The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  • Title:  The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug
  • Director:  Peter Jackson
  • Date:  2013
  • Studio:  New Line, MGM
  • Genre:  Action, Fantasy
  • Cast:  Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sylvester McCoy, Luke Evans and Stephen Fry.
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“You’ve changed, Bilbo Baggins, you’re not the same Hobbit that left the Shire.” – Gandalf

“I started this!  I cannot forsake them.  They are in grave danger.”  — Gandalf
“If what you say is true, the World is in grave danger.” – Radagast

“What have we done?” – Bilbo

There is an innate problem with any trilogy, especially a trilogy of films – and that is, the film often has no beginning and no ending.  The beginning, background, and set-up is all in the first film.  The resolution will be in the final film.  And sometimes, the middle film is very hard to judge without seeing the final film.  This seems to be especially true with Peter Jackson’s trilogies based on JRR Tolkien’s works, because Jackson takes the approach they are three long chapters of a single work.  An approach that, in the end, especially when the extended editions are included, worked for Lord of the Rings.

However, for The Desolation of Smaug, I find it very difficult to review the film on it’s own.  I suspect that the extended edition (to be released on Blu-ray next Tuesday 11/4/2014), may affect how I view the film, and the third film, The Hobbit:  The Battle of Five Armies, which is due in theaters in December 2014, will change my opinion further.  But I will say this – I didn’t hate it.  Overall, I felt the theater-version of The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug was “ok” to “good”, but not terrible.

Whereas, The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey emphasized that the Dwarves Quest was to return to their home, which made the film more universal and made it easier to emphasize with the characters and the whole point of the exercise; The Desolation of Smaug, rather like the book, emphasizes both adventure and a Quest for gold.  Often, the Tolkien’s works, Dwarves are seen as overly concerned with money:  gold, jewels, and treasures of the Earth.  This is certainly the case in The Desolation of Smaug, where Thorin seems to be not only motivated by returning to his ancestoral kingdom but by claiming the dragon’s horde of treasure to be found there.

The Desolation of Smaug is very episodic as a film; and each section often involves a lot of action, fighting, and special effects.  However, there seems to be little characterization amonst all the action, which is a pity.  In terms of characters, new ones are introduced:  Tauriel, a female Elf, who is a good fighter and who has a passion for hunting down Orcs (and possibly a crush on Legolas); Bard, a bargeman who’s raising three children on his own, and lives in Laketown (Esgaroth); The Master (played with relish by Stephen Fry) – the tyrannical dictator of Laketown.

The character of Tauriel, though completely non-canonical, I actually liked, especially the second time I watched the film, and on DVD.  She brings a freshness to the film, and I hope we see more of her in the third film.

Bard seems much more distrustful of the Dwarves and even seems to dislike them, once he figures out who they are.  However, he’s also interested in genuinely helping the people of Laketown, and seems to be the one in charge of attempting to rid the town of their rich and tyrannical Master.

Additions of new characters such as Tauriel, and the expansion of short sequences in the book into full-blown action scenes in the film, almost, at times, makes Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit seem like Fan Fiction.  I don’t mean that in a negative way.  But Tolkien created a very rich, and detailed world, and even, it’s said, felt it was OK for others to “play in his sandbox” as it were.  But regardless as to whether or not the author would have approved of the films – they really do feel like an expansion of Tolkien’s story and world.  This is especially true in the introduction of completely original characters, such as Tauriel, or the expansion of the roles of other characters, such as Legolas (who, as the son of King Thranduil might have been mentioned in The Hobbit novel, but he doesn’t have a major role.)  I love Tolkien’s books, especially The Lord of the Rings, so I don’t really have a problem with Peter Jackson’s additions.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Jackson had made The Hobbit first, and as a single film, prior to making Lord of the Rings, and how that might have gone, but we will never know.

