Monday Musings: The Hobbit book versus the movie

My musing today is a bit of a rant.  It was sparked by the appearance (FINALLY) of the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  For those who haven’t seen it yet, check it out at the bottom of the post.

Anyway, what gets my blood up is seeing all of the people who comment with scorn about what they see.  It’s not that they’re pre-judging the movie; what upsets me is that they’re castigating Peter Jackson for not adhering STRICTLY to the original book.  Now I can understand being in love with a book.  Heck, Bilbo and Gollum and Gandalf and Smaug have been in my head since I was five years old.  What I don’t understand is the need to see that book translated so faithfully to the screen that there’s no room for imagination.

The way I see it, literature is a two-way street.  Sure there’s what the author intended, but what makes stories so great is that you get to envision it the way you see it as well.  You want Bilbo’s coat to be green instead of blue?… cool.  You want Gollum to be more frog-like?… have at.  Within the parameters of the designated plot and details, you can do that.  That’s what is so cool about reading.  It’s interactive.  It’s a conversation between you and the author, and you get to take things away from that story that maybe the author didn’t put in there, but are nevertheless there for you.

To you naysayers, I ask this: would you have wanted Jackson to faithfully portray the scene where Gandalf introduces all the dwarves in pairs spaced a few minutes apart while he recaps the entire story to that point?  Probably not.  Because let’s face it: as much as I’m sure many of us love the novel, The Hobbit had its flaws.  If Jackson wants to play with the narrative, more power to him.  As long as he doesn’t kill anybody who shouldn’t die, and as long as he doesn’t save anybody who shouldn’t live, I say unto him: Go forth and film with your bad self, Peter.

And I plan to fully enjoy The Battle of the Five Armies when it comes out.  And I plan to squee like a fangirl over every bit of goodness that shows up before that day.  So there.