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The Hobbit Review


Weak
Given the ability of cinema to ruin almost any book, it has always been comforting that a few books were considered unfilmable. Until recently, The Lord of the Rings was apparently one of those books. Two animated versions for children were produced in the late 1970s, but both were unsuccessful and ignored even by the legions of fanatics. In spite of the new trilogy's blockbuster potential, filmmakers forbore to make a Lord of the Rings movie for decades, until finally emboldened by recent technology.

Regardless of whether the upcoming Lord of the Rings turns out to be a cinematic milestone, the point is that there are probably some books, whether unfilmable or not, which should remain un-filmed. Even the inoffensive animated version of The Hobbit by Rankin/Bass, which was a lot easier to produce than the forthcoming live-action trilogy will be, illustrates why adapting popular books to movies is rarely successful. The storyline of The Hobbit (Bilbo Baggins goes on trip, finds ring, kills dragons, etc.) is not so powerful that it demands to be retold. And in spite of a good cast of voices and decent animation, the animated film adds nothing to the book. This is usually the case, because the best qualities of books are not the best qualities of movies.

Continue reading: The Hobbit Review

The War Of The Worlds (1953) Review


Excellent
Though he died more than 50 years ago, novelist H.G. Wells was a visionary, and many of his visions have stayed with us. A utopian and socialist, Wells nevertheless wrote dark books that were out of step with the progressive mood of his time. (For example, in The Time Machine he offers a rosy picture of the future - where one half of the human race eats the other half as food.)

Wells was one of the inventors of science fiction, and perhaps the first writer to think about just how bad an alien invasion could be. His novel The War of the Worlds was so effective that a generation later, the radiocast by Orson Welles convinced many Americans for a few hours that the invasion was real.

Continue reading: The War Of The Worlds (1953) Review

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