Against The Hobbit 2: I Prefer My Orcs Be Named Mork and That My Smaug Come From LA


I've got a new column up at It's about parental responsibility and my lack of interest in seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Some snippets:

I will be chaperoning somewhere between one and 100 friends of my 12-year-old son. As dispiriting a prospect as Smaug is on its own, it's coming at the tail end of a year that has already birthed The Lone RangerThe CroodsThe Smurfs 2One Direction: This is UsFree Birds, Thor 2, and a dozen other kid-friendly, parent-annoying movies that adults have blissfully repressed from memory.

I understand that billions— if not trillions—of people love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit both as novels and as movies, and I'm happy to admit that I am the problem here. Yet surely I'm not the only adult American who is sick and tired of living under the reign of terror foisted on us by Tolkein's imagination lo these 40 years after his death. For too much of the 21st century, it seems that the year-end holidays exist only to provide space for yet another family reunion with the Bagginses of The Shire (why won't they ever come to our house?). Director Peter Jackson ruined the holidays in 2001, 2002, and 2003 with his three Lord of the Rings movies and then just last year darkened the season anew with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a three-part sequence.

It's worrisome that Jackson seems bent on making bigger and longer movie franchises out of Tolkein works. Think about it: With Lord of the Rings, Jackson did three movies out of three books. With The Hobbit, he's doing three movies out of one book. May Sauron have mercy on us all if Jackson ever sets his sights on creating a franchise out The Silmarillion, which even most Tolkein enthusiasts grant is unreadable. It seems plausible that The Silmarillion might well comprise two dozen or more installments, thereby ruining Christmas for the rest of most of our lives.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Well, I agree somewhat about the movies, but I love the books.

    If he can get three movies out of The Hobbit, he could probably get fifty out of The Silmarillion.

    1. 150 hours is still less than half the time it me to read the damn thing.

        1. The Twilight movies should have had Gollum, instead of Bella.

    2. I think the Silmarillion has a few good movies in it. And there would really be no reason to do the whole thing as there are a lot of stories that stand on their own. The fall of Gondolin could be pretty good. Or Beren and Luthien. I’d like to see what kind of badass special effects they could come up with for Morgoth.

      1. Sure, stories from the book could be done. Whether they’d be done well is a whole ‘nother question. Thinking Brian Herbert here.

        1. You’re putting the blame in the wrong place. Kevin J Anderson is the man you bring in to destroy a successful series. He did it to the Star Wars universe in the 90s. Anderson is the anti-Sanderson.

          1. There are many roads to hell.

  2. 12 year olds need a chaperone to go to a movie?

    There’s your story. How sad.

    No wonder they grow up to be candy ass progs.

    1. Yeah, but 100 hundred of them? That’s a recipe for some mischief. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that theater.

    2. All 12 year olds grow up to be candy ass progs now? That’s depressing.

      1. Without experiencing the sweet taste of liberty…


    3. When I was 12, my mom would practically burn rubber to get away after she dropped me and my friends off in downtown Burlington (VT).

      1. This is exactly what I do now with my 12s.

      2. Of course, the fact that you lived in Dallas (TX) made your mother’s actions somewhat controversial. ;P

  3. Would you rather have to entertain the kids yourself, Gillespie?

  4. I saw the first part of the Hobbit and was quite disappointed – Jackson & co. just took thee basic story and fucked it up with their new imaginings.

    1. I understand that film versions of books will have to vary in some details to fit the format, but Jackson deletes good material to insert totally new and inferior material.

      Personally, I thought the films declined dramatically in quality after Fellowship of the Ring, which wasn’t too bad. He definitely has done a good job with the look of everything.

      1. Completely agree!

      2. That’s about my assessment of the movies. They look perfect, but the plot changes they made seemed completely unnecessary.
        The think I liked the least was the exposition of the back-story at the beginning of the first movie. A big part of the impact of the way he tells the story is that it starts out with just the Hobbits in their innocent little Shire and no one knows about all the history which is slowly revealed in dialog.

        1. I think the thing that bothered me most, and admittedly it was a minor change, was how they dealt with Faromir (sp?) in the movies. In the books, even after he discovers that Frodo is carrying the ring he doesn’t try to take it from him (IIRC, it’s been a while since I read them).

