film two with Dol Goldur and the Necromancer.

The Goblin Cave scene was extended because the book follows Bilbo, but a battle was clearly needed in a three hour movie.

I thought the characters were beautifully fleshed out and given substance by Jackson. Balin is the wise counsellor to Thorin. Dwalin is a warrior. Bofur was sympathetic to Bilbo's misgivings. Fili and Kili are young, brave but rather reckless, and that will come into play by film 3. The dwarves in the book have not a single feature to distinguish them.

The Lord of the Rings movies made HUGE changes from the books. Arwen was never dying, there were never Elves at Helms Deep, and Faramir never took Frodo and the ring to Osgiliath for starters. But it worked because a film narrative is visual.

I can't wait to see the naysayers reaction to Tauriel in The Desolation of Smaug. Bring it on! Jackson devotees are ready and waiting!