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News 12-17-12 05:30 PM

A Tolkien nerd's thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
 
Before going forward, an important spoiler warning: this article assumes that you've seen An Unexpected Journey and have read The Hobbit, and takes no pains to avoid spoilers for either. As such, it will spoil not just the movie and the book, but probably also many elements of the next two Hobbit films. If you haven't read the books and want to be surprised by the next two movies, do not pass beyond this point.

I first read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit when I was no more than eight or nine years old.The Lord of the Rings trilogy followed when I wasn't much older than that. I continue to make a point of reading through all of the books (and their appendices, at least the ones that aren't concerned with Elvish grammar) at least once every couple of years or so'even making it through The Silmarillion two or three times. I haven't read every posthumously published scrap about Middle Earth that Tolkien's son has seen fit to compile and publish, but my credibility as a Tolkien nerd should go unquestioned.

Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Social Editor Cesar Torres, Lead Developer Lee Aylward, and I will all be discussing An Unexpected Journey, the first of Peter Jackson's long-awaitedHobbitfilm adaptations,on Friday's upcoming episode of the Ars Technicast. In the meantime, I wanted to really examine the film as it relates toThe Hobbit and also to Jackson'sLord of the Rings films, then distill the many mixed reactions I had during and after the movie into something a bit more coherent. As a fan of both, I've been awaiting An Unexpected Journey with some excitement, but more apprehension: on the one hand, it's a chance to revisit Jackson's lovingly rendered film version of Middle Earth. On the other, a much-criticized decision to make The Hobbit into three movies has only exacerbated fears that it would be a cash grab lacking in the care and craft that went into either the books or the first film trilogy. I ultimately came away disappointed in the movie, but not in the way I thought I would be.


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