Are The Hobbit Movies Just An Adaptation Of Bilbo's Book?
Welcome to Defending the Indefensible Week, where we attempt to vindicate some of pop culture's crappiest moments through the magic of harebrained internet theories. Such as ...
After presumably sharing an enchanted fortune cookie with George Lucas, Peter Jackson suddenly crapped all over his beloved Lord Of The Rings series by directing a second trilogy based on The Hobbit. He took a quaint, relatively paltry children's book and crammed it full of so many CGI monsters and awkward romantic subplots that it bloated into three butt-numbing movies.
Worst of all, while the Lord Of The Rings movies painstakingly combined practical and digital effects to fashion a living, breathing version of Middle-earth, these new movies did nothing but toss their cast in front of a green screen and throw the resulting print down into the Uncanny Valley. It wasn't a victimless crime -- poor Ian McKellen was reduced to tears. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with digital effects, but there was definitely something wrong with these digital effects. Take Azog the roided-out albino orc ...
... or the leader of the goblins, the Great and Powerful Testicle-Chin ...
... or the scene wherein Smaug the dragon gets caught in liquid gold, which looks so CGI it's a wonder Randy Newman doesn't start singing about friendship in the middle of it.
Even the movie's people were somehow wholly unconvincing. Take the scene in which Legolas treats the laws of physics the same way Kiefer Sutherland treats the laws of not punching people in the face.
But according to one theory, there may be an in-universe explanation for all this. Remember, we're not actually seeing an adaptation of the book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The first film, An Unexpected Journey, begins with Bilbo writing his memoirs ...
Meaning that the three movies we're about to watch could in fact be a representation of Bilbo's story from his own perspective, and not the objective POV of the original novel. So the events we see onscreen are being filtered through the brain of a senior citizen trying to recall his youth and, well, maybe embellishing a bit to keep the kids reading.
Like, maybe there was no giant white orc at all, but Bilbo knew the pacing of the real story was off a little and decided to spice things up. Hell, for all we know, Bilbo's literary agent kept convincing him to punch up the action so it could compete with Hobbit John Grisham.
Of course, while this theory helps wrap our heads around some of the more baffling choices in the Hobbit trilogy, it also complicates other parts of the franchise. Remember that Return Of The King ends with the reveal that Frodo was writing a book about his adventures -- kind of like the end of Stand By Me, but without adding that Merry and Pippin died in 'Nam.
So if the Hobbit movies were Bilbo's book, does that mean that the Lord Of The Rings movies were all written by Frodo? If so, why did he go into such detail about stuff he wasn't around for? Wouldn't Aragorn be a little weirded out? It's like if you found out a former co-worker wrote a memoir, and for some reason it included imaginary love scenes starring you.
If the filmmakers didn't want us to draw these conclusions, why prominently feature scenes in which the characters are authoring the books? It's not as if every movie based on a book does this. We don't see an elderly John McClane sitting in front of a word processor typing: "It wasn't just hard to die ... It was hard ... to live ..."
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