I was off to the Heights theatre yesterday to see The Hobbit. I grew up reading The Hobbit, so it's one of my favorite books, and I quailed a bit when critics said there were changes. Lots of changes. But I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Here are some quick thoughts, and a spoiler alert, since I enjoy babbling about this sort of thing and only later will go, "Oops, I really should have shut up about that plot twist and all. Sorrrrrryyyyyyy..."
-They definitely cast the right Bilbo Baggins, and it was nice to see a happy Frodo hanging around like a goofy teenager, nibbling things and going off to romp in the daisies. It was a lovely, touching moment.
-The dwarves surprised me, in a good way. I'm used to the dwarves being basically comic in just about everything I've seen them in, but this time they really showed well how huge and intimidating they would be to a Hobbit. They were fierce, and rowdy, and damned if they weren't the handsomest dwarves I've ever seen! And Thorin was intense, and kingly. I think he cribbed some notes from Aragorn somewhere down the line...
-I thought I'd hate the added scenes, because I can be a completely pedantic purist. But I ended up enjoying them more than I thought. Radagast the Brown was funny and sweet, and of course his sledge pulled by hares made me so happy. (Though I have a bone to pick with the CGI people--as a rabbit-pal I noticed the body language wasn't right, and the rabbits didn't move fast enough. But how many CGI people have rabbits in their home?)
-I also loved it that in Rivendell when the Guardians of Middle Earth had their kaffeklatch, Saruman just couldn't stop yakking while Gandalf and Galadriel were busy passing telepathic notes to each other. It was funnier than I'm sure it was meant to be.
-I'm glad they kept the singing in, but there should have been more songs. If you're stretching The Hobbit out to 3 movies, that's enough time for the Goblintown song, and there was none! Humph!
-It's not a Peter Jackson movie without lots and lots and lots and LOTS of running, fighting, dangling over precipices, chopping, slicing, hacking, dodging big rocks, more running, more dodging, and general mayhem. I always like that a lot, but sometimes it gets too much, like in King Kong. This time it wasn't so much it got boring, but it was getting uneasily close...
-I wish they'd stuck to the book more when Thorin's Company ran into the trolls. There were some wonderful lines in that section that we never got to hear, as well as some great bickering. But I think for someone unfamiliar with The Hobbit, it would have been quite funny enough.
-Gollum was appropriately creepy, but we'd already had a chance to get used to him being a gibberwailing thing with his flailing and shrieking...but Bilbo hadn't, yet. He was pretty freaked out in the film, but in the books he was even more unnerved and afraid. I wouldn't have minded seeing more of that.
-And dammit, we never got the Goblin song about "Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees". Double humph. Instead, there was Stumpy the Irritated Orc leering at everybody while there was more dangling over precipices, fighting, yelling, hacking, chopping, running, dodging, and general mayhem. Where's my Goblin songs? I WANT MY GOBLIN SONGS!!
...Sooooo, there you are, a nice spoily list of what I thought of The Hobbit. I think you'll agree it would be vastly improved with Goblin songs, but it's still very seeable. Just don't expect *too* much faithfulness to the book, but if you've seen Lord of the Rings, you're already used to the tweaking.
Anyway, I want the other two movies now...humph humph humph!!