An Unexpected Journey

Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's T...
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a couple of days ago. I liked the movie better than I thought I would. The special effects were excellent and the lush New Zealand scenery provided the perfect background for Middle Earth. It was nice to see Ian McKellen, Ian Holm and Christopher Lee reprise their roles as Gandalf, the old Bilbo, and Saruman. Martin Freeman was a perfect fit as the younger Bilbo. Seeing the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum was, by itself, worth the price of admission.

However, I have the same complaint about Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit as I did about his Lord of the Rings, namely Jackson’s propensity to introduce personality conflicts into the story. In An Unexpected Journey, he has Thorin unwilling to seek help from Elrond at Rivendell because of his hatred and distrust of the elves. Gandalf has to trick him into going there. These additional conflicts do not really improve the story and they often lead the characters into acting in ways contrary to their personality as established in the book or movie, or in ways that are just stupid.

One example can be found in The Return of the King. Denethor decides that the Rohirrim are not coming to aid Gondor and refuses to light the signal fires. Gandalf has Pippin light the fires instead. Now Gondor was about to be invaded by the armies of Mordor. Wouldn’t the Steward of Gondor do everything in his power to get as much help as possible? There are other examples but you get the idea.

It was a nice movie to watch, but I have to say that these additions made the experience somewhat irritating.

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