9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good because of its feel, botched because of what it cut,
This review is from: Hobbit [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This video is a good adaptiation of J. R. R. Tolkien's classic children's novel. There are many positive things to it. Yet there are also some negative aspects to it, because, after all, it is a human production.
The positive is it introduces the story to an audience that might not pick up a book, or people who have never heard of Tolkien (imagine that!). I can honestly say this movie is responsible for getting me into Tolkien. We had Disney, and I watched this and the sequel (Return of the King), although I remembered this the most. When I saw the book at a flea market back when I was 12 or 13, I bought it (I am now 20). Had it not been for this movie, I might have passed that book bye. Therefore, I'm heavily indebted to this movie, because it is responsible for my discovery of Tolkien. The animation, espically that of The Shire, is true to the stories. The depiction of Gollum is espically good, and that whole sequence is very well down. The animators and cast really capture the spirit of what Tolkien was trying to do. Gandalf is always a a delight. The dragon is magnificent (although they erroneously pronounce "Smaug" like the pollution "smog"). Much of the animation seems like pictures straight from Tolkien's sketch book.
The negative, although it is not surprising, tho' still disappointing, is they cut things out. The entire sequence with Beorn is cut out. It would have been very interesting to see him in this version. The elves do not have that `high elvish beauty' that so permeates THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and, to a lesser extent, THE HOBBIT. They are quite attrocious to look at. Strangely, they fit in well with the scenery and the animation style, but to the story it contradicts it. Some things are rushed over, most notable the episode with the Trolls. In the book, they have a fight o how to cook the dwarves, with Gandalf off scene, actually causing the fight. Here, they comment on how they like them, but there is no fight, and (unconvincingly) dawn overtakes them. On the mountain, although there is the thrush, there is no great ravens (Roac son of Carc). The entire political matter of the Arkenstone is left out. And for some strange reason, they change the number of how many live from 10 to 6. The reason why I could never understand. One scene I never understood was Bilbo, awakening to find the goblins upon them, but before dreaming, says "dwarves have a strange notion of perfection". It is only a 76 minute film, so they did cut things. It is sad they could not include more.
As you can tell, its chief weaknesses are the things it cut out. The movie is true to the book. Bilbo's physical appearance is now how I always visualize it, and Gollum is superb. He is blackened skinned in this, and green in THE RETURN OF THE KING. The animation is its strongest, and with exception to the Elves is true to Tolkien, the weakest is the things they were forced to cut. Overall, a good film. This place will always have special significance to me, because this is what got me into Tolkien. He, as MacDonald to Lewis, is my master.
Originally issued May 16, 2000 on Amazon.com