          Yet in the movie he initially decides to take Frodo, Sam, and Gollum to his father and take the ring to use as a weapon before changing his mind for no apparent reason. He was touched by Sam’s monologue about how there’s still good in the world? Really? The only reason I can think of to do that is just to beat the audience over the heads some more with the “Humans R EVUL power hungry assholes” message. What, you couldn’t let there be at least one other genuinely good man outside of Aragorn and Gandalf in the whole fucking story?

          1. Oh, that and the 25 or so endings. I literally groaned in the theater when Frodo said to Sam “There’s room for a little more,” and the movie kept. going. on. for 15. more. minutes.

            1. Yeah, the Faramir thing was just to add some more conflict to the movie, and if you’re going to have 25 endings, make sure one of them is the Scouring.

              Also, the weepiness was overdone. If you’re doing your job, you can underplay the emotion and people will still feel it if they care about the characters.

              At least on the commentary track, when Frodo goes sailing off, the guy who plays Pippin said “can I have your bike?” when they showed the dying Frodo. That cut through the treacle nicely.

            2. Long ending which had more than enough time to include the actual ending. Which, everything else aside, was a far superior ending to Jackson’s.

              Give him the New Testament, and Jackson would change the ending to Jesus being pardoned at the last second and twenty minutes of him saying good-bye to everyone as he prepares to move to a commune in southern Italy.

          2. This is my primary complaint and since a main cornerstone of the whole trilogy was the dichotomy of man’s nature as represented by Boromir and Faramir Jackson just fucked it all up. I still get pissed thinking about it. I have vented on here about it before.

            1. I hated that part, too. I hurt my eyes rolling them during those scenes.

    2. I tried watching it twice. Fell asleep both times.

    3. I had less problem with the new stuff (since it was mostly plausible “this is a prequel” stuff) than I did with the uneven and wrong tone of the movie.

      The book was largely a romp, with an occasional scary part. Jackson seemed to want to give it the emotional gravitas of the original trilogy (which I thought was overdone).

      1. The book was largely a romp, with an occasional scary part. Jackson seemed to want to give it the emotional gravitas of the original trilogy (which I thought was overdone).

        So much this.

        The Hobbit and LOTR are written at different levels and aimed at different audiences.

        The Hobbit should be fun and not taken seriously. LOTR is much more serious in tone.

  5. You are a complete moron. Apparently you don’t understand / appreciate the genius that is Tolkein. He was a literary savant who created and entire world with its own language and history. He also created an entire genre of literature. Most ‘authors’ would love to have at least one book that people like, imagine how they would feel if their writings weren’t just popular but endured for decades. Considering your magazine included Miley Cyrus in your “Person of the Year” nominations I don’t think you all have any room to talk about quality or wasting peoples time.

    1. I concur. Well said, waffles.

    2. Miley Cyrus is better than Obama. Therefore Reason is better than all other political magazines. Also, you have made me hate waffles with your pathetic trolling. For this, may Melkor torment your pathetic soul for all eternity in the dark abyss where he dwells.

  6. Lighten up, Nick. You sound like the Grinch.

    1. “How the Libertarian Stole Christmas” except in this version Nick never learns the error of his ways.

  7. Whoops was supposed to be a quote. Is there a single thing Nick can post over there than won’t yield comments like above? Tune in next week to find out!

  8. Yet surely I’m not the only adult American who is sick and tired of living under the reign of terror foisted on us by Tolkein’s imagination lo these 40 years after his death.

    I soooooo hate Peter Jackson for totally destroying these books. Now people associate Tolkein with long drawn out action scenes and sappy love stories. Fuck Jackson with a broom stick. I hope he dies in a fire.

    1. sappy love stories


      1. The closest thing to a love story in the books was the bromance between Gimli and Legolas, and to a lesser extent Frodo and Sam. I think it harkens back to the author’s experiences in WWI.

        1. Well, there’s the bit between Faramir and ?owyn, and there’s the off-stage romance between Aragorn and Arwen. And maybe something with Tom and Goldberry.

          1. All of which occupy what, a page?

            1. Yeah. There are a few romances, but he basically just mentions that they happen. Faramir and Eowyn are the closest thing to actual romance, but it’s still just a page or so total.

            2. He wrote the script with two women, and probably with the idea that it might be good to get some women in the theater. He didn’t invent any of the romances.

              Now if he has Bifur and Bofur have a devil’s three-way with a comely elf-wench in the new movies, I’ll grant you that’s a bit much, sarc.

        2. Don’t forget Pippin and Merry and the cleansing of the Shire, which, as is well known by Tolkien scholars, was an elaborate coded description of the bukkake parties Tolkien enjoyed.

