Dear Mr. Jackson,
Once again, you have made a spectacularly beautiful movie, and I sincerely appreciate your dedication and diligence in bringing one of my favorite stories to the screen*.
I LOVE The Hobbit. I read it for the first time when I was 8, and it is one of the titles I can point to with certainty that made me a voracious reader (and, eventually, a librarian) and helped kindle my obsession with traveling to fictional countries**. I own three copies (one hardbound with the Tolkien illustrations, one leatherbound with a slipcase, and the 1st edition of the annotated version), and I have read it many, many times. In general, I'm happy with your artistic vision; it's not the same as the pictures I've carried in my head for 30+ years, but we all have different imaginations, and I'm fine with that***. I love that you've again used the talents of Alan Lee and, particularly, John Howe, whose depictions of the Shire are some of my favorite literary illustrations ever.
|This is just a tiny part of my Tolkien shelf. Yes, I have an entire shelf.|
While I can't really agree with your decision to make this book into three movies****, I can understand your need to put in as much background as possible, and to not have to leave out any details of the story, the way you were forced to in your previous films. But do each of the three have to be quite so LONG? I'm getting to an age now where sitting still for 3 hours at a time becomes a little rough on the back and knees. I know there are certain scenes you can't speed up too much, like the reading of the moon runes, or the Riddle Scene†, but did the battle in the goblin caves really need to be 15 full minutes long? It makes me a trifle concerned about how long we're going to have to spend with the spiders; I don't like spiders.
Besides, the movie you have made is not The Hobbit. Saruman is not in The Hobbit. Azog is mentioned once, in passing, in The Hobbit. Radagast is just barely in The Hobbit, and there was certainly no sledge drawn by enthusiastic bunnies††. Yes, some of this is hinted at and/or described in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings with regard to The Hobbit's storyline, but they are not necessary to Professor Tolkien's elegant little story. You have made a movie during which the events of The Hobbit take place, but there's WAY too much extra stuff in there. You love Tolkien; so do I. However, I don't understand why you couldn't simply tell the story the way he wrote it, without all the extra historic details and the barely-hinted-at side story about the Necromancer (which is, again, mostly dealt with in the LOTR appendices). Yes, that story will lead us into The Lord of the Rings, but a.) Tolkien didn't really tell us that story in The Hobbit, b.) you've done that material already, and c.) it's not really relevant to the action currently at hand. The Hobbit is good enough to stand on its own.
That said, I still loved this film and I don't want to wait an entire year until the next one. I can't wait to see what you do with the fantastic Stephen Fry, and what Smaug looks like in his entirety, and how Bilbo manages to stuff Bombur into a barrel, and how he thwarts the Sacksville-Bagginses when he gets home. So it's not the movie I would have made, but I do thank you profusely for getting this thing up on the big screen. And when you're all done in 2 or so years, I want you to get cracking on the Silmarillion. If anyone can make that beast interesting, you can.
* If you'd like to redo A Wrinkle in Time so we can all forget about that execrable Disney thing, I will be the happiest girl alive.
** I can't be the only child who spent way too much time checking inside closets and wardrobes just in case, can I?
*** Although I can't completely get behind your depiction of the dwarfs this time. Kili is way too hot to be a dwarf. It's disturbing.
**** Because this book is ~250 pages, and you're spending just as much time on it as you did on all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, which comes in at a whopping 1100 pages. As my dad has pointed out, it's going to take longer to watch your movies than it did to read the book.
† I noticed that you removed at least one riddle. Thank you.
†† OK, I confess: I kind of liked the bunnies.