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The Hobbit

by Wooley
posted on 9/18/22

The Hobbit

As someone who has read The Hobbit many times, this Rankin/Bass adaptation is thoroughly enjoyable... and far better, in just an hour and seventeen minutes, than all the nonsense and CGI Jackson cobbled together over nearly EIGHT hours for his abomination of a "Hobbit Trilogy" - and even more in an even less necessary Extended Version.
I won't rehash the story here because I think everyone knows it but a wizard and a group of dwarves recruit a quiet-lived, satisfied Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins to join them on an adventure to their homeland where their ancestral mountain is guarded by the terrible dragon, Smaug. Along the way, they will encounter many dangers and will often be saved by the peaceful Hobbit who is learning a courage he never knew he had.
I thought, again as a fan of the Tolkien’s book, that this script was a nice, tight adaptation that somehow conveys most of the plot of the book (with a mall exception in the Battle Of Five Armies) in just the 77-minute run-time while not missing out on the personal growth of Bilbo and the discovery of his personal courage. And even throwing in a subtle commentary on the futility and stupidity of war.
Richard Boone’s Smaug is excellent. Growly and world-weary but also muscular and menacing. While the lone bright spot in Jackson’s second Hobbit film was Cumberbatch’s Smaug, Boone is fantastic and, really Cumberbatch’s take sounds like he’d watched this film and took notes from Boone.
He doesn't look half bad, either.

Very effective.
I also found Orson Bean’s Bilbo to be quite good, John Huston's Gandalf is on-point, and I even liked Otto Preminger (seriously) as the king of the Wood-elves. But the show-stealer may be comedian/actor Brother Theodore’s Gollum, who is absolutely aces.

For this material specifically (not necessarily in LotR) I honestly prefer this to Serkis’ admittedly historic and game-changing performance.
The animation is fine to good (though i am no expert on this), it was done by Topcraft which did Nausicaa and would split and form Studio Ghibli. The music, in general is good, at times actually pretty great and then at others a little cheesy and of-the-time as they seemed to try to merge the sound of 70s folk and whatever Hobbit Life might sound like.
In general, I found all this very enjoyable and worthy of the short run-time for sure. The Battle Of The Five Armies isn't given all that much focus but I think for the pacing of the movie it all works out fairly well. I would refute the reputation this film has as not being any good, I think that's balderdash. It's perfectly enjoyable. And Jackson and his bloat and bad FX can suck it.