Today Gina and I drove down to Birmingham for dinner and a movie with my family. Katie has been anxiously waiting to see The Hobbit and we made it a family outing of it. We knew we had read enough of the book together to cover what was to be covered in the movie. What surprised me about The Hobbit movie is how much Peter Jackson added to the story. I had been wondering how anyone could take J.R.R. Tolkien's children story and turn it into three installments. Now I know how. Jackson's made lots of stuff up.
Normally, I'd lean toward sticking to the original telling, but the overall movie was well done. Here Jackson attempts to make The Hobbit a bigger story with clearer connection to the rise of Sauron. It's even more of a prequel to The Lord of The Rings story that followed. There are plenty of events that happened in this movie that simply did not transpire in the book. I don't know if Tolkien would've appreciated the continuous string of liberties taken with his creation.
I didn't mind it. I enjoyed the show.
Decades ago I saw Stanley Kubrick's The Shinning before reading the book. It's the movie that got me into reading many of the books of Stephen King. I remember at the time making it a point to not go out directly and read The Shinning. Rather I read The Stand, Salem's Lot, The Dead Zone and Fire Starter before coming back to experience The Shinning. I didn't want to read The Shinning because the movie was still fresh on my mind. I wanted to give it some time before I delved into it. I wanted to enjoy the story fresh. I remember when I finally read the book...I discovered it was NOTHING like the movie.
What I felt about Stanley Kubrick's Shining is that it's a great scary movie. It's a wonderful telling and creepy to the core. I appreciate Kubrick's loose version as much as King's original telling. Both are different but equally artful and thrilling. Both works are classics.
I feel the same way about Peter Jackson's version of The Hobbit. The disclaimer within the credits state that the movie is based on Tolkien's work. You are cheating yourself if you merely watch the movie and not experience the book. I enjoyed Peter Jackson's first installment in spite of all the embellishments. Both are artful and thrilling, but the book is the better ride. If anything, perhaps Jackson's version of Middle-earth will introduce a new audience to the Tolkien's books.