Hobbit Movie Thoughts: The Magic of Imagery

Generally, when there is a new film based on a book that we study here, either I or Louise Freeman puts on the gloves and slogs into the fray to present thoughts on what was good, what was true to the book, and what was just plain awful. After five films, Peter Jackson’s forays into Middle Earth generally get the same reaction from readers like us, and much of it isn’t very positive. As I braved the theater with my two favorite adventuresome gents, we really did not expect a close-text interpretation. My running joke about the Hobbit movies has been that they are really cool action films that I enjoy, as they sort of remind me of this book I love. So instead of trotting out my trusty notebook, for the last Hobbit film installment, the Battle of the Five Armies, I wanted to do something different. As I watched the film, I began to wonder how future readers might be affected by the film interpretations. Rather than wringing my hands over how the film veers, often dramatically, from the text and tone of Tolkien’s work, I thought it might be more interesting and thoughtful to look at one of the reasons why the novel is so resonant, and why this story, even with radical alterations, is so engaging as a film: the power of imagery. [Read more…]