I know that everyone is probably sick to death of hearing about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Rest assured! I’m not going to write another review. Ren and Will already did a much better job reviewing it than I could.
I have to say, I’m thankful that I went to see the midnight premiere. I don’t think I could have remained sane in the following days with everyone chattering about it and all the wonderful/horrible/insane things that Peter Jackson did to the story.
I’d diligently followed much of The Hobbit news before the movie came out. I watched Peter Jackson’s behind-the-scenes videos. When the first trailer came out last January, I sat and rewatched it six or seven times in a row, tears in my eyes as I heard the Misty Mountains song that will forever be the essence of The Hobbit to me. I could hardly sit still and couldn’t concentrate on the 13th, because I incredibly nervous.
That’s right, nervous. I’ve known and loved The Hobbit since I was a little kid. My earliest memory of having anything to do with The Hobbit was sitting in a hotel parking lot while my dad checked in and carefully scribbling stick-figure sketches of Fili and Kili. I didn’t read the book until after I’d read The Lord of the Rings at 12, so I know that I had to have seen the Bass/Rankin version of The Hobbit when I was 7 or 8. Obviously, it made a big impression on me, if I was drawing the characters from The Hobbit rather than illustrating the crazy fairytales I was making up at that age.
As the first reviews came trickling out before The Hobbit release, I mostly stayed away from them. Mostly. I couldn’t resist looking up one or two, and I wish I hadn’t.
Every review I read bashed The Hobbit–for not sticking to the story, for the battle scenes, for this and that and the other. It made me cringe and wonder if I should delay seeing it until I could really lower my expectations. The last two times I’d anticipated a movie this much (The Fellowship of the Ring and Prince Caspian) I’d been horribly disappointed.
Of course, I’ve gotten over my disappointment in The Fellowship now, but every time I think of Prince Caspian, I still get a sour taste in my mouth. Hence, my 13th of December spent in anxiety.
I’m not sure what movie those reviewers saw. Yeah, there were a few things that I missed, and yes, the battle scenes seemed a bit chaotic (though I’m not sure how anything with a mob of thirteen dwarves could seem anything BUT chaotic). But I loved the movie and felt that, even with the changes, Peter Jackson kept the spirit of the book, just as he did with The Lord of the Rings.
Which got me to thinking–how would I feel if one of my books was made into a movie, and some things were changed? Not big things (certainly nothing so much as to make a disaster like Eragon or Prince Caspian) but small things. What if someone made a movie of Forged Steel, and Josh MacAllister wasn’t as geeky as I imagined him? What if Eliaster Tyrone didn’t have a veneer of cynical carelessness like he does for the first half of the book?
It wouldn’t be horrible–Josh’s geekiness does fade a little as he becomes more of a warrior, and Eliaster is eventually shown to be passionate in his fight against the Unseelie–but it wouldn’t be the same.
And I don’t think it would change the spirit of the book.
That’s the important part, for me. Small things can be changed, but as long as the intent and spirit of the book is kept in the movie, I will love it. To see a fantasy world laid out on the movie screen–whether it’s one that I’ve grown up with, or one that has been inside my head for years–is as close as I’ll ever get to visiting it. It feeds the little-kid-awe part of me that is one of the reasons I love fantasy in the first place. It reminds me of the first time I picked up The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and how amazed I was at that world.
It seems that I’ve come full circle. 🙂
(And as a quick, final aside note…who else thought Ori was adorable in a little-kid-brother sort of way? I loved how he always seemed to speak up at the wrong time. And he used a slingshot! Bilbo was awesome, and Thorin and Kili had the dark-broody-character-thing down pat, but Ori was just sweet.) ;