There and Back Again: Mixed Feelings on the New Hobbit Movie

There and Back Again: Mixed Feelings on the New Hobbit Movie

Simon Stracher , Sports Editor

Bilbo Baggins played a small role in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, setting the story in motion by giving the One Ring to his cousin, Frodo Baggins.

Bilbo, however, will soon get his chance to shine: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” debuts on December 14, 2012. The film – which, like the book, acts as a prequel to “The Lord of The Rings” – will chronicle Bilbo’s quest to win a share of treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo evolves into a mature and capable leader. In the guise of a fantasy epic, this tale is just a classic coming of age story.

After the success of “The Lord of The Rings” franchise – in total, the three movies won 17 Academy Awards, including a record 11 for the Return of The King, and earned nearly three billion dollars at the box office – students are generally excited for the prequel trilogy.

“I read [“The Hobbit”] a few years ago and loved it… I’m psyched for this film,” says Lucas Jackson ’14.

Connor Hardy ’14 adds, “I’m excited to see the story of how Bilbo got the ring and his adventures before Frodo came along.”

The general population seems to be excited as well. According to film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 94 percent of 126,103 users want to see “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.

Like “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit” will be made into three separate movies. However, while “The Lord of the Rings” comprises three separate books, “The Hobbit” is just one. “The Hobbit”–320 pages in the movie tie-in edition–is also shorter than all three “Lord of The Rings “books.

Some students have raised concerns about the screen time devoted to a single book. Because “The Hobbit” contains less source material than “The Lord of The Rings”, “the expansion could drag it out too much and make it boring,” says Hardy. In addition, Hannah Myers ’14 thinks that splitting the book into three movies may make the movies too similar to each other: “I will be bored with six hours of the same story.”

Others are even more critical. “It isn’t worth my time and effort to go and see three movies. I don’t even want to see it on DVD because it’s too damn long,” says Grayson Weir ’14.

He adds, “It will take six hours to see three movies that are based on a book I could read quicker.”

Even with questions about the artistic merit of splitting “The Hobbit” into three individual movies, students are still excited to see if director Peter Jackson can replicate the success of the original trilogy. Says Hardy, “My excitement for this movie is unmatched. I specifically am excited to see what they do with the dragon [Smaug]; dragons are awesome.”

Jackson agrees, saying that “The first movies were so well-written and directed; I can’t wait to see what the director does with this great story.”

It’s uncertain if “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and its sequels will be as financially and critically successful as their predecessor, “The Lord of The Rings”, or whether it will be a box office dud like “Superman III”.

Students’ reactions to the new trilogy are mixed as well. One thing, however, is certain: Everyone will be talking about Bilbo Baggins.