The movies were great at characterizing Thorin and giving some context to things I never really caught on to despite having read the Hobbit. I think the movie was great at making Thorin likable. As a kid I was vaguely aware that Thorin was sort of a king, but in my mind (and in the illustrated version of the Hobbit I had) he just seemed like a short old man with a long gray beard. The movie was good at giving him a dignity and a tragedy that I felt that I missed in the book. I think that was because his entire backstory wasn’t in the book but covered in an appendix, but I’m not sure now.
#2. Casting of Bilbo
Martin Freeman as Bilbo was great casting. Back when I was watching the UK version of The Office I kept calling Martin Freeman’s character a hobbit. I guess I’m a prophet. I’m still used to thinking of the Hobbit as partly from my illustrated novel and partly from that like 70s cartoon where Bilbo was this really fat guy with a huge nose. I like the Freeman interpretation better.
#3. Gandalf’s Boring Work Meeting
There’s this wonderful scene in the Hobbit(s) where Gandalf has to go to a meeting led by Saruman. Saruman just prattles on forever while Gandalf tunes him out and starts texting his girlfriend. And by “texting” I mean he starts telepathically chatting with Galadriel because he’s so bored. It’s pretty sweet and it’s one of those moments where you’re like, oh yeah, meeting suck no matter where you are.
#4. King Fabulous
Legolas’s dad, King Fabulous, was one of my favorite characters of me and the people making the movie but for different reasons I suspect. The moviemakers I feel like were all, “Thranduil is so cool, look at this awesome moose he rides!” And I was all like, “This guy is sooooo fabulous.” King Fabulous was just so ridiculous all the time. When he was being a dick, his dickery was comically off the charts, but then when he was fighting he was an invincible 20th level elf fighter with a war moose animal companion. It’s hard to encapsulate it all, but I’d say he’s just one of those rare characters who shows up, destroys the scenery with his over the top nature, all while the movie says, “Isn’t he cool?”
Basically, King Fabulous is the Jack Reacher of Middle Earth. I kind of wish King Fabulous was the bad guy in Guardians of the Galaxy…
#5. Epic Level Adventuring Party
I loved seeing the Epic Level Adventuring Party (ELAP) get together and do a raid on the Necromancer’s Lair. It was strangely gratifying to see some of the actual powerhouses in Middle Earth do something other than send lackeys to clean up their messes.
For example, movie Elrond, if you had such a problem with Isildur not throwing the Ring into the fire, just take the ring, you’re only a super powerful demi-god half-man half-elf immortal.
Anyway, it was cool for me, and probably just pure fan-service (but you know sometimes fans do want to be serviced), to see Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel show up and start kicking butt. Then Galadriel went super saiyan and beat the Necromancer, because sure. I’d buy she’s a super saiyan. It does run the risk of making them look a little incompetent in the end, but I admit that in the book the White Circle did take out the Necromancer, so it’s just the action movie version of what happened.