The Tolkien Road

A podcast about Middle-earth and all things Tolkien.

0159 – Concerning Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

Concerning Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”…

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Topics discussed (chapter discussion begins at 21:00)…

  • Beorn
  • Mirkwood / Spiders
  • Woodelves / Barrels / Battle
  • Laketown / Bard / The Master
  • Finding the Door
  • Smaug
  • The Battle with Smaug
  • Dol Guldur subplot
  • Tauriel / Kili subplot

Also, listener Sharon B. joins us all the way from Australia, and tells us all about what it’s like to visit the Shire in New Zealand, her collection of Tolkien stuff, and shares her vast knowledge of the films!

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5 Responses

  1. I heard Rankin Jr. say that you can’t deviate from Tolkien because it ruins the whole thing. He was referring to when Rankin/Bass attempted to do The Return Of The King as a television cartoon. Rankin even said that it was a mistake, and also mentioned the Peter Jackson films as being too much of a deviation from the source material. Finally, I suggest watching The Tolkien geek’s videos on the books vs. the movies because his criticisms are very honest. He also shows how the mistakes and deviations, inconsistencies, etc.. add up. I have not seen any of The Hobbit films, but I know enough about them to know I haven’t really missed anything worth seeing. The Hobbit Is a children’s book and is independent from The Lord of The Rings; there was no need to make it into a tie – in thing. From what I have read and seen the biopic movie on Tolkien is much worse. One critic described it as fan fiction. It sounds like they just made up a whole lot of lies and nonsense about Tolkien. It is directed towards the anti – religious and anti – Catholic audience. None of the actors look anything like the people they are supposed to be portraying.

    1. Thanks for sharing Jennifer.

      No film adaptation will ever be perfect, and that’s especially true in the case of Middle-earth adaptations. However, for what they are, I find Jackson’s films pretty enjoyable. I’ve certainly got plenty of criticisms (listen to our other film episodes for those), but I also delight to see the works brought to life on the screen. For some people, it pains them to see any deviation, but I also think people can talk themselves into making too big a deal about certain deviations. Really, in my view, they are just robbing themselves of an enjoyable experience. I’m sure this conversation will again be amplified as Amazon’s Middle-earth show comes to life.

      As for the Tolkien film, our review of that is coming very soon. I will say this: as a devout Catholic, I think too much is being made of the notion that it is an “anti-Catholic” film. I speak about this in the episode. As for the actors portraying the characters, I think Lily Collins looks quite a bit like a young Edith.

  2. I humbly disagree. I do remember that the film version of The Fellowship of The Ring was better than any of the others, but I would prefer a new unabridged audiobook (maybe done by Focus on The Family Radio Theater). Tolkien himself said more than once that The Lord of The Rings is unsuitable for “dramatization”. I used to love watching the Rankin/Bass cartoon of The Hobbit; the music is better than the film. I also much prefer music settings of Tolkien’s poetry, especially The Tolkien Ensemble and Donald Swann’s song cycle. As for Ralph Bakshi, he lied when he said he got the film rights (what kind of dope was he smoking). Because he only made that claim but never said how he got permission. Rankin Jr., Donald Swann, and other people like them all talked about how they got permission from the author, or from his family.
    My point about the biopic film is that it is telling lies about real people, and they could have done better than make another Amadeus or The Diamond Necklace Affair. Hollywood could at least get the story right for a change, and without the politically correct stuff.

    1. Thanks for your comments. With regard to the Tolkien biopic, what specific “lies” are you referring to?

      1. I mean that the biopic is fake history and how they portrayed Father Morgan, and the stuff about Wagner’s operas among other things. Tolkien hated Wagner. There is too much fake history out there we don’t need to add more. I once did a paper on Marie Antoinette and found the true story more interesting than the way it is usually told. A fellow student also did a similar paper, but it was obvious (at least to me) that she got her information from the movies and documentaries. I do not rely on movies, the History Channel and PBS because they make such a mess of things. However, I do know some movies that are both enjoyable and historically accurate. The film Glory about the 54th Mass. Infantry is a good one. I just wish these filmmakers would tell the true story, and not change it to suit themselves and the culture.

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