If you’re just joining us, I hate The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which is why I watch it every week.
Now that everybody’s up to speed, I just finished reading The Hobbit, and now I will describe this experience.
So Bilbo Baggins is a fat little Hobbit that likes to stay at home. His wizard friend Gandalf comes by, and so do a bunch of Dwarves. Like, a lot of them. They make a big mess in his kitchen, and I’m seriously worried about the new Fantastic Four movie that’s coming out next year. I mean, I really want to see a quality big screen version of Marvel’s First Family, but if the movie is successful, Fox will probably hold on to the rights, and I want Marvel Studios to get them back so Reed Richards and Tony Stark can hang out and Hulk and Thing can play cards and punch stuff. So I kinda want to avoid the movie even if the reviews are through the roof, but I don’t think I have to worry about that, because the cast is way too young and they want to make it a coming-of-age story, which just isn’t the angle you should take with these characters. I’m afraid it’ll be worse than the 2005 movie, because it’ll be dark and boring instead of goofy and boring. Still, I hear the director is talented; he made Chronicle, which I should get around to seeing if I want a sense of where this could go. Eh, maybe it’ll be good. Maybe.
Have fun being angsty, you guys.
So Bilbo and the Dwarves are off to get some treasure. I can’t remember why, but anyway, they run into some trolls. Trolls turn to stone when the sun comes up, so Bilbo distracts them, and I can’t decide if I should get an eggplant sandwich or a turkey club sandwich before I head in to work. Turkey’s my standby, but I don’t know, I think it’s time for a little variety. And eggplant is healthier. Wait, hold on, not if you deep-fry it. Is that what they do? How do you make the eggplant all crispy? Is a fried vegetable healthier than two kinds of meat? I should look up the nutrition facts when I get to Amato’s. Actually, I think they’re available online.
Man, great food and convenience!
Yeah, I’m going with the turkey club.
So Bilbo finally runs into Gollum and holy crap, riddles. I hate riddles. I feel like I’m reading one of those terrible joke books from when I was a kid. There’s a great Red Letter Media video where they just read one of those books out loud. That’s the whole bit. And I seriously owned that same book, 101 Wacky Kid Jokes. What a piece of shit.
Are we at the barrels yet? That’s all I remember from reading this book in high school. Wait, there’s some crap with big spiders. First of all, how did I forget that? And second, wasn’t there a giant spider in one of the movies? Return of the King, I think? Man, I still can’t believe that won Best Picture in 2003. I’m with Viggo Mortensen; at least Fellowship had more practical effects. I may hate the movie, but it’s true, Fellowship feels more grounded and real. The cinematography helps, too. I should write an article on that, right after I finish–
Okay, yeah, barrels. And they go down a river and there’s a dragon with all the treasure and then there’s a battle. There’s an army, which happens when you’re a Hobbit, I guess. Just go on a stupid quest with a bunch of assholes you just met and hey, awesome, an army, how convenient, good thing we ran into you while the eight of us had our thumbs up our butts instead of coming up with a real goddamn plan to kill big lizards and eyeballs and shit.
So Bilbo goes home and everybody thought he was dead and that’s pretty funny.
I really wasn’t joking about all the mind-wandering. This book was trying to get me to put it down. It follows the same pattern that I hate about the LotR movies: walk, fight a thing, take a break, repeat. I could maybe say I liked individual chapters; some of them had an Aesop’s Fables vibe or felt like an old folk tale about a trickster with hairy feet, but strung together, agh. It just doesn’t feel like a narrative. In terms of story structure, I’d rank it slightly above Heavy Metal.
Where’s all the robot sex, Tolkien?
You know what? Maybe I’m picking on the story a little too harshly. I will concede that I might actually enjoy the Hobbit movies. (Yes, I’m planning to watch them.) What really made the book a struggle was the writing style. It’s presented like Tolkien is personally telling me the story himself, and that just didn’t resonate. It sucked me out of what was going on. For example, Tolkien describes bats “black as a top-hat,” and suddenly yoink, I’m not in Middle-earth, I’m in the year Whenever the Top-Hat Was Invented. And the whole thing has such an adorable grandpa feel to it, with Tolkien asking little questions or saying you can imagine what a character does next. Which, by the way, is either a) lazy storytelling, or b) patting himself on the back for his top-notch character work. Well, I don’t like the personal narrator schtick. It feels less like a sweeping epic and more like a kooky old man babbling about nonsense he made up, which, oh, hey, it is.
I’m droppin’ the mic on that one.
Come back soon for The Fellowship of the Ring.