My Thoughts on the 'Hobbit' Movies {2.0}

(I would have loved to get this post written and published in time for Tolkien Week, but Life™ Was A Thing™ that week, so here we are.)

Going with Tolkien’s original title, The Hobbit: 12 Dwarves Learning About How Keys Work. | 17 Jokes Only “Lord Of The Rings” Fans Will Get

Here's what happened.

When The Hobbit was coming out in its . . . three . . . installments (*cough*), I was approaching and entering my first years of high school.  I was in an interesting place in that I was trying to discover how to interact with people and express myself, but I was still learning what inhibitions I should have and what inhibitions I shouldn't have, if that makes any sense at all.  I've struggled with certain relational aspects since childhood, and one of the biggest is claiming my own opinions and beliefs without letting others' opposition or difference influence me unduly.  Still working on that, for sure.  I'm getting better, slowly ;) , but it's still a difficulty for me.

So, though this is kind of silly, when I first watched The Hobbit, I assumed my thoughts on the movies were the same as whoever I happened to be discussing them with at that particular moment.  As in, if I was talking often with people who had issues with them, I adopted that mindset.  They were ridiculously overdone and they had a few good points but mainly were pretty mediocre.

But then, later, when I was talking movies and books and things with some newer blogging friends around 2014/2015, those friends often really liked the movies and would point out all the good things about them.  So then I changed my mind again.  This time I really liked the Hobbit movies and they were Masterpieces of Feelsdom and everyone was brilliant.

The first time I watched The Office I thought “Hey, who is this guy? He’s kind of unusual looking. He should be the hobbit if it ever becomes a movie.” Then when it happened I said to my brother “I don’t mean to brag but I made that casting choice in 2005.”

Do you see my problem?

I never actually found out what I, personally, regardless of my friends'/family's opinions, thought. 

Obviously, this is not a big deal.  Knowing one's opinion on Peter Jackson's adaptation of Tolkien's Hobbit is not a vital element of life.  Clearly. :-P  But I'd like to know my opinion on it, you see. 

So, I embarked on a little unexpected journey of my own.  (Heh, heh.)  

Over the past . . . year, maybe? . . . I've re-watched all three films in order to better grasp my feelings on them.  And yes, it was fun; and yes, I'm here to share the results with you.  And yes, it's gonna be a long one.

The Hobbit
Well, shoot.

*tries to gather thoughts*  Hmm, well . . . well.  Where to start?

I think . . . I think . . . that this is my opinion in a nutshell:  I like the Hobbit movies.  Love them, even.  I just don't love everything about them.

I suspect that the easiest way to do this would be to have a section of this post dedicated to the things I don't like about the movies and a section dedicated to the things I do like.  Sound like a plan?  Let's do it.  (I'll go over the cons first and end with the pros because #positivity.)

{What I Dislike}

+ The length.  This adaptation is too long.  A cinematic version of The Hobbit should only need one ⎼ maybe two ⎼ feature-length installments.  And if Jackson had just stuck a little more closely to the source material, a good two-thirds of his footage would be non-existent.

Which, in my personal opinion, could have greatly benefited the story.  I do appreciate the tie-ins to The Lord of the Rings at the very end ⎼ and I think it was a good way to open the first film, too ⎼ but I don't think that following Gandalf on his sabbaticals from the Company was a good decision.  The scenes when the four Maiar (are Galadriel and Elrond Maiar??  no, wait, they're Noldor . . . ?? idk #silmarillionstruggles) are battling the dark forces in Dol Goldur are cool, and I like seeing them.  Nonetheless, I think it would have been better to exclude them, since there was no plausible way to incorporate them into the storyline without the hours of lead-up and explanation that went before and clogged the trilogy as a whole.

And that's just one example.  We didn't need to see the "backstory" of Thorin's and Gandalf's first meeting at The Prancing Pony just to reference that previously known location.  We didn't need to spend so much screen time on Alfrid; there are other sources of comic relief.  We didn't need to see what was going on in Dol Goldur so many times simply to grasp the fact that Azog the Defiler™ is our villain.  You catch my drift?

Too much, my precious.  Too much.