          1. Unbelievable Jackson left out the Scouring of the Shire. It’s so critically important to the stories and to Tolkien’s message–there’s evil at home as well as in the trenches.

            1. Once a man’s experienced trench bukkake, he’s never the same again.

              1. Warning – This is a dangerous comment to read while eating anything with a lot of crumbs.

            2. I really can’t see the scouring working on film. It’s problematic in the books since there’s very little dramatic tension after all the hobbits went through to defeat Sauron.

              1. It’s a second finale after a pause. Or a surprise ending. It works in the book and it could work on film.

                1. It’s a second finale after a pause. Or a surprise ending.

                  The long drawn out ending that did make it into the movie was bad enough.

            3. Jeebus, you didn’t think he dragged out the ending enough?

              1. The endings dont even start until after the scouring.

              2. I was rather thinking the real ending in place of the boring and lengthy Jackson ending.

        3. the bromance between … Frodo and Sam

          Which Peter Jackson managed to go full gay (NTTAWWT). Especially at the end of Return when Frodo wakes up and Sam leans around the corner and gives him the gayest look in the history of cinema.

          As Randle puts it in Clerks 2, “That look was so gay. I thought Sam was gonna tell the little hobbits to take a walk so he could saunter over to Frodo and suck his fucking cock. Now *that* would have been an Academy Award worthy ending… And then, right after the Sam/Frodo suckfest, right before the credits roll, Sam fucking flat out bricks in Frodo’s mouth.”

          1. No, this is the gayest look in all of cinema

            1. I stand corrected… And the gayest scene in all of cinema (outside of actual gay pron) would have to be the beach volleyball scene from the same movie.

            2. I can’t see it. Is it Val Kilmer doing the chomping thing?

              1. winner winner chicken dinner

      2. Like the tale of Turin Turambar?

    2. At least he cut out Tom Bombadil and the pages upon pages of singing.

      1. Fuck you.

        Tom rocks.

        1. I’m with you. He’s one of my favorite parts. Shows that there is more depth to the world than just the good/evil fight with the Men and Elves and Sauron and Orcs.

          1. Him putting on the ring and not being affected at all is very cool.

            1. And, of course, there’s the huge question of who exactly Tom is.

            2. Him looking through the ring with one eye was even cooler.

            3. And being able to see other people who wore the ring.

              I’d say that if you think that Bombadil is a pointless character, then you don’t really get the point of the book.

              1. I always thought he was supposed to be the personification of the Universe, which famously doesn’t care about whether we live, die, or what we do in the interim. Note that I didn’t say personification of Nature, which can very much be affected by what we humans do: see, the waste dumps of the Soviet Union, or AGW for those who believe in it. I think the Ents (had to slap myself from typing treants) are the symbol of the latter.

                Not a big fan of the first Hobbit movie. Hopefully this one will be better.

  9. Some excellent butthurt in the comments. And all that needs to be said about Peter Jackson’s abilities is that the managed to make the battle scenes in LOTR boring. Seriously, how is it possible to make a battle boring?

    Haha. There are so many problems with your article (from a writer), but the biggest issues here are a) You are not taking your 12 year old son to a “kiddie” movie, as it is rated PG-13, b) You lumped One Direction and Thor in the same category, and c) The Hobbit is not just based on the Hobbit book itself but pulls ideas and pieces from the Silmarillion as well. An additional plea; (sorry for my overuse of punctuation as I see that the use of one colon puts you over the edge) please stop trying to over-embellish your writing. With a plethora unnecessary adjectives, bad jokes, and a yawn worthy opinion attempted to be jazzed with faulty research, can’t writers just think of the readers once in a while? 😉 Is that too much to ask? (I apologize if this comment offends any other readers, but as this is an opinion piece, Nick is automatically asking for our opinions back).

    1. Seriously, how is it possible to make a battle boring?

      Needz moar Ewoks!

    2. That guy is complaining about someone else’s writing style?

    3. I was really appalled at how bad The Two Towers was, and even more shocked at how people seemed to love it. The book was ninety times better than the dull movie.

      1. I agree, you could watch the other two and not miss The Two Towers at all.

        1. It was definitely the weakest of the three.

      2. The Fellowship of the Ring was decent enough. The other two were so boring that I couldn’t even tell you what happened in them.

        1. That’s my feeling exactly. I figure most of the love the films get comes from people who didn’t read the books or love them so uncritically that anything labeled Tolkien gets love automatically.

