I must admit, I did actually see the movie of the Hobbit long before I'd read the book.
And by "the movie" I mean the animated version, made back in the 70's. You see, back before computer animation, there was just "animation" with drawn pictures. It was a lot cheaper than computer animation, and you could pretty much do anything you wanted to with it, assuming you had some colored pencils and a good imagination.
Back then, growing up, the images of Smaug the Golden roaring out of the Lonely Mountain were quite fascinating, to say the least. Of course, I think his name was Smaug the Golden. Why he was called Smaug the Golden, and not Smaug the Red, I'm not really sure, because he was always portrayed as red whenever I have seen him in the past. Maybe because of his habit of sleeping amidst piles of gold, or covering the miniscule holes in his scaly armor with gold and jewels. In any case, as a poor, imaginative boy growing up when the animated version came out, I was enchanted by Smaug. To this day, I sleep amidst piles of gold and jewels, and breathe huge gouts of fire... out of my ass. lol
So I saw the first part of the Hobbit last week. Now, there was only one book, unlike the 3 books of the lord of the rings saga. However, the producers of The Hobbit, for whatever reason (cough, cough, money, cough, cough), have decided to expand that book to encompass three movies. Three extraordinarily long movies. Yes. Nine hours worth of the Hobbit.
So in the first three hour installment, we learn that Smaug, an ancient and powerful Dragon, took the mountain fortress of Erebor, inside what came to be known as the Lonely mountain, from the Dwarves. Sometime many years later, the descendants of those same dwarves, a paltry 13 in number, hook up with Bilbo Baggins (yes, Frodo's uncle), and start their long journey to retake the lonely mountain back from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, they run across Saruman, Elrond of Rivendell, and some nasty warg-riding orcs and goblins led by Azog, an orc lord.
I personally dislike the amount of eating, singing, and general merriment that goes along with this movie, but I guess they had to add something into it to lengthen it to three hours. There is a fair bit of action, some fighting, but while Smaug's taking of the mountain is shown at the very beginning, Smaug fails to make an actual appearance in this movie. Perhaps they thought it would ruin the surprise, and want to only reveal him in the second, or perhaps, third installment. Seems a bit counterproductive to me, as this particular movie did not feature a huge amount of action, but as I am fond of saying, what the hell do I know? That having been said, there is a nice battle with goblins towards the end of the flick.
Worth a watch. Much like Fellowship of the Ring of the Lord of the Rings movies, the first part of The Hobbit is basically a set-up movie, to let you know what's going on and to get you involved in the backstory. So, once you've seen it, you can go "okay, now I wait 2 or 3 years til the next one comes out." And then another few years til the last one. Well. At least the actors involved have job security.
Before closing, I'd like to mention something. The word Hobbits is a bastardization of Hob, which is another word for Hobgoblin, which Tolkien, who wrote The Hobbit, is supposedly to have mistaken for a larger version of Goblin. It's actually a smaller, kindlier version. So, if you go simply by linguistic and folkloric origins, then, Hobbits are actually kindlier cousins of Goblins. Funny, isn't it? Makes you wonder if old Gandalf deduced their origins enough to realize they were related, and if so, then why did he decide to toss them into the mix, you think? Goblin wildcard? Just to see what would happen? Because he knew Goblins were hardy and clever and he was hoping their traits had been passed on to Hobbits? Makes you wonder, eh?
That's all for now! Next review, Prometheus!