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Thursday, December 13, 2012

New ‘Hobbit’ Movie: More Hollywood Than Tolkien?

Professor Michael Drout. (WBUR/Jesse Costa)

Professor Michael Drout. (WBUR/Jesse Costa)

“The Hobbit” is the fore-runner to Tolkien’s three “Lord of the Rings” books which Jackson turned into the Oscar winning film trilogy. The long-awaited film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” hits theaters this weekend.

It’s the first of three films that director and co-screenwriter Peter Jackson adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s much-loved book “The Hobbit.”

But why make a trilogy out of “The Hobbit?” Wheaton professor and Tolkien scholar Michael Drout tells Robin Young that Jackson not only is bringing the book to screen, but also using source arterial from “The Lord of the Rings.”

“It’s ‘The Hobbit’ plus,” says Drout, “not just back story, but parallel stories and the sort of geopolitical events that were going on.”

But, Drout tells Robin Young, the movie isn’t as good as it could have been, because Jackson and his co-screenwriters stopped trusting Tolkien’s text and the audience.

“And they think ‘no, what this really needs is not a dwarf and a goblin fighting but a 144,000 dwarves and goblins. That’ll make it better.’ And sometimes they lose the tension out of a scene because it’s so elaborated,” says Drout.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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