No Darwins have seen The Hobbit yet. There are various reasons for this. One of the main ones is:
But also, although I was mostly a fan of Jackson's LotR movies when they came out (though even then I took exception to moments in FotR such as the deeply silly wizard-break-dancing-fight, Arwen Warrior Princess and The Momentary Possession of Galadriel by the Special Effects Demon) in the years since the sheer visual thrill of seeing Jackson's often stunning visuals on the screen wore off, and I've come to cringe at much of the dialogue and plot/character changes in the LotR movies. While I'm eager to see The Hobbit (and will be starting a lightning re-read of the book with the older kids this weekend in preparation for perhaps taking them to see the movie during the Christmas-thru-New-Years break) one of the things that concerns me is that it sounds like The Hobbit has, to a great extent, been turned into a mini-LotR Jackson style.
This worries me a little as The Hobbit is a rather different book than The Lord of the Rings. In LotR, the War of the Ring is one of the two major plot lines of the book (the other being the related quest to take the ring to Mount Doom.) Thus, while in some ways Jackson sought to make the book more focused on big battle set pieces, the book itself is heavily focused on war and that which surrounds it. The Hobbit, on the other hand, is a journey and adventure story. The dwarves do not set off expecting war, and even at the end they don't really expect it to come upon them in their stand-off over the rights over Smaug's treasure. The Battle of Five Armies comes upon all of the characters (save Gandalf) unawares, and Biblo himself is such a small part of it that we have to hear an account of the battle after the fact since his witness to it is fairly useless in knowing what's going on.
From all I've read and seen, Jackson decides to structure the Hobbit movies much like he did with LotR, starting them off with a historical background section in which we see epic battles that set up the current situation, and creating ongoing rivalries and tensions that make the various events of the story more warlike and build expectation for the final battle. This strikes me as a potential problem in that "journey" is a story worth telling in and of itself, and I think that The Hobbit gains rather from the fact that actual war is something which comes about rather unexpectedly at the end. That, after all, is like life. Rather more so, indeed, than big epic struggles leading up to a final showdown. And while I don't object to the latter, that too is a good story, I do object to the recent tendency to turn every fantasy or historical story possible into a Titanic Showdown Between Sides plotline.
Notes on Tom and Goldberry
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