The other aspect of The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug, that I found especially interesting – and I picked up on this more watching the DVD, than I had seeing the film in the theater a year ago, was the amount of foreshadowing of events in Lord of the Rings. Gandalf’s mission with Radagast to discover what is going on, and who the Necromancer is, leads directly into The Lord of the Rings, as does the marching of the Orcs.  When Bilbo briefly drops The Ring in Mirkwood and fights off a spider to get it back, then says “Mine,” as he grabs it – it is frightening because we know where that leads.  And even Bilbo, as he realizes what he’s does, seems startled by his own actions.  The spiders, also reference the confrontation between Sam and Frodo and Shelob (which is in The Two Towers novel, but in the film of The Return of the King).

Overall, the film was good – I did buy the DVD, after all – and I intend on buying the Extended Edition Blu-Ray (or possibly DVD if there is one).  And I certainly want to see the final film.  But I felt the first film of Jackson’s The Hobbit  trilogy was better.

Recommendation:  See It (for the spectacle at least).
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Next Film: The Prestige

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

  • Title:  The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey
  • Director:  Peter Jackson
  • Date:  2012
  • Studio:  Warner Brothers, New Line, MGM
  • Genre:  Fantasy, Action, Drama
  • Cast:  Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Sylvester McCoy, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, James Nesbitt, Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

 

“For he had seen dragonfire in the sky and a city turned to ash, and he never forgave and he never forgot.”  — Old Bilbo describing Thorin Oakenshield

“I’ve never used a sword in my life.” — Bilbo
“And I hope you never have to.  But if you do, remember this:  True courage is about knowing not when to take a life but when to spare one.”  — Gandalf

“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.  But that is not what I have found.  I found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the blackness at bay.  Simple acts of kindness and love.”  — Gandalf

The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey opens with old Bilbo (Ian Holm) reminiscing, speaking to Frodo, but only in his head as he goes through some of his old souvenirs of his adventures.  Bilbo’s narration includes the famous first line that Tolkien wrote about Hobbits, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…” and background information about the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the kingdom of Erebor.  When Frodo does arrive he brings in the mail, most of which are responses to Biblo’s birthday party — and Bilbo gives him the sign to hang on his garden gate, “No admittance except on Party business”.  The screen then transitions to the title card for “An Unexpected Journey” and young Bilbo (Martin Freeman).  This neatly ties The Hobbit in with the previous Lord of the Rings film trilogy.  JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first, then The Lord of the Rings which was so long, his publisher suggested publishing it in three volumes, which became:  The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.  Now, you can get LotR in either a single volume or in the traditional three-book version, and often it’s packaged in box sets with the prequel, The Hobbit.

In the Shire, Bilbo is standing around outside when Gandalf arrives and tries to talk Bilbo into accompanying him on an adventure.  Bilbo dismisses the idea.  Later, one by one, then in groups, a total of twelve Dwarves arrive at his Hobbit hole.  Finally, Thorin Oakenshield the Dwarven leader arrives, as does Gandalf.  The Dwarves are rather chaotic house-guests, but they tell Bilbo of their quest — to return to Erebor and re-claim their kingdom under the mountain from the dragon, Smaug.  Bilbo is reluctant.

The Dwarves sing, “The Song of the Misty Mountains”, their anthem, and each of the Dwarves stands to sing.  This somewhat convinces Bilbo, but when he gets a look at his “contract”  he’s shocked at all the ways he could die, and ultimately he refuses.

The next morning, Bilbo awakens and his home is sparkling.  He finds the contract, signs it, and runs out his door to join Gandalf and the Dwarves on an adventure.  As they travel, the scenery is beautiful and gorgeous.  Stunning, really.

One night, when they’ve stopped to camp, Balin fills Bilbo in on more of Thorin’s background.  His Grandfather and Father had attempted to re-take Moria which was filled with Orcs.  Not only did they face an horde of orcs, but a pale orc beheads the king, Thorin’s grandfather, and Thorin’s father runs off, driven mad by grief, anger, and fear.  The pale orc, Azog, also attacks Thorin, who defends himself  with an oaken branch.  Thorin rallies the Dwarves, but though they “win” the battle, the cost is much too high, with the piles of Dwarven dead on the battlefield, and the death of the Dwarves’ king.