+ The tone.  Jackson clearly endeavored to glean a heroic, epic quest from The Hobbit, as he gleaned a heroic, epic quest from The Lord of the Rings.  The problem is that The Hobbit is intrinsically and fundamentally different from The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a children's story.  For wee ones.  Munchkins.  And it's a fantastic story, and a fantastic book.  But, again, it's a children's story.  That doesn't mean it doesn't have value for adults; that doesn't mean its virtues are in any way restricted.  What it does mean is that the way it's structured and presented has some necessarily specific characteristics.  What it does mean is that however dark or weighty its themes are, they are always packaged in an age-appropriate way.

The Spiders of ‘The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug’ -

The Hobbit is not an epic.  The Hobbit is not a tale of heroism.  (At least, not in the same way as The Lord of the Rings.)  The Hobbit is a great and worthwhile story, but the quest at its center is not one that takes place on the world stage.  It's about a group of dwarves who want to reclaim a (non-vital) ancestral homeland and the ancestral treasure to be found therein.  Admirable?  Sure.  Heroic?  Nope.

+ Gandalf + Galadriel as . . . a thing?!?  Aw, heck no.

Look, maybe Peter Jackson didn't intend to insinuate any sort of "romantical flutterings" between these two.  Maybe he intended to express what a deep and special friendship they have and he just went a little wrong.

onewhohasseentheeye:  Lady Galadriel, daughter of Finarfin, of the royal house of Finwë - questioning her life choices, probably

But he should have known better.  There are certain tacks that you do not try if your goal is to convey platonic love.

Lines were crossed, my friends.  They were crossed and they were Keenly Felt.

+ Certain characters. 

*takes deep breath*  *claps hands together*

The Erebor dwarves and the Mirkwood elves are the Downton Abbey of Middle-earth.

Image result for why would you say something so controversial yet so brave gif

By that I mean that, while they have good (even great) points and can make me feel all sorts of things for them, they also drive me up the freaking wall with their relentless pettiness and narcissism.  

(And, look, I don't want to get into all my Thoughts & Opinions on Downton Abbey.   I ain't trying to make Statements over here.  I don't want to hate on that show or invalidate all the things I do like about it.  I'm just bringing it up because it's a useful parallel.)

I understand that there are historical reasons for the "concerns" of the characters in DA; and I understand that there are historical reasons for the animosity between dwarves and elves in TH.  But, for me, both shows strain credulity a bit and just go excessive on it all.

hobbit + text post

Thranduil, for example.  Thranduil is an Isolationist Jerk and I am Not About Him.  (Does he come around by the end?  Sure, sorta. So he's not the worst person in the world, but he's certainly not a great one, either.)  And, between him and Thorin, I'd pick Thorin.  But Thorin infuriates me too.  I understand that succumbing to the "gold sickness" was (more or less) involuntary, but the actions that led up to it were certainly not.  And even though that's kind of the point ⎼ Thorin is supposed to worry and anger you at times ⎼ I just . . . *sighs*  I don't know.  It's hard to express exactly how I feel about him.  I do really love him, but he also drives me nuts.

Additionally, there's the fact that Legolas is in the movies.  While I like some of his parts, I think it's odd that his inclusion in the trilogy seems even more forced than Tauriel's, especially given that he's actually a canonical character (albeit not in The Hobbit itself).

Hobbit, dwarves
k but also for people who are All in a Dither about other folks not respecting their 
own home . . . the dwarves need a little dose of self-awareness, is all I'm sayin'.

+ Various little things.  Like the over-abundance of slow motion.  (Something that even the Lord of the Rings movies could have done with a tad less of.)  Like the u n e n d i n g battle sequences that got very stale very quickly.  Like, once again, the over-emphasis placed on the orcs/goblins/"villains".  Like the fact that CGI was so heavily relied upon that the "uncanny valley" is offensively obvious. 

{What I Like}

+ The cast.  This cast is perfect.  That is all.  Martin Freeman's performance, especially, is flawless.  Oscar-worthy, even, I'd contend.  He gave me a new, stronger, and much deeper appreciation for the character of Bilbo.  (More on him presently.)

Sir Ian McKellen argues that today's young actors will never develop into fine   middle-aged performers because they have not honed their talents in   repertory theatre.