          1. I think it is mainly from people who aren’t into the books. The people I know who love the books have the same criticisms of the movies that I do (and you, it seems).

          2. I love the books and I don’t think Jackson made as much of a hash out of them as other book-to-movie adaptations have. If anyone, anywhere picks up LoTR or The Hobbit as a result of seeing the movie I think the world will be a better place.

      3. You’ve got something against shield-surfing elves?

        1. The worst part was making Gimli into comic relief.

          1. On that note, the “count” thing got old quick.

            1. At least that was from the book.

  10. I’ve never seen the LOTR movies, nor do I intend to see the Hobbit. And you guys are saying there are novelizations of the movies too? Sheesh.

  11. I don’t think the Silmarillion was unreadable. I liked it.

    That said, no one should try to make a movie out of it.

    1. Honestly, I enjoyed the Silmarillion a little more than the LOTR. It is just a totally different style and I understand why it may not appeal to everyone, but I thought it was beautiful in its scope and some of the stories were really moving.

  12. Stop whining Gillespi. I had to sit through the first three Twilight films with my wife sans-Rifftrax. Luckily my daughter was old enough by Breaking Wind Part Deux that I was able to bail. So huddle up in the Jacket and pretend to enjoy it?for the children.

    1. At least those had Ashley Greene. Though not having seen them, I don’t know how hot she was in them.

      1. Not nude enough, I mean hot enough, to make up for the vast amount of stupid.

      2. In the first one, throwing a baseball in slow motion, very hot.

  13. “Yet surely I’m not the only adult American who is sick and tired of living under the reign of terror foisted on us by Tolkein’s imagination lo these 40 years after his death.”

    Gee, Mr. Jacket, I’m sorry for stepping on your lawn but before I go do you think I could get my ball back?

    1. Wow, I can’t believe all the kvetching about the series in this.

      My family loves it. Each weekend in the run up to christmas, we put the extended editions on in the background while we do stuff around the house. I usually get a good 2 – 3 hours of watching as I do projects. We did Fellowship of the Tree last weekend, and this weekend on to number two.

      Perhaps it is because I never had much regard for the books- I read them once and it took way too much effort- so I didn’t really go into the movies expecting anything. Like others, I felt Jackson wasn’t great in parts (battles especially) but all together those movies are better than 80% of the movies my kids would otherwise have running in the house.

  14. So huddle up in the Jacket and pretend to enjoy it?for the children.

    Excellent point. Also, tuck a flask of bourbon in the Jacket, and enjoy the film.

  15. I really enjoyed the Silmarillion and it could make for a cool HBO miniseries in the right hands. Those hands are most certainly not Peter Jackson’s. I don’t know why people think he is such a great director or why there is so much love for his LOTR movies. Yes, the sets and backdrops were awesome and there was some good acting (and some not so good), but any number of directors could recreate that with a huge budget, New Zealand, and that cast. Take those things away and the LOTR is little more than some OK but not great battle scenes interspersed with idiotically shot slow motion scenes that bring about as much drama as an elimination scene in any reality TV competition ever.

    1. Personally, I hope someone, years from now, revisits the stories and makes them in a more accurate way. They’re certainly doable on film now, which wasn’t the case decades ago.

      1. 6 movies, just like the 6 books LOTR is divided into.

        6 reasonable length movies even.

        1. There’s always an HBO series. Of course, then there would be gratuitous sex.

          1. Hmm… Emilia Clarke might make a good Galadriel by then.

          2. I think (and I’m pretty sure you’d agree) Doug Kenney’s Bored of the Rings would make a great movie.

            1. Yes, I almost said that above. Absolutely. That and Doon.

    2. The Silmarillion is about as enjoyable as the Bible.

      1. And, like it, there are many parts that can be made into awesome movies, while cutting out the rest.

      2. Overall, I’d say it’s slightly more readable than the Bible. Fewer long lists of names. If the Bible had put all of that stuff in appendices, it would be a lot more readable. I liked it a lot, but I also like reading the Bible just as a work of literature.

        1. The Silmarillion reads a lot like the Old Testament. Parts of the Old Testament, Exodus and Genesis in particular are really classics of Western writing. So I would put that above the Silmarillion.

          But it is certainly better than the obscure books of the OT.

    3. any number of directors could recreate that with a huge budget, New Zealand, and that cast. Take those things away and the LOTR is little more than some OK but not great battle scenes interspersed with idiotically shot slow motion scenes that bring about as much drama as an elimination scene in any reality TV competition ever.

