I liked the LORD OF THE RINGS series, so I wanted to see THE HOBBIT. It's in town on a rare 3rd week of showing, but I guarantee it will be gone this week. So I caught it before it disappeared.
For LOTR, I though Peter Jackson did an amazing job of condensing the books into their essence. He kept the story moving. He made the characters engaging. His special effects augmented the story, not dominated it. He took three long books and made 3 long movies.
THE HOBBIT is not like that.
Jackson took one short book and is making 3 long movies. He padded the beginning of the movie with stuff to tie it to LOTR, including an appearance by Frodo. He padded pretty much every scene with junk not in the books and not really true to the story. Examples:
- In Rivendell, both Galadrial and Sauruman show up. Neither is in the book.
- In Rivendell, the dwarves "escape", and Elrond isn't pleased with them. In the book, Elrond wishes them luck and escorts them away with music.
- Gandalf has a fellow wizard called Radagast show up who rides in a chariot pulled by rabbits. Not in the book. Radagast has a morgul-blade sword. Not in the book. Radagast saw a necromancer in the Greenwood (that has become Mirkwood). Not in the book.
- After leaving Rivendell, they are caught in a storm in the Misty Mountains -- a storm that takes only 3 paragraphs in the book. This is a 10 min scene in the movie where they cling for life on a rock ledge (not in the book) while rock giants fight (in the book, but it doesn't affect them, and its a 3 line throwaway).
- After the storm they hide in a cave, where the floor falls in and they drop on a huge slide to the goblin's dungeons below. Not in the book. In the book, the back of the cave opens and the goblins come in and capture them.
- At Weathertop, it's Gandalf's arrival that causes the trolls to turn to stone at sunrise. In the book, it's Bilbo's wit and skill that trick them into ignoring sunrise. Gandalf isn't even there. It's Bilbo's first demonstration of his true worth to the dwarves and Jackson wrecked it.
- Do all folks who live underground have rickety swinging bridges that fall apart on a moments notice?
- Does no one understand the concept of "railings" on stairs or bridges or platforms on the precipices of 2,000' drops?
- Is there magical some way hobbits/dwarves/orcs/goblins survive 1,000' falls into rocky chasms that would kill everyone else?
- Do all underground caves have natural lighting systems?
- Does every battle scene look like it's designed to become a video game or ride at Disneyland?