The Hobbit: A Very Short Review

By Brenda Clough

Oh bliss, oh joy!  The first chunk of The Hobbit is in the theaters!gandalf2

I saw it shortly after release.  All those reviews complaining of its butt-numbing length, or of excessive detail about the family tree of Thorin Oakenshield?  Perfectly accurate — but you won’t care.  The true Tolkien fan will find it’s just about all catnip, thoroughly enjoyable.  A great deal of stuff that Tolkien just told us about is now on the screen.  Haven’t you always wanted to see Radagast the Brown?

There is a nice balance here between what they included from the books (essentially as much as possible) and the stuff that was invented entire for the movie.  With film, you have to see stuff; atmospheric hinting or vague description will not suffice.  Radagast is a fine example of this; he looks very different from fellow wizards Gandalf and Saruman, as you might expect.  But the movie supplies him with transport which you gotta see to believe — I will not spoil it for you at all.  Now that’s creativity!

And someone, somewhere, has been keeping up on oddball fandom theories over the years.  I squealed with joy, when Saruman, in a barely audible aside, points out that Radagast is unreliable because of an overindulgence in mushrooms.  Deary, deary me, as Esther Friesner would say!

In short, if you enjoyed the first LOTR movies you will just adore this one. In the theater (and this was not one of the first showings) I saw a little girl, dressed as Galadriel, tiara and long flowing white gown all complete.  Her parents, who must have funded this costume, were in jeans.  Fandom has plainly won the cultural wars for this generation.  Let us enjoy our victory!

My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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The Hobbit: A Very Short Review — 5 Comments

  1. I’m going to see it tomorrow, with a couple of neighbors. All 3 of us with our fangirl hats on. I expect I will have much the same enjoyment as you did. For one thing, I don’t expect the movie to be a transcription of the book, but an extended prequel to the film trilogy. Just as every reader has a different internal experience of a fixed text, so any movie rendition of a novel will create its own sensibilities, take on its own life. Since I adored what Jackson did with LotR, I am very much looking forward to returning to his version of Middle Earth.

  2. We saw it Saturday night with the whole family and I sat there wondering what the heck the reviewers who complained about length and pacing were talking about. I lapped it up like custard, like flan, like fine English tea.

    I began to think, as I devoured every detail of every scene, and marveled at how perfectly Hobbitish Martin Freeman was (and how good it was to see Sylvester McCoy/Dr. Who #7 and didn’t Lee Pace make the most beautiful elf ever?), that the reviews told us nothing about the movie or Peter Jackson’s creative prowess and everything about the attention spans of a generation of movie goers who may complain that Die Hard movies are light on action.

    I wonder if some of us have lost the ability to submerge ourselves in a world and simply inhabit it. Was the movie too long? No way. Was it slow? Not to someone who went there to savor every second.

    To be sure it wasn’t the “perfect storm” The Avengers was (and which I was tempted to see again the same night), but a day later, I’m thinking I’m already ready to return to Middle Earth.

  3. It was the Director’s Cut up front, but I’m ready to go see it again. I talked about different things, but I do not think fans will be disappointed. And I think you’re right, Maya — a lot of these people have forgotten how to get into a story and stay awhile!

  4. What really gives all the Tolkien films their sense of place is that New Zealand landscape. You have to admit that Jckson uses it superbly; it’s as much a character as any of the actors. You can really believe that it is Middle Earth. And I forget which reviewer it was, who described Bag End as Downton Abbey in Hobbiton; she wanted to do a full Martha Stewart tour of the place and forget all these dwarves and rings entirely.