Richard Armitage embodies Thorin and makes him mind-numbingly stoic and movingly vulnerable all at once.  Sir Ian McKellen really is like a very old friend.  The Company are all excellent.

I love them.  (And then I despise them sometimes, too.  But the love wins out overall.)  *huggles them*

+ Tauriel/Tauriel + Kili.  I actually do like Tauriel.  Her presence is totally apocryphal, and, I suspect, is due to some Very Shady Motives that will irritate me if I think about them for too long; but she herself, as a character, is pretty cool and certainly contributes her fair share to the films.

That moment when I realized.. I wanted to punch Legolas... even though I don't care for Tauriel either.   Tauriel & Legolas - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

She's more than just a pretty face and more than just a "strong female character" cliché.  She's brave, competent, open-minded, compassionate, and true.  (Even if she was inserted just to give the story an extraneous spark of romance or conflict, as I'm half-afraid she may have been.)

And I actually also like her relationship with Kili.  Even though it was an unusual premise, it wasn't that far-fetched; and I was pleased to find, this time around, that it flowed fairly organically.  I think that's because I was expecting and prepared for it during the re-watch, whereas it was a little jarring the first time.  

Tauriel & Kili

I do think that certain things could have been done differently/better ⎼ the whole "Because it was real" exchange at the end feels pretty contrived and cheesy to me ⎼ but taken on its own, the romance actually has a lot of potential.  Granted, they really don't get the chance to have much meaningful exposition, so it's a bit of a stretch to say that they're really, truly in love by the end; but, again, the potential is there and reasonably believable.  In my opinion.  And I like them, at any rate.

+ Certain other characters.  Like Bard.  Bard is fantastic.  Just leaving that here.  (Who didn't Feel Things at the "You look at me" line??  Much emotion.)


And Galadriel, and Elrond, and Gandalf, and Balin, and Gollum.  

Smaug was excellently adapted, too.  I am actually impressed by the fact that Jackson didn't oversell either Smaug's or Gollum's parts.  (Now, if he was going to oversell anything, I'd rather it'd have been one of those two than Azog or Thorin or Thranduil, as was actually done; but we can't have everything.)  Their amount of screen time seems right, if a little on the brief side.  Smaug was especially impressive, I think.

Cogito, ergo sum

He's well-animated, and Benedict Cumberbatch's vocal performance combined with those special effects makes him easy and entertaining to watch.  And I like that any "scariness" is pretty well-concealed, only revealing itself very subtly and very suddenly at certain choice moments. 

And then, of course, there's Bilbo.  Dear, precious, wonderful Bilbo.  I love Bilbo in this iteration.  He's hilarious, of course; but Freeman also managed to bring out such quiet strength and depth and steadfastness.  He's innocent, as a hobbit; but there's experience and almost an undercurrent of sadness there, too.  As a resourceful burglar, as a loyal and forgiving friend, and as a cranky homebody, I love Bilbo Baggins.  He, at the very least, is a hero without question, whatever the other characters may be. 

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. #thehobbit

+ The music.  I like that this saga was given its own score.  Mimicking The Lord of the Rings note for note wouldn't have felt right, and neither would never acknowledging it at all.  So I think it's great that the same general feel was conveyed in The Hobbit's soundtrack, while still creating an entirely new model.  And in utilizing some of the original music's most well-known and well-beloved motifs when and how he did, Jackson really delivered for the fans.  I will never not be emotional when that one particular melody plays, and I appreciate that it was honored in these films.

(Plus, the dwarves singing "Misty Mountains".  Ahem.)


The road is now calling and I must away #lotr

+ The feels.  Because feels there are, in abundance.  I don't actually want to talk about all of them because #Emotions (plus I really want to finish this post already), but I just have to say: Thorin's death scene is a cinematic masterpiece.  Freeman and Armitage really bring it in that sequence and it Evokes Feelings.  (Although, was it really necessary to change the wording of that "If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" line?  I feel like that's a pretty easy line to deliver just as it is, and it would have been better that way.  Sigh.)

