From the Page to the Screen

Two days ago, Warner Bros. posted the second trailer to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. As a Tolkien fanatic and a Peter Jackson fan, I have been hooked on every single one of the movies, starting with The Fellowship of the Ring. 

But this new trailer for The Hobbit irritates me:

I’ve always wrestled with book-to-movie adaptations because I’m what I would call a book loyalist. I basically want the movie to be exactly like the book, no extras, no new characters, no new dialogue.

Of course, I am aware that this is impossible. Movies/TV are a completely different genre requiring different storytelling methods. Sometimes that means the plot needs to deviate away from the original manuscript. Movies like The Hunger Games series or TV shows like Game of Thrones and Outlander have for the most part stayed true to the books, and most changes to the original plot were either necessary or an improvement.

I’ll say that I expected big changes because the book is not that long and frankly not nearly as exciting as The Lord of the Rings series. The first movie followed the book pretty closely, which is why it’s my favorite…it’s also why a lot of people said it was really boring. The second movie started to bug me with an added dwarf-elf romance and the reappearance of Legolas for reasons that are beyond my comprehension.

This movie just seems like the second coming of The Return of the King. Yes, there was a battle. Yes, it was pretty big. Yes, Sauron is back. However, I feel like this movie has lost the essence of the book. It’s no longer about a quirky little hobbit who gets dragged along on a big adventure. Frankly, I’m not sure what it’s about anymore.

From a writer’s perspective, I would love to see a novel I’ve written turn into a TV show or a movie someday. However, I just don’t see how I could accept major changes to the plot that I had slaved over. I think that’s why I have a harder time accepting major plot changes in other books that I love. I wonder what Tolkien would think of these movies. I’m not sure he would be pleased.

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