In college, the Harrison Ford movie Clear and Present Danger (based on the novel by Tom Clancy) came out into the theaters. I've always liked Harrison Ford as an actor and once again it proved to be a great action movie.
A few days before I went to the movie, a guy in our dorms (I believe it was the R.A. but don't quote me on it) said, "Yeah, Mark, don't waste your money. The movie absolutely sucked."
I found this incredibly odd as Harrison Ford, once again playing the Jack Ryan character, was a decent actor and I didn't quite believe the movie would be that bad.
I pressed further. "Why did it suck?" I asked.
"Because it had nothing to do with the book."
Okay, he got me there. I had bought the book but was holding off reading it because it was quite a lengthy tome--as much of Clancy's novels were. I then went to see the movie, despite the seemingly 1-star review from one person. I liked it. It was a great action flick, worthy of repeated watchings. What was that guy thinking? Then I read the book. He was right: the book had little to do with the movie. In fact, the Jack Ryan character was maybe in 1/3 of the book. But movie-goers would be a litle pissed to spend their money to see a movie where Harrison Ford was only in it for 40 minutes.
I still liked the book. And even the movie. They were just two different versions of the same story, and I was fine with that.
The same goes with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three movies based on J. R. R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit, directed by Peter Jackson.
If one were to watch the movie with such a critical eye to see if all of the elements of the book were in the movie, you may be disappointed. But only because there is so much more in the movie than I had expected. I won't reveal any spoilers here, except to say that so far Peter has done a wonderful job of tying this movie in with the three Lord Of The Rings movies as well as the other histories of Middle Earth (i.e. The Silmarillion).
Keep in mind, when Tolkien first published the Lord Of The Rings, he released a newer edition of The Hobbit because in the first edition the One Ring did not play as large as role as he originally planned.
I give 5 full stars for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The only drawback is that I have to wait a full year to see the second of the three films. But, like millions of others, I will be waiting with much anticipation.
Going back to what we talked about at the beginning of this blog post, let me ask you a few questions:
How many versions of Bram Stoker's Dracula have been made?
How many Batman or Spiderman or Superman movies have been made?
How many different versions of fairy tales (i.e. Snow White, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk) have been made--no, Disney isn't the only one doing this.
Aren't there two theatrical versions of Stephen King's The Shining?
Tales can be told in various ways, depending on the medium. Theatrical movies and written novels are two entirely different ways. Don't criticize one if it doesn't match with the other one.
Go see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It's well worth it.