      IOW, take away the few things that make them even the least bit watchable and they would suck. Go figure.

      1. ^^THIS^^

        And getting the right look is no small feat. Jackson deserves a tremendous amount of credit for creating the world the way he did. Those movies are visual masterpieces. It would have been very easy to screw up the looks of those movies. And if they had looked bad or not right, it wouldn’t have mattered if everything else had been perfect.

        1. The movies are by no means perfect and virtually no scholar (amateur or profesional) of the the material would probably consider them anything more than Hollywood drivel.

          That said, I’ve read the series a few times and Silmarillion twice, loved the books, and I really enjoyed the movies. Not perfect, and he did take a lot of dramatic license as all directors do, but I think he successfully captured the feel of Middle-earth and most of the characters. I don’t think Arwen was particulalry well written but I thought Eowyn was excellent. Eomer too.

          The two mediums are so different it is virtually impossible to pull off a completely accurate, literal visual interpretation of 1,000 pages of prose.

          I do think the ending should have included something from the Scouring of the Shire, and I would have liked to see the Barrow Wights as well.

          1. I would not consider them drivel. But I ma not a Tolkien scholar. But they were good.

            What frustrates me the most about the movies is that the worst errors were totally self inflicted. Jackson just couldn’t trust the material and went in and made the changes to the plot and characters people describe above trying to make it “more dramatic”. None of those changes were necessary. The book was plenty dramatic. And whatever the problems associated with filming then, and they are legion, one of the problems wasn’t the lack of dramatic material or the need to insert plot devices for dramatic effect. Yet, Jackson did anyway and that, I think, is his only real sin, albeit a very big one.

            1. I don’t disagree and I would have preferred a more accurate story, but I still enjoyed them immensley despite their faults.

              Before I saw Fellowship I was completely convinced there was no way it could work as a movie. The depth of material is too rich and the subject matter beyond the mainstream. The movies blew me away despite thier imperfections and deviances.

  16. The curmudgeon level here is over 9000. The LoTR movies fucking rocked and the Hobbit movies fucking rock. He could make them into ten 6-hour movies for all I care, as long as they continue to fucking rock. That is all.

    1. Let me guess, you think Bob Evans serves a good omelette.

    2. Did you read the books before watching the movies?

      1. LoTR yes, Hobbit no.

        1. How many times?

            1. Ah. I guess I’m a bit of a dork. I read them for the first time in like sixth grade, and I think I read them once a year or every couple years after that until the movies came out. By then I was in my mid 20s. So I’ve read them at least ten times. There’s so much there that you notice something new with each read. Though I haven’t read them since the movies came out. Once they became mainstream I lost interest.

              1. Sarc is the resident scholar on all things Tolkien here, and I beleive LTC is well versed in the work as well. I’ve only read the LOTR three times and the Silmarillion twice but he is correct, there is a tremendous depth to the work that makes them enjoyable to read several times.

              2. Once they became mainstream I lost interest.

                Would you look at this fucking hipster?

                1. Would you look at this fucking hipster?

                  From Peter Jackson on, any conversation about the subject had to be prefaced with whether or not it was about the movies or the books. That ruined it for me. Oh, and suck it.

    3. Obviously you’re a fan of bunny-sleds.

  17. You forgot to shake your cane and tell Peter Jackson to get off your lawn, Nick.

  18. Wow Nick! You’ve turned into a whiny little pissant. Man up for your son’s sake and quit bitchin here.

  19. I was forced to watch the first LOTR movie as I was trapped in my friend’s apartment in DC after Metro closed for the night and the guest bed was in the living room with the TV. I fucking hated it. It was so. goddamned. slow. And so cliqueish and insidery. My friend had to constantly explain shit from the book to me so I could understand the movie.

    1. That is funny because all of the real Tolkien geeks I know constantly bitch about how dumbed down the movies were and how they were not insidery enough.

      I really feel for Peter Jackson. A director cannot win filming those books. The first movie is a bit slow, but the second one picks up a lot. The second is easily the best of the three I think. And give the first one another try. I found it slow as hell the first time I watched it too. But it has grown on me for some reason over the years.

      1. The second is easily the best of the three I think

        IMO, its the worst of the three.

        1. No accounting for taste. I liked the second one. I thought the combat was well done and the portrayal of Rohan about as good as you could do. My only issue is that they didn’t film the Voice of Sauruman, which is I think the best written chapter in any of the three books.

