Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.

So, last night the wife and I went to see Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the 1982 ZX Spectrum text adventure game The Hobbit

Thing I liked:

I was pretty impressed with the high frame rate: as you may recall, in the source material it could take upwards of 30 seconds to render a frame so this was a distinct improvement. I was also pleased with how the story was by and large faithful to that of the game, right down to the running time being about the same as it would take to get to the same point on the first playthrough.

Things I didn’t like:

What I didn’t understand was the inexplicable decision to add all the extra dwarf characters. Now, I understand that Jackson didn’t have to work within the constraints of a 48k RAM pack, but I think that all the extra dwarves caused the film to lose some of the clarity that the game enjoyed with just Thorin along for the ride.

It would also have been pleasing for the film to have reflected some of the  common techniques employed by players. For example as most veteran Hobbit players know, a good way to avoid starvation in the game is to issue the command “CARRY ELROND” whilst in Rivendell. In the game Elrond is a caterer whose primary function is to give you lunch and if you carry him then he will continue to supply you with food throughout the game. It would have been a nice nod to fans if Martin Freeman had given Hugo Weaving a piggy back ride throughout the second half. Still, you can’t have everything.

Anyway, gripes aside I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the second film where I expect Bilbo and the party will go north only to find that the place is too full for them to enter.