Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Hobbit - Book Review

I'm not terribly sure how to review The Hobbit. It's a book to which I return again and again and know so well, it's hard to read it with a critic's eye - or to want to do so. It's also a book that's so well known (even ahead of the new films) that providing a synopsis seems to be of limited value.

This time through I was struck by two things, though. First I was reminded how much of a book for children it is: something I tend to forget. As narrator, Tolkien makes a number of asides to reader over and above the expository sections. The second thing that struck me this time is where the story hints at it's darker edge.

The first of these things has long been considered a problem in the filming of The Hobbit, particularly in light of the Middle Earth created by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings films. Indeed, the lighter tone of The Hobbit itself is the reason why Jackson decided to make two films and to bring in material from other Tolkien sources.

The second, of course, offers the film-maker the opportunity to mine the story further - and to create a world more in keeping with that of Tolkien's later books. There were a number of occasions where I thought "oh, that could be exploited more in the film" and I look forward to seeing that realised.


1 comment:

Raybeard said...

I've only ever read 'The Hobbit' twice - and the first time was only after I'd read the 'Lord' trilogy at least second time round, and which I've now read at least five time.
Despite all those readings, I've never been really enthusiastic about the works. Moreover, I found 'The Hobbit' rather more difficult to get into than the others.
Not for the first time, Andrew, you are likely to be instrumental in getting me to re-appraise the four novels - so it's high time I re-read them all, in the correct order, but with your admiring opinions in the back of my mind. (Good heavens! I've just checked and found that the last time I got through them was way back in 1998.)
So, after I've got through the canon of Dickens' major novels in this, his anniversary year (5 down, 10 to go!) my next task must be to embark on the Tolkiens once more.