Gandalf, Bilbo, and the Dwarves continue their journey in the rain.  Bilbo asks Gandalf about other wizards. Gandalf mentions Saruman the White, the two blues, and Radagast the Brown.  The film transitions to Radagast, who is investigating mysterious occurrences in the Greenwood.  Radagast travels by way of a sled pulled by rabbits.  The film transitions back to Thorin’s company.

Again, the Dwarves camp for the night.  Two ponies go missing.  Fili, Kili, and Bilbo investigate and find trolls.  While the trolls, are gross, stupid, and acting like the Three Stooges, Bilbo sneaks over to free the now four taken ponies.  Bilbo is caught and the trolls threaten to eat him.  Kili and the other Dwarves arrive to the rescue.  There’s a fight, but in the end, Bilbo is caught and the Dwarves have to put down their arms.  The trolls plan on eating the dwarves.  Bilbo tries to delay the trolls.  At dawn, Gandalf arrives and the sun turns the trolls to stone.  Bilbo’s playing for time had saved the Dwarves as much as Gandalf’s arrival, but Gandalf  has to point the fact out to Thorin.

The company finds the nearby troll hold of  treasure and weapons.  They discover three fine Elvish swords, Gandalf takes one, he gives Thorin another, and Bilbo takes a third, a knife that is just the right size for him to use as a sword.

Radagast arrives and tells Gandalf that a darkness has fallen on the Greenwood, and spiders have invaded it.  a dark power, the shadow of an ancient horror, the Necromancer is now there.  Wargs (giant wolf/dog-type animals) and orcs attack, and the ponies bolt.  Radagast draws off the Wargs.

Gandalf  leads the Dwarves to a secret passage, Thorin covers the retreat.  Suddenly, someone arrives and attacks the orcs, a group of Elves.  Gandalf  leads the Dwarves through the path and they arrive in Rivendell.

Elrond arrives, he is back from hunting Orcs.  Elrond and his Elves exhibit impressive horsemanship, and Elrond’s red-tinged armor is gorgeous!  Elrond greets Thorin by name, and by the names of his father and mentions knowing his grandfather.  The Elves offer the Dwarves food and shelter.  Thorin reluctantly accepts, still holding a grudge against Elves because they did not aid the Dwarves when Smaug attacked Erebor.

Elrond recognizes the Elvish swords that the Dwarves found, telling Thorin his is, Orcrist – the Goblin Cleaver, and he tells Gandalf, his is, Glamdring, the Foe Hammer.  Elrond tells them a little of the swords’ history.  Bilbo looks up with expectation, but he’s told his “sword” is too small to have done great deals, that it is probably a “dinner knife” or child’s toy.  The Dwarves are treated to a meal and music, but are uncomfortable.

Elrond explains the moon runes on Thorin’s map to Gandalf and Thorin.  Elrond discovers the company’s quest and refers to Gandalf as a “Guardian of Middle-Earth”.  Gandalf shows the Morgul blade to a council of  himself, Elrond, Galadriel, and Saruman, as proof of Radagast’s news that something is going on in the Greenwood.  Saruman dismisses this news, and Radagast himself, but Galadriel takes Gandalf more seriously and offers her help if he should ever need it.

The Dwarves leave Rivendell, and continue their journey.  On a black mountain cliff, in the rain, they wander into a battle between storm giants.  Bilbo nearly falls from the cliff.  In rescuing him, Thorin is nearly lost.  In a fit of anger, he tells Bilbo, “He’s been lost, ever since he left home.  He should never have come.  He has no place amongst us.”  The Dwarves move into a cave to rest.  Bilbo’s about to leave, to go home, but he talks to Bofur who convinces him to stay, then his sword glows blue – indicating orcs or goblins nearby.  The company is attacked by goblins (orcs).  The Dwarves are captured, but Bilbo is over-looked and left alone.  There, he is attacked by a goblin and fights, then falls down a cavern.

The captured Dwarves are brought to the Goblin king.  Thorin comes to defend the Dwarves.  The goblin king threatens to send Thorin’s head to the pale orc.