          1. The “falling off the cliff” scene ruins the movie for me.

            1. That and the silliness in the battle scene.

          2. The voice of Sauron? Cut scene in the 3rd movie. It was done by the guy who played the Helicopter Pilot in Mad Max.

            1. Really? Is it a bonus scene on one of the DVDs? For some reason I never saw it or don’t remember if I did.

            2. No voice of Sauroman. There is this great scene in the second book where Gandolf confront Saurman after the Ents have destroyed everything. It talks about how Sauroman uses the voice of a wizard and how reasonable and enchanting it sounds. It never made the movie as far as I am concerned.

              I know the scene you mean and I have seen it. But that is not what I am talking about.

              1. Ah, right. I remember what you’re talking about. My bad.

              2. I think that scene may have been an early scene in Return of the King. Although IIRC they severely emasculate it. I think Gandalf just tells everyone else not to listen to Saruman’s words without explaining why or something.

                I know there’s a scene in there where Gandalf and company go to Isengard. That’s where they get the Palantir that fucktard Pippin decides to play around with later.

                1. It is far longer and better scene in the extended version and correct, at the beginning of Return of the King, but also not accurate in the end since Saruman ends up impaled on a spikey water wheel.

      2. This version was quite good, except that it only covered half the story and a second part was never made.

        1. By good I mean staying true to the books. The animation was, well, 1978.

      3. A director cannot win filming those books.

        I’m sure he consoles himself with his 8 or 9 figure payday for these films.

      4. If it comes on TV and there’s nothing else on, I may give it another shot. I gave Fight Club a second look and I ended up liking it. After trying Gladiator about 5 times, I’ve pretty much given up on liking it, despite Russell Crowe in chains and armor.

        1. Glad to hear I am not the only one who couldn’t get into Gladiator. I wanted to like it so much. I should have liked it. But I just never found it interesting.

          1. I saw it at The Uptown and walked out on it 20 minutes before the end. When my friend came out of the theater, I said “Let me guess – they both die?”. Obvious ending is obvious.

          2. Me, too. Dragged out much too long and went off the rails. And, of course, it became totally ahistorical.

            That said, parts of it were very good. I especially liked Oliver Reed, though I’ve long been a fan of his.

        2. Jesus I am not even gay and I know he is hot in that movie…what is wrong with you?

          1. He’s hot, but that was not enough to overcome the suck that was the plot and dialogue.

      5. Or, to put it more simply,


  20. Maybe I am just a philistine or just not enough of a fantasy geek to have the proper taste, but I liked the first Hobbit movie. I thought it was pretty well done and pretty entertaining. I liked it better than the last LOR movie, which had me rooting for Mount Doom to kill both Frodo and Gollum by the end of it.

    1. I liked it too, I think the most annoying thing was just that they broke it up into 3 movies. He should have went Gone With the Wind on it and just made an 8 hour movie. That would have been awesome.

    2. A lot of people just can’t let themselves be entertained. Then again, it’s all a matter of taste.

      1. I can, but there are limits. I’d probably have done fine with a reasonable one-film The Hobbit, too.

    3. I liked it too. Books and movies are completely different mediums and don’t always translate well.

    4. Yes! Enough with the bitching about the movie. Martin Freeman’s Bilbo is much better than Elijah Wood’s Frodo. I did like the last LOTR movie, however, just not Frodo.

      1. Frodo = Jar Jar Binks?

  21. I don’t understand the constant bitching about a 250 page book being turned into 9 hours of film. Either the 9 hours of film are well put together and entertaining or they are not. The length of the book is completely irrelevant. Using this logic, a novella that is expanded into a compelling HBO series would be worthless because, you know, the book was only like 40 pages. You want to beat up the films, fine, but the criticism of book length vs. film length is silly.

    1. It isnt about book length…its about adding in outside material to fluff the book up to 3 movie length.

    2. I agree. The Godfather novel was about the length of The Hobbit or probably a bit shorter. I have never heard anyone bitch about it being turned into two three hour movies.

      I think Tolkien fans just like to bitch. I have a friend whose wife says the original three movies were an abortion and a disgrace to the author and the novel. I have my issues with the first three movies. But I think calling them an abortion is a bit over the top. And the novels were basically unfilmable. I think all of these movies have done about as good of a job as you could expect.

      I look at the movies as an excellent intro into the world of Tolkien. Go watch the movies so you understand the basic structure of the plot and then go read the books and appreciate all of the detail and nuances of Tolkien.

