I changed my mind about reviewing The Hobbit. More specifically, I was convinced by my buddy Zach to write a big spoiler-y review of the book. Well, this probably won't live up to his expectations, but I'll do my best.
Before I begin, how about some news about the upcoming films?
A brief recap of the book: Bilbo is a Hobbit who really just likes to stay in his Hobbit-Hole and stick his thumb out to the world. Gandalf pays him a visit, and Bilbo is really rude and tells him to piss off. Gandalf has other plans, and leaves some markings on Bilbo's front door - markings that actually end up calling a party of thirteen dwarves to Bilbo's home for An Unexpected Party, which also leads to An Unexpected Journey - to recover stolen treasure from Smaug the Dragon, who lives in the Lonely Mountain beyond Mirkwood.
Deep breath - that was a bit of a mouthful. Okay, continuing: along the way Bilbo and his friends run into several small bothers (including but not limited to Trolls, Goblins, weird elves, and Smaug himself. Also, Bilbo just happens to find a magic ring that makes everything a heck of a lot easier for him. He plays a riddle game with Gollum, which is probably about the most interesting part of the book. Oh wait, I'm still summing it up.
Anyway, Bilbo has a long talk with Smaug, and discovers his weak spot - which is relayed to the men in Lake-Town (or whatever it's called), and Smaug ends up getting killed by the men. They're not too happy with the Dwarves, because in the process, their entire village was destroyed. So they march off to the Lonely Mountain with the intent of taking some sweet, sweet treasure. Eventually the Goblins and their giant wolves (called "Wargs" here) come to kill everyone and there is a giant battle involving Five Armies. Bilbo falls unconcious and does nothing of real consequence, and wakes up when it's all over so he can go back home.
As I was reading, I had heard about the Battle of the Five Armies, and was assuming it would be a Pretty Big Deal once I got to it. But in the same sense that Bilbo barely aided in the defeat of Smaug, all he did was get knocked on the head and wake up. The battle occurred without his help or hinderance. Which leads to me saying that the riddle game with Gollum in the Goblin caves was probably the most interesting part of the book.
It was okay, and at least now I see where Peter Jackson is going to fill all his time in the movies. Obviously, the Battle of the Five Armies will take up most of the second film; but also there's mention of the White Council in the end of the book (really, it's one sentence), and you can bet they'll expand upon that. I think they could easily condense this book into 1 three-hour film, instead of two three-hour films.