Bilbo wakes in the dark.  He sees Gollum.  Gollum loses the ring while attacking a goblin, which he drags back to his underground pond to kill and eat.
Bilbo finds the ring, and pockets it.
Once Gollum has killed the goblin, Bilbo’s sword ceased to glow blue.  He and Gollum meet. Slowly Bilbo and Gollum get into a game of riddles.  Biblo asks Gollum to show him the way out if he wins, and if  he loses, Gollum wants to eat him.  Gollum alternates between his “Gollum” and “Smeagol” personalities throughout the scenes between he and Bilbo.  It’s extremely well done!

Since Bilbo wins the game, Gollum must show him the way out.  Gollum also realises with a panic that he’s lost his precious, and also realises that Bilbo has it in his “pocketses”.

Gandalf arrives to rescue Thorin and his Dwarves.

Bilbo escapes a wrathful Gollum by squeezing through a tight passage in the rock – so tight the brass button pop off  his waistcoat (or vest).  The ring falls on his finger and he’s dropped into “wraithworld” without warning or understanding.

Fighting the goblins, the Dwarves and Gandalf move to escape but they are confronted by the goblin king.  Gandalf defeats him.  The Dwarves and Gandalf, however, fall off a wooden bridge, into a cavern and land in a heap.  They run for the exit.

Bilbo, in the wraithworld, sees the Dwarves running by, who, naturally don’t notice him.  Bilbo is unable to kill the helpless and pathetic Gollum.  This will be very important later, in The Lord of the Rings, where Bilbo’s mercy has great consequences.  Bilbo runs for the exit, and Gollum doesn’t really know what’s happened.

In the woods, Gandalf counts the Dwarves, sees they are all there, then asks after Bilbo.  Bilbo takes the ring off and appears.  Wargs and orcs attack, Bilbo kills a warg.  The company escapes into the trees.  Gandalf speaks to a Monarch butterfly to call for help.  Azog arrives.  Gandalf attacks the wargs with fire, setting pine-cones alight and throwing them.  Bilbo and the Dwarves also throw flaming pine cones at the wargs.  But the forest of trees bursts into flame and the Dwarves nearly fall off  the cliff.  Walking through the pale trees, Thorin attacks Azog, the pale orc.  Azog strikes back and knocks Thorin out.

Bilbo attacks the orc sent to take Thorin’s head and kills the orc.  The Eagles arrive to rescue the Dwarves.  The Eagles attack the wargs and orcs.  One eagle picks up the still unconscious Thorin in his talons.  All, including Bilbo, are rescued.  The eagles carry everyone to a rocky cliff face at the top of a mountain.  Gandalf goes to check on Thorin and heals him.  Thorin is grateful to Bilbo for saving him, and admits to being wrong about him.  From the cliff, they can see Erebor, the Lonely Mountain.  Under the mountain, is Smaug.

I enjoyed The Hobbit.  Yes, it is a long film, and  there are several complex action sequences, as one would expect from Peter Jackson.  But the emphasis and heart of the film is the characters, especially, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin.  Tolkien’s original novel is only about 300 pages, and it’s a straight-forward, there-and-back again tale of adventure.  So, I wondered how Jackson was going to take that and make first, two films, and later, it was announced, a new trilogy of films. However, one of the things he does in An Unexpected Journey is he changes the emphasis of the Dwarves’ quest from one for gold — the gold horded by the dragon, to a quest to re-take their home.  Making the quest about home means it’s easier to identify with the entire story, and it gives Bilbo a reason to accompany the Dwarves on their quest.  He tells Thorin that he has a home but he will help Thorin take his home back, if he can.  Bilbo can understand and emphasize with Thorin’s quest to take back his home.  I’m hoping 2013’s The Desolation of Smaug will also be as good, though I have no doubts that it will be.  Anyway, this film is excellent, highly enjoyable, and highly recommended.

