So I want to start off by apologizing for the late blog post. When I first got the idea for “Books on Screen” I didn’t quite realize the amount of research I would need to do in order to get all the information. That being said I have a ton of super interesting information that I can’t wait to share with you. For my first “Books on Screen” I decided to focus on a story that holds a special place in my heart. I first picked up The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien when I was in fifth grade and it has been with me since.
In case you’re not familiar with the story, The Hobbit follows the story of Bilbo Baggins roughly 60 years prior to The Lord of the Rings, as he is taken on an adventure with thirteen dwarves to help them reclaim their home from a dragon named Smaug. Along the way, they encounter many dangers, and we really get to see the beauty of Middle Earth.
Before we dive into the movie, I want to make it clear that I will not be looking at the Peter Jackson Trilogy. While the trilogy is fantastic there are many elements that were pulled from other Tolkien novels that I am not familiar with, and therefore I feel like I can’t fully judge the movie fairly.
Instead, I will be taking a look at the animated movie which was released in 1977 and was produced by the Rankin/Bass production. If that name found familiar to you, they are also the people responsible for the claymation Christmas specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Jack Frost. On top of that, the movie was animated by Topcross, the animation company that would eventually become Studio Ghibli.
But how does the animated movie compare to the book? Well, surprisingly the movie does a good job following the book, and actually specifically does a good job incorporating a lot of the sound from the original book in an interesting way. The characters are spot on both in how they act and how they look. The only big scene that I was sad was cut from the movie was the company staying at Beorn’s house. In fact, the character Beorn was not present in the movie at all.
By itself, the movie is definitely a product of its time. As a televised special the animation can look a little strange at the time, and the lines can be a little corny, but personally I feel that feeling of adventure, and overall is a very enjoyable watch for people who enjoy Tolkien’s work.
Much like the book, this movie holds a special place in my heart. I remember when I first found the VHS at my local library and would constantly check it out to watch it at home since we didn’t have cable at the time. While the movie may not be for everyone I would certainly say to at least give this movie a chance. You might be surprised.
I hope you liked this new series of blog posts. I feel like many books to movie adaptations are often underrated, and I would love to help people be more open to the idea that movies adapted from books can be good. If you like this and want to see more, feel free to let me know in the comments, along with any book to movie adaptations that you think I should check out.
And until then, see you next time!