(11/16/06) I’d done the animated “Lord of the Rings” and “Return of the King”, so I guess this was pretty inevitable. Read these reviews in the order of the story, if you like. Or out of order; it doesn’t matter!
Three fun facts about the Rankin-Bass adaptation of The Hobbit:
* – EVERYBODY who grew up in the late-70’s/early-80’s has seen it at least once. We must put more research into this kind of phenomenon.
* – My father is an very cool-headed person, but he will go into a verbal rampage if you ask him what he thought about this movie.
* – It follows the Rankin-Bass Return of the King Method of Novel Adaptation to a T:
1) Take out a bunch of really random things from the book. Replace them with something else that comes out of f-ing nowhere.
2) Introduce about a million billion songs for the hell of it. As much as you can help it, do not use them to forward the pacing of the story.
3) Most infuriating of all, lift as much dialogue from the original book as you possibly can. That way, nobody can accuse you of not being close to the book! Hahaha!!!
Anytime the people who currently hold the film rights to The Hobbit want to stop being so incredibly ridiculous about future film adaptations is fine by me. And everyone else on the planet. Please let Peter Jackson play in this sandbox again. I know he won’t make Smaug look like a weird reptilian Fruitbat.
Note that this movie is still way, way, WAY better than Rankin/Bass’ “Return of the King”.
The Best Parts:
7 seconds in – Ooh, that’s cool. That’s meta. I like it.
1 minute in – And they’re already singing!
7 minutes in – “EEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!”
8 minutes in – This is what I love about Rankin/Bass: all of this has happened before the opening credits.
11 minutes in – I know they say it’s mutton, but do you really want to eat what a Troll has been chewing on? (Not to mention that they probably have a different definition of mutton then we do. Could be sheep. Could be puppies…)
14 minutes in – Oh, if only this trick worked on every kind of Troll…
16 minutes in – I don’t know if I’d be able to put up with Gandalf being so aggressively mysterious if I were Thorin.
18 minutes in – When I am Queen, I want my own teeny tiny planetary system orbiting my head.
21 minutes in – Eduardo! No!!! Bad Ogre! No potatoes!
24 minutes in – And here’s Gollum!
You can tell that Rankin/Bass knew that this was the best part of the book cause they’re going to transcribe the entire thing to us here.
35 minutes in – Alright, Gandalf, we get it. You’re a wizard and you know something else is going on here.
36 minutes in – “Marahute!!!”
40 minutes in – AHHH!!! They reuse this song in “Return of the King”!
42 minutes in – RELEASE THE SABRE-TOOTHED BUNNY-SPIDERS!!!
45 minutes in – “Another suburban family morning!!!”
46 minutes in – Gelflings?
50 minutes in – Hey, screw you, Bilbo. 😡
54 minutes in – Who is this weird reptilian Fruitbat and where the hell is Smaug?
58 minutes in – I HAVE to start introducing myself to Newbies like this.
59 minutes in – Awwwww… who wants a tummy-rub, huh?
1 hour, 2 minutes in – Matthew McConaughey still unavailable for comment. (It will never stop being funny.)
1 hour, 8 minutes in – Thorin gets Goth-served.
1 hour, 10 minutes in – NOBODY cares about Orc people. 😦
1 hour, 14 minutes in – And Thorin acknowledges Bilbo. Awwwww…
1 hour, 15 minutes in – Gandalf brings the foreshadowing!!!
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Adventures make one late for dinner!” – Bilbo
“May the hair on his toes never fall out.” – Thorin
TROLL: “What’ve we got here?”
ANOTHER TROLL: “Let’s cook ‘im and find out!”
“A nice souvenir to show the neighbors back home.” – Bilbo finds the One Ring
“I’m already late because of bothering with you people!” – Gandalf
~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“Tip the glasses, smash the plates / Cause that’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!” – the Dwarves
“What funny little birds! / They have no wings! / Oh, what shall we do? / With the funny little things?” – the Orcs’ merry little song
“Kill the Men! / Kill the Elves! / Save the gold / for ourselves!!!” – the Dwarves’ merry little song
“Heave-ho! / Splash-plunk! / Roll ’em down the hole!” – the Elves’ merry little song
“The Greatest Adventure is what lies ahead! / Today and tomorrow are yet to be said! / The chances the changes are all yours to make! / The mold of your life is in your hands to break! / To measure the meaning and make you delay / It’s time you stopped thinking and wasting the day! / The Greatest Adventure is what lies ahead! (And so on…)” – The Theme Song!
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Well, we learn how to pronounce Oin and Gloin.
* – Orcs are terrified of sparklers.
* – Humans live in colonies.
* – Thrushes = Angels.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Yes, but so help me Smaug looks like a weird reptilian Fruitbat. (He looks far better in “The Pagemaster“, even though it isn’t officially him…)
Good Soundtrack? It’s actually okay. Maybe because it isn’t like in “Return of the King” where everyone sings every other minute.
Hot Guys? No. (On that note, Legolas is an Elf of Mirkwood. Would you want to see what he’d look like in this continuity?)
Pretty Scenery? Yes. It’s right out of Tolkein’s illustrations.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? It’s Rankin/Bass. You know what you’re getting into.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when Bilbo is way out of his tree. Drink when a villain dies and looks like they have entered the Giant Kaleidoscope of Doom. Drink when you suspect that Gandalf secretly hates the Dwarves.
Head Movie Potential? In the scene where we are first introduced to Bilbo, he immediately tokes from his gigantic pipe. You tell me.
A very short, furry Jordan.
A Rankin/Bass Film made in 1977. Written by Romeo Muller, based upon the book by J.R.R. Tolkein. Directed by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass. Songs by Jules Bass and Glen Yarborough.
Orson Bean, Richard Booke, Hans Conreid, John Huston, Paul Frees, Don Messik, and Brother Theodore.
“The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” – Like I wasn’t going to link to this. I didn’t even make it three verses in before it scared me away.
Let “The Hobbit” Happen! – An online petition for a “Hobbit” movie. Best of luck, guys.