New Zealand again plays Middle-Earth, and the scenery is stunning, absolutely stunning. Howard Shore’s score, which I was anticipating last year almost as much as the film itself, is perfect.  It’s new, but has a quality that lets you know this is the same Middle-Earth as in Lord of the Rings, though a younger, more innocent time, with only a hint of the darkness to come.  And the Dwarves’ choral piece, “Song of the Misty Mountains” is beautiful, I really loved it.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars
Next Film:  Cloud Atlas

Original 2012 Reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I saw The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey last night.  I bought my ticket about 1:00pm, then did other stuff, including dinner with Mom & Dad at a new restaurant near the movie theater, Kitchen 67 by Brann’s, in short, dinner was OK.  The showing was at 8:30pm last night in the largest individual theater in my local multiplex – and it was a sold out show.

In short, the film is awesome – Peter Jackson really does have another hit on his hands, and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next two films, since Jackson has somehow turned “The Hobbit” into a trilogy.

The three most developed characters were: Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield son of Thrain (Richard Armitage) and Gandalf (Ian McKellan).  All the actors are excellent in their parts.  Martin Freeman, whom I know from Sherlock (where he played Dr. John Watson), spends much of his time looking confused and bemused — something Martin Freeman is particularly good at.  However, though the Dwarves underestimate him, Bilbo has strange courage when pushed and he’s loyal despite being ignored, treated as baggage, and even scolded.

Thorin is played by Richard Armitage (whom I know from the BBC’s recent Robin Hood TV series – the one with Jonas Armstrong as Robin) and he’s fantastic!  For one thing, even under all the hair, make-up, and costuming — Armitage is gorgeous, and as he’s very much the hero in the film, he gets several “heroic poses” shots, which I must admit got my attention in the theater last night.  But Armitage brings a real strength and gravitas to the part.  He doesn’t “ham it up” — and with him in the role Thorin becomes more likable.  No longer is this simply a group of Dwarves out for gold — it’s a group of thirteen wanderers in search of a home.  The parellel with the Lost Tribes of Israel popped into my head in the theater and just wouldn’t go away.

Ian McKellan’s Gandalf returns, whom most viewers of the film will remember from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Also returning for a scene in Rivendell are:  Cate Blanchet as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Christopher Lee as Saruman.  Somehow they managed to make Hugo Weaving look a little younger — and I love his “hunting uniform” as we first encounter him when he and a group of Elves hunt and kill Orcs and wargs, thus saving Thorin, Bilbo, and their troop.  Though at the time neither really realises what’s happened, and who’s saved who.  Christopher Lee seems threatening and dark here (as Saruman), though at this point in the overall story everyone trusts him, including Gandalf.  I actually liked Cate Blanchet better this time around, and her psychic conversations with Gandalf were actually effective storytelling. And they were cool!

New to the story (besides Thorin and his Dwarves) is the wonderful Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, one of the five Wizards entrusted with the care of Middle-Earth.  I loved it that when Bilbo asked about other Wizards, Gandalf said:  ”The head of our order is Saruman the White, then there’s two Blue Wizards but I can’t remember their names, and there’s Radagast the Brown, he’s ‘odd’ – prefers the company of animals over people.” (I’m probably paraphrasing a bit)  But I love that Gandalf says there’s these other two Wizards but he doesn’t know their names.  Tolkien actually never named the other two Wizards, though the fact that their were five of them originally is mentioned more than once in the canon of the books (both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings).  Sylvester is barely recognizable under his costume, and I now understand his comments at Chicago TARDIS about it — it is off-putting and even a bit gross (with the bird poo in his hair and the bird nest that he’s wearing almost as a hat).  But that aside, he still has that sense of strangeness and alien-ness that worked so well in Doctor Who.  The scene where he’s using magic to save a hedge-hog is wonderful.  In the books, Radagast is barely mentioned, here he doesn’t have a large part, but he’s important… breaking messages to Gandalf.

