Get Ready For The Change

You might have noticed that, after almost 10 years, Disney is finally bringing The Hobbit to the big screen. While it’s incredible that we’re finally going to get to see Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle-earth, it’s also sad that it’s being released as a direct competitor to J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic. If you’ve been meaning to see Tolkien’s masterpiece, now might be the perfect opportunity.

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between the two films. Instead, you can see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which features the extended battle between Gandalf the White and the Necromancer from the original The Hobbit. Additionally, the new film includes material from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. As a result, fans of Tolkien’s work can get all of the content they need in one place.

Check Out Both Versions

Depending on when you want to see the films, you’ll need to decide which one you want to watch. If you want to see the newer, extended cut, you’ll need to get your hands on a digital copy of The Hobbit, preferably through one of the major bookstore chains. In the case of The Lord of the Rings, you can legally download the entire trilogy by clicking on this link. Finally, for those interested in reading The Silmarillion, there’s now an entire trilogy of novels available — or you can get the whole shebang in one handy eBook. 

When selecting your ticket, make sure to get the right one. If digital, download copies of the films are your thing, then the IMAX versions are perfect. If you want to see the classic 70mm version with the sounds and the atmosphere, then the standard versions are for you. Both films look incredible, but the newer, extended cut just makes everything better. It really is an amazing accomplishment what Peter Jackson and his team have pulled off with this remake.

For those who haven’t read or seen Tolkien’s works, here’s a quick summary of what they are about:

  • The Hobbit: A Hobbit trilogy that will tell the story of Bilbo Baggins and the adventures he encounters during his quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the Dragon. The Hobbit was first published in 1937 and was followed by The Lord of the Rings in 1954 and The Silmarillion in 1977.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Lord of the Rings is the culmination of J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnum opus, which he began planning in the early 1930s. It is the story of Frodo Baggins, whose quest to destroy the one ring leads him to confront a vast array of mystical creatures and ancient evil and eventually triumph. The Lord of the Rings was first published in three volumes between November of 1951 and May of 1954.
  • The Silmarillion: A quest for immortality leads the last and greatest of the Elves, Aragorn, to undertake a perilous journey to the Lonely Mountain to destroy the One Ring and then vanquish the enemies that threaten Aman (Elves’ home). It was originally published as a serialized novel in the UK magazine All Things Fantasy in the August of 1977. The Silmarillion was later reissued in a single volume in 1977.

If you have a general idea of what the films are about, then all of the above should make perfect sense. If you’re wondering what on earth Tolkien’s works have to do with space or with aliens, then maybe watch one of the films first and then you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on. Finally, if you want to see what all the hubbub is about then get yourself a ticket to the premiere!

Know Your Limits

While it would be magnificent to see every single one of Tolkien’s works produced by Disney, the studio might not be able to do so. The rights to adapt The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are owned by New Line Cinema (formerly known as Turner Network Television), while the rights to adapt The Silmarillion are held by Warner Bros. As a result, these films could never be produced by Disney, even if they wanted to. Fortunately, they don’t, and it’s great that Peter Jackson and the crew at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have embraced the opportunity to produce these films and bring them to the big screen.

While you might be excited about finally being able to see one of Tolkien’s legendary works on the big screen, it’s also important to consider what you’ve seen before and what you might want to avoid. Since these are adaptations of already existing works, you know that they’re going to be somewhat similar to the books and, in some cases, even more so. If you’ve never read Tolkien’s works, then just know that you’re probably going to like them, but if you’ve enjoyed the films, then perhaps it’s not the best idea to read the books. Instead, you might want to wait for the adaptations to appear on screen before you get your hands on a copy.

Take Your Time

It might be a good idea to take your time and read the books one by one. If you’re new to Tolkien’s work, then just read whatever strikes your fancy first. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been turned into numerous TV shows and games, so there’s no shortage of content to choose from. Additionally, many books have been released that contain critical information about Tolkien’s work and his life, so you won’t be short on reading material if you decide to go down this road. Finally, while you might be tempted to rush into reading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings because you want to see the films soon, taking your time and being patient might be the better option. The experience of reading Tolkien’s wonderful works might be all the more rewarding if you take the time to do it right.

Treat Yourself

One of the best things about the success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is that it has given birth to something of an industry. While Jackson and his team were busy putting the final touches on the two installments of The Hobbit, they also had to deal with the sudden demand for Peter Jackson–themed presents. As a result, the filmmaker has become somewhat of a superstar, with numerous products and souvenirs bearing his likeness appearing on store shelves worldwide. In the case of The Lord of the Rings, the popularity of the movies has led to an entire chapter of books in the popular Encyclopedia of Medieval Fantasy, as well as a ride at Universal Studios that re-creates some of the events that happen in the films. 

If you’re really motivated, you could treat yourself by buying all of the above– whether it’s a movie ticket, a book, or a spoon. And don’t forget, for those who love Tolkien’s works, the option to see them on the big screen is something to look forward to. Even if you’ve seen the films before, the chance to revisit the world of Tolkien is something that might draw you back. Moreover, knowing that Jackson and his team were able to adapt The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings might open up the possibility for more films down the road. We can’t exclude the fact that Disney might be tempted to produce other adaptations of their acclaimed works – especially since they’ve gained the rights to do so. At any rate, after almost a decade of waiting, we’re finally going to get to see what Peter Jackson and his team have been cooking up – and perhaps we’ll get to see more in the future.