For many, many years–ever since I was a kid, actually–I’ve been a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It’s one of my favorite books, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. I really enjoyed the TV film version from the Seventies, and when I grew up and had kids, I made sure to get a copy so I could show them (they loved it, too, by the way). Likewise, my kids and I (as well as my wife, Joni) devoured every minute of the Lord of the Rings films (yes, of course, we got the Extended Editions–why would you even ask such a thing? You ought to know that my geekery knows no bounds).
So you might think I’d be thrilled that a film version of The Hobbit, done by the same folks (more or less) as did the LOTR movies, will be opening in December of this year. And I am. Mostly. But part of me is a bit….well…somewhere between “concerned” and “dismayed.” I’m not pressed about the single book being split into three movies, with extra material from Tolkien added: to a Rings geek like me, bonus stuff inspired by the Prof is a feature, not a bug. No, here’s what bothers me (click on photo for proper view):
They’re the dwarves with whom Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit, is recruited to tag along with on their quest to recover their lost gold. For the most part, they look fairly much like dwarves from the Ring films. But some of them don’t. Specifically, these two guys:
…and this guy…
…especially when you compare them to these guys…
…and these guys:
So why do I feel like those three don’t look like dwarves? Well:
- Beards. Duh. Dwarves–in the Ring films and books and fairy tales–have beards, often fairly large. The first two guys (Fili and Kili are the characters’ names) have very short beards that any real-life, human guy would walk around with. Yes, I get that they’re supposed to be younger dwarves, but with beards that short, especially compared to the others, they don’t look like dwarves to me. The same thing applies (to a lesser extent) to the third dwarf, who is Thorin Oakenshield, their leader.
- Proportions. Dwarves are supposed to be short (obviously) but brawny. It’s hard to make human actors look squat and stumpy like a dwarf ought to be, but the costumers mostly succeed. Except for the three I’ve mentioned. To me, they don’t look like “dwarves,” they look like regular guys: notice their slim builds and faces and long limbs.
- Hair. Some of the other dwarves are bald or balding. Some have shaggy manes. One has white hair, some are greying. The three I’ve picked out have hair like those guys you see working the Renn Faire (the same guys who’ll hit on anything remotely female, human or not, but that’s another issue).
- Too handsome. Look at the faces of the other dwarves: not a looker among them, as it should be. Dwarves live hard lives and it shows on their faces: at best, they’re supposed to look “rough” and “grizzled.” These three pretty boys? They could sell magazines. Dwarves are supposed to be many things: “sexy” is not one of them.
Perhaps I’m quibbling. Perhaps post-production will make all the dwarves look…well, properly dwarvish. I’ll still see the movie, of course. But if any of those three try to hit on my wife and daughters the next time we go to Renn Faire, I’ll get medieval on them.