      1. Sub-question: Was the 3rd LOTR movie worse than the 3rd Godfather. No, seriously, I couldn’t sit through either.

        1. The third Godfather was much worse. The third LOR had its moments. The big problem with it for me was that Jackson did a terrible job filming Frodo going through Mordor. He should have condensed it and improved the pace. And then of course he changed the plot and had Frodo kicking Sam out, which never happened in the book and was a totally unnecessary plot tweak. For the entire first two movies Jackson did a credible job portraying the burden that comes with being a ring bearer only to totally fuck it up at the end.

          The third Godfather movie is in contrast completely awful. It shouldn’t even be talked about in connection with the first two.

          1. Jackson added a few scenes – Faramir taking the ring is discussed above – to add to the conflict, since “conflict” is Screenwriting 101. I do think that he would have been better off keeping with the book, since there was enough already there.

            1. The other thing I hate about the third movie is how they slander Dethinor. They make him look evil rather than someone who just broke under the strain of the situation.

        2. Godfathers I and II are in my top 5 all-time favorite movies, so I haven’t sullied them by even attempting to watch Godfather III.

          1. good plan. Don’t even bother. The first two are in my opinion the two best American movies ever made.

            1. That’s one of your less controversial opinions, John. Amazing how a lurid pulp novel could be made into such brilliant cinema.

              1. Copola got the essence of the story and why it was important. When you consider all of the bad movies made from great novels, it makes you think that perhaps the best movies come from poor or at best fair novels.

                1. You’re not far wrong with that. Literature and cinema are two different animals.

                  I didn’t mean to slander the book, it’s a great read. But it is lurid pulp. A pulp novel with a strong story and great characters is a much better set up for a good script than literature which plays with concepts and internal emotions.

                  1. Very true BP. The best parts of great novels are often impossible to film. for example, a large part of what makes War and Peace a great novel is Tolstoy’s ideas on fate and history. You can’t put that into a movie. You would end up with a character just having to give a big speech or insert some long winded narration, neither of which work in film. Most great novels are great because of the thoughts and descriptions they contain and virtually none of that translates to film.

        3. Also, if you get a chance, watch The Godfather Saga – it rearranges the whole story in chronological order and adds in a few cut scenes that explain some holes (we see a lot more of Genco Abbandando and Vito’s trip to Sicily, plus a fictional cameo of a young Carmine Coppola, FF Coppola’s father)

          1. I have watched that. I prefer the original two movies as they were.

            If you haven’t read the book, you should. It is a good novel. There are a couple of sub plots that didn’t make the movie. And the book explains the significance of Luca Brazi much more thoroughly.

            1. I liked the cut scenes a lot the one time I saw it – they really brought some things together that were unexplained or vague from the originals.

              1. Vito beating that guy to death with a boar oar was epic.

                1. “boat oar” Of course, are there other kind of oars than the boat variety?

      2. Abortion is over the top.

        For the “requirement” of 3 movies, he did as well with the material of LOTR as he could. The problems are when he changed things to ADD material.

        This was the big problem with the 2nd movie.

        First and third he basically stuck to the books, with some stuff cut out. But what he cut out mattered to. Yeah, I knew Tom Bombadil was going to get cut, I bitch about it, but its mostly a joke. He is important to the world, but doesnt advance the story at all. However, THE SCOURING OF THE SHIRE WAS FUCKING CRITICAL TO THE FUCKING STORY. You cant cut that and claim to have made the Lord of the Rings.

        You made a story about a trip some guys took instead.

        1. I’ve heard that the movie deal didn’t allow him to mine Tolkien’s other work to provide backstory, so he had to make up plausible things to fill in the spaces.

          1. What spaces?

            Use the material in the fucking books. He cut stuff, use that as “filler”.

            I assume the appendices were available to him, since they are a part of LOTR.

            1. He wrote in the whole love story between Liv Tyler and Vigo Mortensen using the Appendixes. So, yes they were available.

              It goes back to Jackson’s biggest sin was not having enough faith in his material. He just couldn’t help but throw in some Hollywood schmaltz because some focus group or suits told him it needed it.


          Forgive my ignorance but why was it critical? The ring and Sauron was already destroyed. It showed Sauruman and Worm Tongue getting theirs. But their end was already sealed in the second book.

          What am I missing that made it critical? I always considered it an interesting coda.

