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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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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    Peter Jackson has proven he knows how to make a great movie.  Michael Drout may be a scholar of written works, but does he have any experience creating motion pictures?

    • Ex Drout Student

      The point of the article is that it strayed from the written work. So you don’t have to have experience in motion pictures to point out the inconsistencies from the written work to the movie. I realize the point of a movie is to gross as much as possible, but the Tolkien geeks (as Drout unabashedly is) were hoping for a representation of THE HOBBIT (a “written work”), he didn’t trash the movie, he merely pointed out the discrepancies between the book and the movie, which as an english professor he’s entitled to do.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

         He actually criticized the movie by saying it could have been better if it had faithfully followed the book.  I disagree — I enjoyed the movie and found the differences between the book and movie to be very minor.  Peter Jackson obviously knows what he is doing, he created another great Tolkien movie.

  • Andy

    Michael Drout is freaking awesome.  I just finished listening to his brilliant audio course on the Anglo Saxons.  He made reference to his love for Tolkien in that course a few times.  It was great to here him actually get to fully geek out on Lord of the Rings.  Thanks, Here and Now!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M4FG6YM6B6IAWFN4P4PBQLM5GM Juan

    There is so much more Peter Jackson could have done to make “The Hobbit” something closer to the actual books.Bravo,Mr. Drout,for pointing that out.I only wish he had corrected the host on Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum-he did not just “fall into a cave”,he was knocked off Thorin’s back while escaping the goblins.

  • Ts_wickens

    Yet another movie made for the ADHD generation of computer/online game playing zombies.  I watched the movie on Pay per view (I’ve been ill and couldn’t go to the theater).  Within the first few minutes I was thinking what the heck?  Since I’d paid for it I kept watching.  Details were added and changed around to the point where if you try to eventually watch the Hobbit Trilogy and the Lord of the Rings Triology it will not make ANY sense.  It also spoils various dramatic points in the story such as when Thorin re-enters the hall for the first time since the dragon came.  He had been away and did NOT see the destruction etc.  Bilbo and the dwarves being rescued from the Orcs hunting them by elves who supposedly did not know they were there?  The entire series of events with the Orc king and Gollum is a mishmash adding Indiana Jones like escapes cutting for length is one thing but this was just done to appease action freaks.  To be honest at least 25 percent if not 50 percent of the people wanting to see this movie are those over 40 who read the book for the first time long before Jacksons target audience was born.  People who played Dungeons and Dragons in college and other role playing games.  People who learned to use their imagination to create another reality and did not have the option of computers and computer graphics to spoon feed them someone elses visualization.  To be honest people who learned how to think and were regretably ostracized for it.

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