Really, though.  That scene.  You can really see Thorin's remorse for his misconduct, and you can really see that Bilbo doesn't give a rip about any of it.  Many feelsy lines.  Much emotion, yet again. :-P

*cries louder*

Oh, and then afterwards, when Gandalf comes to find Bilbo and they just sit wordlessly together with the sun rising at their backs and Gandalf snuffling busily and tamping down his pipe tobacco . . . genius.  Beautiful. 

+ The aesthetic.  When it comes down to it, whatever I don't like about the movies, in the end they deliver on the things that are most important to me.  They still take me back to Middle-earth, which is something for which I'll always be thankful.  They still give me punishingly flawed but ultimately lovable characters.  They still give me greeny-gold Shire dells and craggy blue mountains and healing sunrises and friendship forged in difficulty and out of animosity.  They still give me spent warriors rallying to give their all.  They still give me crochety wizard smiles.  They still give me the dignity of quiet country hobbits.  They still give me music that shifts my soul. 

For that, however many face-palms or groans or gripes they elicit in the process, I love them. ♥

What do you think of the Hobbit movies?


  1. I totally understand about liking or disliking it depending on what other people think! Then for a time I just didn't like anything, now I've kind of mellowed out. :)

    I've only seen the third one (why? that is a very good question), and I hadn't read the book at the time, so there was much confusion. I have grown to like Tauriel more than at first. I like that they added a female character (because it seems like Tolkien always forgot that that is an option. One of his downfalls.), but I don't like that they added a romance where there wasn't one. Oh well.

    I mightly enjoyed your thoughts! :D

    1. It's a struggle, no?

      Haha, that WOULD be a confusing experience. Yeah, that's a fair point. I feel like the inclusion of Tauriel/the romance wasn't the BEST idea, but it wasn't an absolutely appalling one either.

      Thanks! :)

  2. I love these movies! I read the book prior to the release and I thought they did the book justice. Thor In was just incredible even though his character deviated from the book. It was good to see a hero that could be so tragically flawed and broken and yet still have the nobility of a true hero.

  3. This post gave me a lot of feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeels. <3

    Because my brother and I grew up reading The Hobbit together; and even though I didn't LOVE the story, thinking about the characters still gives me a lot of emotions. I am glad that Bilbo and Thorin got cast so perfectly & epically, and that these movies exist for us. :D

    I haven't seen the films in full but I really like the IDEA of Kili & Tauriel . . . ? *muses*

    "There are certain tacks that you do not try if your goal is to convey platonic love." *facepalms* SO TRUE, MATE, SO TRUE.

    "The Last Goodbye" is a thing of beauty and a joy forever and That is all. xD

    1. Also, I completely know what you mean about being younger and not knowing what your true opinions on things were: I think I had the opposite problem, of "charging hard" AGAINST the general consensus of whatever people I was hanging out with [heh *nervous eye roll* xD]. But it had the same overall effect, of needing to come to maturity before I could understand what I truly felt, MYSELF.

      Proud of you, luv. <3

    2. Ahhhhh, I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Isn't it funny how often we talk about (and enjoy talking about) Tolkien even though we approach him so differently? I love it. :D

      Yeah, I don't know what you'd think of Kili + Tauriel . . . I feel like you probably wouldn't feel terribly strongly about them either way, but that you'd like them? I don't knkow.

      FOR REAL.

      Yes and amen. <3

      Awwww, thank you! Yes, 'tis a journey, that's for sure.

  4. Okay, wow, I never once thought they were insinuating that Gandalf and Galadriel were a "thing". I think it just shows that they cared deeply about each other (in a platonic way) and knew the heavy burdens they each bore.

    I love the Hobbit movies. But there are things about them that I do not like, such as the excessive bad manners of the Dwarves at the beginning of the 1st movie, LEGOLAS (ugghhhh the literal worst worst part... it's so forced and exaggerated!!).

    But I LOVE the addition of Dol Guldor. LOOOVVVEEE it. And Richard Armitage as Thorin?? My absolute favorite part. He portrayed the character so well that even though Thorin is very flawed, and often unlovable, I love him anyway. He has a lot of good qualities. I cry harder at Thorin's death scene than I do at the Grey Havens scene, and that's saying something! </3

    Another thing I don't like about the Hobbit movies, is that they don't have the same feel and atmosphere that the LOTR movies have. I don't know exactly what it is, but there's something tangible that is lacking in the Hobbit movies. Possibly due in part to all the CGI Orcs??? I very much dislike how unreal the Orcs look. In LOTR the Orcs look REAL, not computer generated. :(

    Oh and the very ending of BOTFA that ties in with LOTR is so full of feels!!

