The Hobbit: Movie & Book Changes
In class there were multiple questions brought up when discussing our novels, specifically The Hobbit and the changes between the movie and book. As someone who has read the book, and seen both currently released movies, there are some extremely significant changes from the book that severely alter the characters and actions of the movie. While I’m not saying these changes are bad, because they do add more action among other things to the movie, they simply make you question why? Why were these changes made or what caused the filmmakers think such a change was necessary?
Firstly, there are two major changes that stick out to me very much and their names are Legolas and Tauriel. In the book there is literally no character called Tauriel and similarly Legolas is not a character from The Hobbit either, only The Lord of the Rings. The question as to why these characters were created and used in this movie instead of Tolkien’s original cast can be seen in a few ways. There’s the generic answer that the writers thought it would be cool to include a fan favorite character like Legolas in another movie, or the more factual answer of Peter Jackson stating “He’s [elven king] Thranduil’s son, and Thranduil is one of the characters in ‘The Hobbit,’ and because elves are immortal, it makes sense Legolas would be part of the sequence in the Woodland Realm” (Moore) and from a logical standpoint that makes absolute sense.
While Peter Jackson stated his reasoning, I still have my opinion that since there is a major lack of empowered female characters in Tolkien’s writings, let alone The Hobbit, they felt the need to add a strong female character into the mix. Just like most Hollywood movies though, if there’s a female character, there must be a love interest or conflict somewhere in the story. This can be seen with the character Kili who’s the love interest of Tauriel as she hunts him down to save and or see him again in the movie, which turns out saved Kili’s life from his injury; Kili’s injury was also not in the book. Now with Legolas being a fan favorite and the inclusion of Tauriel, there of course has to be a love triangle created to add some mild drama and incite motivation for Legolas to go out on an Orc killing rampage while he tracks or assists Tauriel, which is an obvious fan service part of the movie.
Now there was the statement that changing Tolkien’s story is a disservice to him and was a ploy to make it more action based and increase movie revenue. This is not wrong, the book itself, in my opinion, seemed fairly slow paced and lacked major action sequences and if converted entirely to the big screen as is, it would be lacking in the desired content expected by fans. Hollywood is known for changing movie adaptions to a point that it’s unrecognizable, movies such as Ender’s Game can be an example of this. Given that these changes only amplified the intensity and awesomeness of the entire adventure it can only be seen as an improvement instead of disservice to Tolkien’s works. These changes made the story more epic and modern in a sense. I say modern in the terms of what viewers, readers and fans in general expect from either a movie or book in our contemporary world. This can be seen with Michael Bay movies where things just explode and there’s violence everywhere, viewers love it. Adding a relevant version of that into The Hobbit to draw in more audiences and make it more exciting to watch can only be seen as a positive. The only people that would have an issue with these changes, since they mostly improved the story, are the purist fans that will call it a bastardized version and want nothing but the original content.
While there were many significant changes to the novel and some minor ones that floated by, they were fairly necessary and improved the overall story of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The characters of Tauriel and Legolas being added in were a necessary plot device to bring more action into the movie, which in my opinion, was done smoothly and flowed nicely into the rest of the story. Overall the changes that the movie made were positive and did not drag the movie down in any sense other than being an unexpected surprise. Peter Jackson did a wonderful job adding some of his own vision into the movie adaption and I couldn’t see it being any other way now.
Moore, Ben. "First Look at Legolas in ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’." Screen Rant. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966. Print.