As an avid reader, I believed that no matter how appealing the visual adaptation of a story is, the book is always better than the movie. Fewer exceptions existed and those that did, turned my belief over 360 degrees. Adapted from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books, The Lord of the Rings series became one of the most highly acclaimed, heavily awarded and the highest grossing films of all time. Despite taking more than eight years to complete the series, the films did not (and could not) exhaustively follow the books. But what Director Peter Jackson did do and like none other, was demonstrate how a classic can become larger than life.
Written as a children’s fantasy book, The Hobbit became, though was initially unintended to be the forerunner to The Lord of the Rings series. The Hobbit was primarily the mythical tale of a hobbit’s adventure. It was only in the second edition that Tolkien introduced The One Ring, thereby heralding the LOTR.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first part of the trilogy. The excitement in the Shire for Bilbo Baggins’ birthday party and the living room of Bag End where Bilbo writes his book are reminiscent of The Fellowship of the Ring made twelve years ago, but Peter Jackson makes it seem like it was yesterday. A smooth transition takes us back in time, presenting a much younger Bilbo (Martin Freeman). We revisit Tolkien’s Middle-Earth through the Shire and Rivendell but this picture is reconstructed as we are introduced to another world existing parallely – that of the dwarves.
If you’ve read the book, you already know what happens. But how it unfolds visually, aesthetically and emotionally is what makes watching the film a transcendental experience. If on the other hand, you haven’t, that’s the (only) thing separating you from a fan.
To say that Peter Jackson demonstrates sheer brilliance in direction, is to state the obvious.
There were movies. And then there were The Lord of the Rings.
With The Hobbit, the story continues.