    Rant over.

    Good post, Olivia! :)

    1. Hopefully they WEREN'T trying to?? I just personally think that IF they weren't (and they shouldn't have been), then they should have done certain things differently. :-P

      Hehe, yeahhhhh . . . the dwarves Irk Me. Legolas is fine, for me, but it definitely felt pretty contrived.

      That IS saying something! But I feel you. It's Emotional. :'(

      I know what you mean. I think that also, in general, the natural aesthetic is very different? LotR feels like spring and summer to me, where TH is heavily autumnal. *shrugs* But that's just me. (Ugh, and yes, the CGI is very annoying. :-/)


      Thanks! :D

  5. And BARD! I love Bard. His character was fleshed-out very nicely.

  6. I agree on your likes!! The casting (especially Bilbo and Thorin), Bard and the scenes with Smaug were my favourite. All perfect. Everything else... I just think they should have made two films (max) focused on Bilbo and the plot that's actually in the books, and not tried so hard to turn it into LOTR. The Hobbit films just make me angry to be honest, because what they did well, they did SO well. But overall for me, they were a mess. And yeah, the Gandalf and Galadriel thing was bizarre.

    1. OKAY BUT I FEEL THAT. Because, though I love them OVERALL, there are moments where they make me want to tear my hair out. And it's because, like you said, what they do right they do SO VERY right; but then, what they do wrong they do SO VERY wrong. Urgh.

      Right??! What was up with that?

  7. That's so weird that you mimic whatever opinion you're hearing at the time with these movies, because I do the same thing! One minute they're great, then someone says they're bad, and I find myself agreeing. I've been doing the same thing with Rose in the Star Wars sequels, I wish I could just like or dislike things without being swayed so easily!

    I guess I like them, but they seemed to be made for fangirls. Not fans including girls. Not even only girls that are fans. Fangirls. I use that word in all of its stereotypicalness, Kili, Fili, Thranduil, all seem like they're supposed to be "hot", some aspects of their personalities feel like they're put there to make girls giddy. I hateeee Thranduil in the movies because it feels like he's supposed to be the "bad but pretty boy" the average fangirl loves??? But he's old??? With an adult kid???? I honestly can't explain what I mean, I just hate it when guys are marketed towards young girls, almost more than when young girls are only added for guys to watch. You like in Hallmark movies where the guy with a Reasonably Symmetrical Face and Good Fashion is seen as the epitome of prince charming, and having a Sad Secret makes him even more attractive? That's what it feels like Thranduil is, he's "good looking" (i guess?), he flips his cape a lot, and his wife is dead so he's Sad. It's just boring.
    I hope you know what I mean, this was kind of a long and pointless comment! I'm not even gonna bother editing 😂.

    1. I should have edited, because I meant "you know like", not "you like"

    2. You do?? Oh, good; it's nice to hear I'm not alone in that. :-P OKAY BUT YES ABOUT THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIES. I go back and forth on those, too, depending on whose opinion I'm hearing more of at the time. Sigh. We'll get there. :)

      That's a really interesting perspective. I hadn't thought of it that way, and I don't think I really get that vibe for the ENTIRETY of the trilogy, but I definitely see what you mean with certain parts. It seems like Jackson wasn't trusting that the fans wouldn't support the story as it's written in the books, and that he NEEDED to insert all these tie-ins to the LOTR movies. (Even though most of those were done well.) And yes, I know what you mean about trying to make the dwarves "hot". Sigh 2nd. I don't know.

      "That's what it feels like Thranduil is, he's "good looking" (i guess?), he flips his cape a lot, and his wife is dead so he's Sad. It's just boring." << GIRL YES. XD XD XD That is fantastic, and basically my exact thought process about Thranduil's supposed appeal. (He just doesn't appeal to me, personally.)

