I went to see The Hobbit at the cinema yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t exactly going against my will, but it was my wife’s birthday and she really wanted to see it.
Despite being a big fan of all things fantastic, I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve never really been a Tolkien fan. There, I’ve said it even though I know that this is akin to sacrilege in some quarters.
I read The Hobbit when I was younger, but it didn’t really excite me in any way. As a result I never bothered with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or The Silmarillion, or the Unfinished Tales. Strangely enough though, I did read Terry Brooks’ original Shannara trilogy – despite them seeming to be borderline plagiarism of Tolkiens work – and I absolutely loved them. Of course, this was years ago and I don’t know if I’d feel quite the same way about them now.
Peter Jackson has apparently spun the relatively short novel of The Hobbit into three movies, the first of which is nearly three hours long (and felt like it). In fact, at one point, about an hour into the film, I actually nodded off briefly thanks to the endless chatter and slow, steady drip of outlandish exposition.
The last hour or so was much more fun, with huge chase set-pieces and over-the-top special effects that had me ducking my head at several points to avoid the 3D effects flying out of the screen. But thanks to its laboured and tortuous start, Jackson hasn’t made me want to pick up Tolkien again any time soon.
And, if I do go to see the rest of the trilogy, it’s because the wife has dragged me along and not because I’ve chosen to go myself.