The novel, The Hobbit:  There and Back Again, was a pre-quel to Lord of the Rings, and it came out first. The two stories are connected by the Ring, Bilbo, and some other re-occurring characters, as well as being in the same universe of Middle-Earth.  I’ve read Lord of the Rings countless times.  I first read in in seventh grade, when I found the books in my junior high school library, and I read it about every three years since.  When Jackson’s LotR Trilogy came out that switched to every year, as I wanted to see where the films diverged from the books.  The Hobbit I’ve only read two or three times, as I’ve always preferred LotR.  The Hobbit has always seemed to be more of a children’s book, as well as a straight-forward adventure tale (literally “There and Back Again” — Bilbo gets involved in a quest for treasure, he has a series of adventures, he comes home safe).  There are some memoriable scenes in the book, but really… LotR, which came out later, is much better, deeper, more complex, and transcends it’s “fantasy” label and genre.

I knew Ian Holm was going to be in the Hobbit film, but that Martin Freeman would play “young Bilbo”, so I was expecting some sort of “flashback” opening.  The film starts with Bilbo narrating a rather long narration of the history of Thrain (Thorin’s father), Thorin and the Dwarves.  I rather liked it because it gives the audience more background on Thorin and makes him more sympathetic and more of a hero.  Eventually, we see Bilbo addressing Frodo (Elijah Wood) as he starts writing in his journal.  Frodo arrives with the mail (post) and mentions they are replies to the party invitations.  Bilbo hands Frodo a sign to hang on his door, and as Frodo nails it up, we see it says “No Admittance Except on Party Business”, this neatly places this scene just before the opening in the Shire in Fellowship of the Ring (after that film’s prologue), the film then transitions 60 Years Ago to Bilbo’s adventure (and the sub-title comes up).  I loved the way the transition was done, technically, visually, and as an opening of the plot, so I won’t spoil it.

There is a lot of humor in The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey, a bit more than I was expecting.  The acting was really, really good, too.  Visually, the film is stunning (Honestly, New Zealand is just stunning!). I also liked the switch in emphasis from the Dwarves looking for gold to the Dwarves wanting to return to their lost homeland.  ”The Song of the Lonely Mountain”, which was used in the previews, under-scores the film and it’s gorgeous!  The scene in Bag End, where the Dwarves sing their song, each standing one at a time and joining in, was almost like watching people singing their own National Anthem (and brings to mind a similar scene in Casablanca where everyone sings La Marseilles).  It also reminded me of something I had actually seen happen in a pub in Ireland, where someone started singing the Irish National Anthem (tho’ I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) — the pub got deadly quiet, everyone stood, and everyone joined in. Anyway, it’s a wonderful scene in the film, and I think it’s part of what convinces Bilbo to join in on the adventure, though he initially says “no”.

The Hobbit the novel is the prequel book to The Lord of the Rings, and it was written and published first. However, Peter Jackson’s film was filmed and produced AFTER the very popular Oscar-winning (among other awards) Lord of the Rings Trilogy of films.  Movie-making logic suggests that sequels need to be bigger, more exciting, and more awesome than the original.  Yet, Tolkien’s book, having come first is smaller in scope.  I’ve already mentioned how it seems more like a children’s book and it has a straight-forward, there-and-back plot.  Initially, when news broke of a Peter Jackson film of the Hobbit, and the news broke as “two films” my first thought was “How?”  And, as we now know, Jackson is planning a trilogy.  Again, How?  The original story is much shorter, and doesn’t seem to have enough material for two films, let alone three.  My cynical thought was “Jackson overshot the movie”.  However, this is Peter Jackson, who, though he loves his action sequences (and The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey has plenty), also has a way of writing his characters, expanding their parts, and making the outline of the story better.  I do think it’s odd, The Hobbit, could have been one film, but Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, could have each been two films, if The Hobbit had been filmed first, as one would have expected.  That the stories are switched is going to have a interesting effect on the complete storyline.  I almost wonder if Jackson’s long-range plan is to re-do LotR as six films after The Hobbit Trilogy is complete in theaters.  (If you haven’t read LotR it is six books, split into three parts — each a separate book, plus an appendix).

Anyway, the film was awesome, I highly encourage everyone to see it!