          1. Well for starters you had an idyllic, peaceful anarchic society. Then you had men (under a wizard’s direction) come and institute govt for the poor benighted souls. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they corrupted some of them into being active participants in the whole thing. Saruman had inflicted his revenge on the hobbits for daring to interfere in the affairs of their betters.

            And finally, you have Frodo demonstrating a more sublime understanding of compassion and justice than the allegedly greater being.

      3. FWIW – Shawshank Redemption is a 100 page novella. Is the movie bad because they cleary stretched it?

      4. I look at the movies as an excellent intro into the world of Tolkien.

        Agreed. I watched the movies before I had read the LOTR books. I deliberately waited until after the last movie to read the books so that I wouldn’t be jaded. So for me the movies stood on their own, and after reading the books there were a few things that I feel should have been included in the movies that weren’t (the scouring of the shire at the end for one), but for the most part most of the things that were left out were things that while nice to have, didn’t move the main plot along all that well and would have made the movies drag even more (such as Tom Bombadil).

        I’ll also add that it’s to the movies credit that while reading the books I really couldn’t picure any of the locations or characters as being any different than they were in the movies. IOW, Jackson got the look perfect.

        As far as The Hobbit goes, I tried reading it when I was young but couldn’t get into it. I’ll probably give it another shot once the movies are done.

        1. Most of the time seeing a movie first will ruin a book. With LOR it is just the opposite. The books are so dense that the first time you read them you miss a large part of what is there just trying to follow the plot. If you have seen the movies, you know the plot and can enjoy the other stuff more. I read the books when I found out the movies were coming out figuring it would be like any other book and seeing the movie first would ruin it. I wish I waited to read the books now.

      5. The Godfather book is nearly 500 pages while The Hobbit book is just over 300.

        Is it just me or does 300 pages seem like a magic number for an untested author? Or is it a function of subject matter and or audience?

        1. It is a short 500 pages though. I read the paperback version at the beach one time. I can’t remember the number of pages, but I do remember the print not being small and it being a very quick read.

          I have never read the Hobbit. But, regardless of the pages I think it probably has a lot more material in it than the Godfather.

          1. I haven’t read The Godfather so I can’t say, but having recently re-read The Hobbit the style of prose is much different than LOTR. Seems much more oriented to a younger audience and therefore a bit more shallow. Not saying it lacks depth just doesn’t have the same depth as LOTR.

  22. Grumble grumble grumble grumble.

    1. Whenever Reason puts up a Star Wars or Tolkien post, the board turns into an episode of the Big Bang Theory without the hot chicks.

      1. Well, there is a hot blond here at H&R, but she’s putting up poll results instead of chatting with us.

        1. This is why Virginia Postrel hates you.

          1. I give her lots of reasons. I don’t want to restrict her.

        2. I have to admit I have a thing for both the blonds on that show. Katie Cuoco has for my tastes an absolute perfect athletic body and as far as Melissa Raunch, how can you not like a short girl with a big rack?

  23. Nick, while part of you may feel mandated to watch Legolas, in reality you are choosing to.

  24. I guess The Hobbit is not cool at cocktail parties.

  25. Yeah, now that you have my donation, you start talking shit about hobbits!

  26. The three most influential libertarians works of literature are: Atlas Shrugged, The Gospel according to Mark, and the Lord of the Rings.

    There, I said it.

  27. If I want a hipster douchebag contrarian I would prefer a good writer and one that would go against the flow of internet fanboys. Things that Gillespie is not. How about an article on the glories of Justin Bieber and how John Lennon sucks? That would be actually contrarian and a fuck you to the Baby Boomers.

  28. Also for someone who thinks he is a badass Gillespie sure whines a lot.

    And what is Gillespie’s favorite movie? Is it a boring as shit foreign film or some boring as shit quirky indie movie? In other words what the snobs like?

  29. “It’s worrisome that Jackson seems bent on making bigger and longer movie franchises out of Tolkein works. Think about it: With Lord of the Rings, Jackson did three movies out of three books. With The Hobbit, he’s doing three movies out of one book”

    Yeah that’s stretching it out way too far.

    If I were writing the script, I would shorten it up considerably:

    The dragon would be shot down by a dwarf freedom fighter (dressed like an Afghani mujahideen) using a stinger missle supplied by the CIA.

    After the dragon hit’s the ground, a couple of more dwarfs make sure its’ finished off by shooting it with a few anti-tank rounds from Soviet RPG7’s.

    THE END.

  30. This news add to The Hobbit News Hub ( )
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