If you’re not already in line for it you soon will be – the second Hobbit movie opens in American theaters today. That is, unless you’re among the proud and lonely who loathe and scorn Peter Jackson’s adaptations of Tolkien books and will spend the day with your eyes squeezed shut, a finger stuck in each ear and loudly humming “La-La-La!”
Either way, it’s really not true that you need any help making that ticket-purchasing decision. And yet I enthusiastically recommend you read Mark Lisanti’s silly and quite amusing Grantland column “Should You See It? A Curious Consumer’s Decision-Making Guide to The Desolation of Smaug”, with interrogatories like —
Are you a Tolkien purist?
If you’re the type of person who’s upset that Jackson put Legolas into The Hobbit films for fan service — or if you’re the type of person who’s even aware that Legolas isn’t supposed to be in these films — you are probably going to poop your tunic over how they invented the character of Tauriel for storytelling purposes.
Things become significantly more complicated for Tolkien purists who also happen to occupy the quirky subset of Lost fans who did not find the character of Kate totally off-putting, because Tauriel is, of course, played by Magic Island pariah Evangeline Lilly. Good luck to the unfortunate souls trapped in the intersection of that Venn diagram, wherever you are. Life must be interesting for you.
SKIP IT. Though you HAVE TO ADMIT that Evangeline Lilly was born to PLAY AN ELF who ENRAGES NERDS.
On a serious note — if you come home from the movie in the mood to review it for File 770 please send me what you’ve got!
Mike: The Lisanti column was funny, funny stuff. Thanks!
My Evil Title for this movie is BILBO VS. THE SMAUG MONSTER…
Here’s feedback from a devoted Tolkien fan who manages to balance the opposing points of view —
I’m among the even prouder and lonelier who are intrigued by the idea of combining The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, but aren’t standing in line yet because if it’s going to be made like a miniseries, it should be watched like a miniseries, i.e. all the parts within a reasonable span of time. So no Hobbit movies for me until #3 is about to be released.
Petréa – They’re not combining The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. Jackson doesn’t have any rights to The Silmarillion. About half a dozen characters or plot points in #2 come from The Lord of the Rings or its appendices, and there was one tiny fact in #1 that came from Unfinished Tales, which Jackson also doesn’t have rights to, but that’s it. #2 has nothing from The Hobbit except the setting, most of the characters, and about half of a brief general plot summary, so, unless he changes tack entirely in #3, there’ll be no Silmarillion in it.
Perhaps you mean that the Hobbit movies have more of the feel and style of The Silmarillion, but they don’t. They have the feel and style of Jackson’s own Lord of the Rings movies, which is its own thing and not like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, or Silmarillion.