Why I stopped watching ‘The Hobbit’

Why I stopped watching ‘The Hobbit’

WARNING: What follows may be considered spoilers for ‘The Hobbit’

I didn’t like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ – both the books and the films. The books seemed to ramble far too much for my tastes. I like books that cut to the action, to the characters and these books spent too much time talking about things that didn’t matter. I didn’t care what colour the grass was, or how ancient the people of Middle Earth were.

So I gave up reading ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and moved on to ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. Cut to around twenty years later and the films were set to come out. I enjoy fantasy, so I was looking forward to them. After all, a movie can’t ramble as much as a book can, right? I was very wrong, the films kept everything I didn’t like about the books – they blathered on about things that didn’t matter.

My wife loved the movies, so I sat through all three of them in the theatre. They weren’t all bad. There were some great battle scenes, but there was still that awful rambling around everything that mattered. There were characters that weren’t important; who were there just to die in noble ways.

In contrast, ‘Game of Thrones’ are also rambling books. I only managed a little over half of the first book, but the style is similarly long-winded. However, the television show cuts out all of them history, all of the things that should be taken as read. Which are important for the writer to know, to give depth to the story, but should never be seen by a reader, in my opinion.

I love the ‘Game of Thrones’ television series. It has depth and character development. You root for just about every character in the series. It has taken the best of the books and cut out the boring bits.

So to ‘The Hobbit’: I liked the book. I read it when I was about eleven and I enjoyed it. It moved quickly, there was good action and I related to Bilbo. So, I figured the film may be the same. After all, I hated the ‘Lord of the Rings’ books, so maybe it follows that I would hate the films. I went into ‘The Hobbit’ with a very open mind.

The film starts with a lot of backstory – a great way to slam on the brakes at the starting line. Something that could be covered in three lines of dialogue is instead a long, narrated scene. However, we get to Bilbo shortly after that and things start moving. Gandalf arrives and shortly after him, some dwarves. They tear Bilbo’s house apart with some good comedy moments.

Bilbo refuses to go with them, but then changes his mind and races after, catching up to them. There is some more decent comedy until they get to a camp site. They’re all talking and then, suddenly, more backstory, not in sharp dialogue, but in a clumsy flashback. Seriously, what the heck is it with these films and irrelevant backstory?

Okay, so they cut back to the group of heroes and I’m back in. I’ll forgive it all; just get on with the story. They’re riding through the woods and…Gandalf starts talking about another wizard. It cuts to a wizard and his woodland friends. The film lost me there. I don’t care about this new wizard and his hedgehog friends. I wanted to see action, comedy, adventure, character development. Instead I got backstory and irrelevant details told through cut-scenes.

Am I wrong? Probably. A lot of people love all of those movies. I just couldn’t connect with anything in that film and I gave it an hour of my time. Time is precious. We only have so much. I don’t like movie makers who waste it on things that will only appeal to fans of the books.

I’m all for making a film for the super-fans. Heck, I’m a super-fan myself of enough things. In my opinion, though, make that the extended DVD, not the theatrical release.


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