Before I get into the meat of this post: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, I'd like to talk a bit about this:
It was logical for GW to release some sort of Hobbit expansion for Lord of The Rings Strategy Battle Game. But dear Emperor, what has GW done to SBG! Every little tactic you've build up is practically gone: spear support, bow support... Sad panda.
Additionally, prices went even higher: 30€ for 12 'Hunter Orcs'!!! When I started Lotr 7/8 years ago, you could get free stuff with magazines, and buy 24 of them for 17,5€!
And man, 100€ for a damn starter set? I started with a just released 50€ Mines of Moria.
I still have to get games in, but I certainly don't like what I've seen so far.
And just a little detail of frustration: no profiles in the small rulebook! The great thing about Lotr was that you had everything in that little book you needed to play games: scenarios, rules, profiles,...
I didn't have to buy a single expansion for my mordor army 'till 2008.
Now, you need the set for the models + the rulebook to use 'm. Compare 160€ to 50€ and you understand my frustration.
Now, onto the film itself.
The hobbit was my first book I ever read, no joke, really. I quite got the story. A year later, I read LoTR, and quite got it as well, except for Tom Bombadil, obviously. The Silmarillion... No, didn't get it at all back then.
I can quite say I have quite an emotional connection with this book, so I can honestly say that if it were an absolute disaster, like I've heard some people say, I'd tell you.
But I don't.
I went to so it as soon as it came out, and it literally made me crie of happiness.
I know a lot of people, including myself, have been very sceptical about the Trilogy of a 300-page book thing...
But now, frankly, I don't care. I just enjoy the Peter Jackson magic, the acting & singing.
|Yes, I sang along with our thirteen friends in the cinema, and yes, a buddy of mine next to me was desperately trying to shut me up.|
Yes, there's a lot of new, imagined stuff in there as well: Radagast mainly being the centre of it all: ghosts in Dol Guldur, spiders attacking Mirkwood,...
But that's also what's the Hobbit's a bit about: a big chunk of the story is left to the imagination of the reader (think The White Council attack on Dol Guldur, Beorn's battle against the goblins of the Misty Mountain, the Battle of 5 Armies).
Also, it's lovely to see Jackson kept some of the original dialogue. Especially Tom, Bert & Bill were most charming.
The only thing that really anoys me is this big guy above. Why Azog? Why?
He's as dead as a dodo, not Anakin II.
I guess it's because they want to create like this big evil mastermind who's behind everything etc., etc.
But Jackson could have done this without violating Tolkiens lore: perhaps it's Sauron The Necromancer gathering his forces, or maybe he has even made an alliance with Smaug.
Or why not just let Bolg be the 'Pale Orc on a White Warg'?
Guess that's the price you pay for 3 films instead of 1.
Something else intriguing is 'orcs'. What are orcs? Goblins? Uruk-Hai?
Tolkien didn't really make a distinction between all that, probably because they're basically all the same.
Although, in The Hobbit, he makes references to 'goblins' when talking about the creatures in The Misty Mountains, and when talking about Dol Guldur he writes something along the lines of 'great orcs and other foul creatures'.
I myself have always interpreted Goblins as being Orcs that live in the Misty Mountains & Gundabad, and that they are because of the long hours spend in tiny caverns, smaller in size.
Uruks simply being stronger orcs purposely bred by Saruman.
In the Lord of The Rings, Peter Jackson quite followed my view, but now, in the Hobbit, there seems to be all kinds of new breeds of orcs & goblins.
GW, in true GW fashion, talks about 'Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs' and 'Goblin Warriors' (like they don't have another kit with the same name).
But indeed, these 2 don't seem very much the same kin to me:
Neither do these:
A complain I've read on this was that the 'older' version of the foul minions of Middle Earth was much more intimidating than the 'new' version.
Azog being small potatos when compared to an Uruk, for example.
Well, that's true, but I think it fits with the overal feeling and theme of The Hobbit. In The Hobbit, everything is much more... Relaxed? Humorous?
E.g.: wargs having a little conversation with Gandalf while burning down the tree he's sitting in.
So I think it's quite fitting that the Goblin King is more of a stand-up comedian than a villain.
Now the last thing I want to talk about is the Dwarrows (like Tolkien wants us to write it).
I think Peter Jackson did a fine job making them all look individual. Alright, some will be remembered more easily than others (Balin, Dwalin, Bofur, Killi,...).
It really shows how little details (a hat, a bow, hearing aid,... Oh and beard styles, of course) can make characters stand out.
Just one little remark, dear mr. Jackson:
|You call THIS a Dwarven Beard?|
Yes, you'll whine a bit about the differences between book/film, the fact that Thorins got hair longer than his beard and the company seems to be able to survive a fall that would have killed The Balrog itself.
But in the end, you'll accept it, and you'll love it. Just like you did the Lord of The Rings.
ps: Comments & Critisism always welcome!