During grades six and seven, I pored over every scrap of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing I could get my hands on. I would soon move on to other period-specific literary obsessions, such as Carlos Casteneda’s Don Juan series and everything Vonnegut and Heinlein had written, but for that brief moment in time I essentially lived in Middle-earth. And my favorite of all Tolkien’s books was The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.
Now, for another confession. Though at one time I believed the opening paragraph of The Hobbit to be so perfect that I committed it to memory, I now remember very little of my time in Middle-earth. (Hey, that was a long time ago.) So when I saw the trailer for Peter Jackson’s upcoming first film in The Hobbit series, I wasn’t sure what to think.
As I’ve complained written before, Jackson’s work on The Lord of the Rings didn’t seem much like the Lord of the Rings I remembered from my early adolescence, though it was likely the best Lord of the Rings anyone would be able to foist upon the filmmaking industrial complex. I recall a quiet, bucolic tale that, yes, had its share of war…but it was quiet, bucolic war — not the loud action-adventure, swords-clashing war Jackson presented.
I suppose, for the most part, that’s how I feel about the trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It looks a little too epic to jibe with my memories of Bilbo Baggins’ modest little adventure. But it seems less so than The Lord of the Rings, so I’m cautiously optimistic nonetheless. And, yeah, Martin Freeman is good casting for Bilbo.
Oh, and the poster up there to your right? Just so you know, my Bilbo would be holding his pipe, not a freaking sword. So, maybe not so optimistic after all. What about you?