      I know exactly what you mean, and I love your comment. :D I will say, I don't hate the whole "inserting Hot Guys to Get Girls" thing MORE than I hate the whole "inserting Hot Girls to Get Guys" thing; they're about equally frustrating. Gross. :-P

  8. I watched all three in theaters as it came out, and on the third one, when The Last Goodbye started played, I sobbed by heart out. I can objectively agree with all the flaws you stated, but...dang, I love those characters so much. THAT SONG GETS ME EVERY TIME I HEAR IT.

    1. Same here! I mean, I don't know if I actually cried in the theater, but I was FEELING SOME EMOTIONS when the song started playing. IT WAS EMOTIONAL.

  9. My friends mostly hate this trilogy, but I like it. Is it too long? Yes. Are some of PJ's decisions stupid? Yes. I don't have the vitriolic loathing for Tauriel and Kili that a lot of people do, but they aren't my favorite. I personally loved expanding the role of the elves, showing more of Thranduil (mostly because Lee Pace kills it, and is drop dead gorgeous as a haughty elf), bringing in Galadriel, and showing them rescuing Gandalf. I loved the foreshadowing, but I would have cut back on the battle scenes in the last film, left Tauriel out, and shortened some other scenes. The films do feel incredibly long in their extended versions, which shouldn't be happening.

    On a related topic, habitually reflecting the opinions of loved ones and friends while around them is a character trait of the Enneagram 9, if you care to look it up. ;)

    1. I agree about them bringing in Galadriel -- I like it, but I think it went a little too far. Maybe if he'd cut out some other things I wouldn't have minded? Who knows.

      The battle scenes could DEFINITELY stand to be cut back. Rather a lot. :-P

      Ohhhh, boy . . . me and the Enneagram . . . hehe. We've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'm probably either a 1 or a 6. The problem is that there are Extenuating Factors that make it difficult to tell with certainty, plus the fact that, if I'm being honest, I don't actually like the Enneagram model very well? *ducks*

  10. I found this very interesting to read, Olivia!!

    Also I can definitely relate to changing my opinions to the people's around me. I was like that for most of my life (not even with movies - with MANY things!) and I still struggle with that a little, too. But I'm a bit more opinionated now, haha. ;) (I think it's because I grew up not realizing that I could choose or think of something differently to my family, and I didn't want to bring up any conflict or have people judge or think less of me for disagreeing with them. So I just went along and pretended that I liked or disliked everything that they did, even when I later realized... I didn't.)

    I agree - I DO like the Hobbit films. I don't love them like I do the LOTR films (they're on a WHOOOOLE other level!) but I appreciate them, nonetheless. For me, the pros outweigh the cons. And Martin Freeman just wins me over EVERY. TIME. (Oh, and Luke Evan's Bard. *heart eyes*)

    1. Thanks, Gabby!

      Haha, yes, there is much Childhood Backstory that goes into the opinion thing . . . I feel you. ;) Fear of inciting conflict or judgment is definitely a big contributing factor!

      Exactly -- the pros outweigh the cons. (Even though the cons are substantial. :-P) YES, the casting is so fantastic, which is a big part of why the films succeed, in my opinion.


  11. The less I say about Peter Jackson's abomin...adaptations the better I think. Although I must say the cinematography in all of them was fantastic.

    Individual performances were at times great. I agree with you about Martin Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo. And Smaug. Much more Smaug would've been nice. But as a whole I could only get through the Hobbit movies by totally divorcing them in my mind from anything that had anything to do with the reality of the books. Jackson did, in technical terms, a great job with all the movies, but I don't think he ever really captured the soul of Tolkien's works nor the idea of heroism. I still hold the 1977 The Hobbit and the 1978 The Lord of the Rings in much more higher esteem than anything Jackson has done with the books.

    All that being said, if other people enjoy them, I have no problem with that. :)

    (except for the people who say the movies were better than the books)

    1. Haha, well, to each his own.

      I do think the Hobbit films could have used more Smaug. Especially because he was such a big deal in the book. I think those films, in particular, were so extremely far removed from the original novel; I think Jackson tried to make them too much like LotR.

      I do think Jackson captured much of the spirit + ideals of the originals in LotR, though, so we'll have to agree to disagree on that. ;) I think both the books and the movies have their areas of weakness.


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