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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good but it left me a little dissappointed
on 16 April 2008
I've long been a fan of J R R Tolkien, ever since picking this book up when I was in primary school. The book of 'The Hobbit' is a delight for both adults and children, not as serious or epic as its sequel 'The Lord of the Rings', it's a much more compact and flows at a quicker pace. I have looked long and hard for a dramatised version and knowing the BBCs reputation for such things I eagerly bought this adaptation.
Well I have to say that its good, but at the same time it disappoints also! And on more than one level.
I find that the most annoying thing is the casting, Bilbo is perfectly cast, Paul Daneman does a superb job in the title role, as does John Justin as Thorin and Anthony Jackson as the Tale Bearer, but others such as Balin, the Elves, the spiders and not least the goblins, just don't sound right, the spiders sound like Daleks!! But the worst offender is the choice of Heron Carvic as Gandalf, not that the actor doesn't do a good job, it's just his voice! It doesn't carry enough power to convince as the all knowing wizard, he comes across like some sort of patronising old pensioner!
Another annoying thing is the pronunciation of some of the names, perhaps it's me, perhaps I have got it wrong, but I have never heard 'Gandalf' pronuced in such a silly way before or after!! Also I'm sure that its Thorin and not Torin, and Smaug is not Smuag!
Hey perhaps it's just me! You do get used to it after a while but it does take a little of the shine off the whole thing!
Other than those points, it's a fairly good adaptation! It sticks nicely to the book although it does thin out a few of the key encounters, the most notable for me being the cutting out of some of the riddles when Bilbo encounters Gollum, or Goluuum as they like to pronounce it here, which is one of the key parts of the book!
Do I recommend it? Well I'm not sure, it's not terrible but it's far from brilliant either, I'm old enough to remember the excellent, though now unavailable, Jackanory version with Bernard Cribbins in the lead role, supported by some other notable actors. I know that wasn't a full dramatised version, but it was head and shoulders above this version. I also recommend the audio version as read by Martin Shaw over this. I've also heard that the Rob Inglis version is excellent as well.
To be honest I'd go for them above this!
Perhaps as it's now 40 years since this adaptation it's time that the BBC re-commissioned it!!