Book vs Movie: The Hobbit


 Who loves J.R.R. Tolkien? (Come on Middle Earth fans, raise your hands).

Now, who has read the Hobbit book? How about seen all three movies? How about even both? I can tell you that I have both read and seen The Hobbit, and can personally tell you that they are NOT the same (as expected). However, there were some things that I was pleased and disappointed in for both the book and the movie.

Firstly, the first movie versus the first part of the book. This movie, subtitled “An Unexpected Journey,” was one that I was very impressed with. It followed the book extremely well (better than most movies) and those scenes that were added in, they were extremely funny and/or transitioned into an important scene better than the book explained it. In fact, I was very impressed when they incorporated the line that both one of the dwarfs and Gandalf say (“Out of the frying pan…and into the fire”), which is the title of the chapter that has the scene in the book. I was also happy when the movie makers also put in one of my favorite parts (the song) in the movie, and the scenes were very accurately dramatized. Although I hate the part of adding Orcs in (there are no Orcs in the book), it really accurately leads up to Lord of the Rings, which is what it’s supposed to do. However, Gladriel is not supposed to be the movie. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit before the Lord of the Rings books, but they were published the other way around. Tolkien also grew up in an all boys school, so he never was really around girls, and thusly never put them into his earlier stories. However, Gladriel does open up a scene in a later movie, so I’ll appreciate that. Also, in the book, the dwarfs seemed like they were parading around, so I’m glad that the movie makers changed it to the dwarves acting more secretive.

Next, second part of book versus the second movie, subtitled “Desolation of Smaug.” Many of the scenes do actually happen, although I greatly dislike the whole Kili and lady elf romance thing. First of all, there are no ladies in the book, and second of all, it wasn’t going to last because Kili dies at the end of the book. Also, the whole Gandalf going to the castle was made up, but it does make a lot of sense, explaining where Gandalf went and who was the so called Necromancer whose named popped up sometimes in the book. In the book, Gandalf just randomly says that he’s leaving, while in the movie, he’s actually got a purpose (although rumor says that the whole story of Gandalf going to the Necromancer’s place is actually a side short story that Tolkien just never published, along with some other fillers in the movies). But I also feel that some scenes were too overdrawn, such as Kili getting shoot with a poison arrow, and Legolas liking someone ( he also doesn’t show up in the book).

And finally, the third part of the book versus the third movie, subtitled “The Battle of the Five Armies.” Spoilers for those who haven’t watched it! Personally, after I watched the second movie, I was wondering how the movie makers were going to do a hundred pages in a two and a half hour movie, but it seems like they did. I’ll start with the things I liked. I liked how they really emphasized the dragon’s curse: greed. Especially with Thorin, who definitely has it in the book. Next, in the book, they just suddenly introduce Bard, and five pages later, he kills the dragon, whereas in the movie, they introduce Bard, and you get to like him, and then he kills the dragon, so I like the movie better. Also, the chapter in the book where Bard kills Smaug is titled “Fire and Ice”, but I didn’t get why it was called that until I saw the movie, where Smaug is raging fire over Laketown, which is in the middle of winter and has ice caps in the rivers. Also, I liked how they introduced Gladriel’s real side, because I never knew that about her (in case you guys are wondering, Gladriel’s usual look is magic; her real side is shown in the third movie, and she looks scary).  Finally, I liked that they used The Hobbit end scene with the Hobbits taking his stuff very well, and I also like how the battle was done, which is more explained in what I dislike.

Now for what I dislike: Although I like how they lengthened the battle and showed how the main characters who died in the book die (unlike the book, which gives the whole battle scene less than five whole pages), I dislike how they overextended it! The killing of Smaug only took twenty minutes, even though it was a whole chapter, whereas a five page battle scene took over an hour. Also, why did the orcs and trolls take two whole armies?! In the book, the five armies are the humans, elves, dwarfs, then on the other side, wargals and goblins. Although I liked it better as a battle for the strategic  placeholder (movie) then as a chasing after hobbits for invaded our territory (book), I want the five armies to stay the same, or at least bring back the goblins that you introduced in the first movie! Additionally on the too drawn out, we get it, it was a battle, at least SHORTEN IT! And finally, there is great part in the first movie where Nori and some other dwarfs bury treasure from the trolls in order to get it back later. This happens in the book, and in the end of the book, Bilbo and Gandalf do get back. I wish that they put that in the movie, maybe even by cutting down some battle time!

But anyways, if you’ve watched the movie and haven’t read the book, or vice versa, please do!

-Megan V., grade 9

Book Review: The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

bar_code_tattooIndividuality Vs, Conformity

Identity Vs. Access

Freedom Vs. Control

These are things that Kayla will have to choose. Her entire world is changed with the bar code tattoo that is supposed to make your life easier and become your identity. She refuses to get one thinking how weird it is to be able to be scanned like a box of cereal and just be a bar code. She thinks nothing of it. Slowly, the bar code tattoo turns her into an outcast and her family falls apart. Both are linked to the bar code. She learns of the secrets of the tattoo and why it is so dangerous. Soon she has no choice but to run.

This is a book that is hard to explain. I found it easy to read but it has lots of meaning hidden in the lines of this book. It talks a lot about being like others and conforming to be like others and how people can be controlled. There is also the theme of trying to find oneself. There is not much development in the characters, which I wished for more of, but the main characters is portrayed as well. There is some more mature themes presented in the book so I would recommend it to older readers. If I had to give it a rating it would be 7/10. The Bar Code Tattoo is written quite well but lacks in several areas, including description and originality of plot.

This is only what I think, so read for yourself to decide.

– Sarah J., 9th grade


Authors We Love: Andrew Clements

Andrew_Clements_cropOne of my all-time favorite authors is Andrew Clements. Clements has written a variety of genres, including mystery and realistic fiction. Though some of his novels are a quick, easy read, others are longer and more elaborate. Below, I have summarized a few of my favorites:

Recently, I read the fast and fun novel Keepers of the School: We the Children. This is the first book in Andrew Clements’s newest series, Keepers of the School. In this novel, Benjamin Pratt finds the school janitor with a broken ankle. Upon the brink of death, the janitor gives Ben a special coin that had been passed down through generations of janitors. The coin has mysterious writing, which commands Ben to defend his school. Ben’s school is being remodeled into an amusement park, which seemed great at first, but the writing on the coin makes him think twice about it. With mixed feelings, Benjamin decides to protect the school at all costs. Who should be trusted, and who should be avoided? Read Keepers of the School: We the Children to find out. Warning: this is a wonderful book, but be sure to have the next few novels in the series at hand- it goes quickly and is a MAJOR cliffhanger!

Another fascinating book by Andrew Clements is Things Not Seen. Things Not Seen is a longer and more advanced novel than We the Children. This book describes how Bobby Philips, a regular 15-year-old boy, has a little shocker when he wakes up on a seemingly normal day. When Bobby looks in the mirror, to his surprise, he is invisible! Bobby and his parents are completely puzzled, and Bobby is not allowed to leave the house with his “condition.” After his parents are in an accident, Bobby decides to bundle up and leave the house. He meets a blind girl named Alicia, and she becomes Bobby’s only friend in his state of invisibility. Bobby’s school begins to become dangerously suspicious of his long absence, and suspect his parents did something to him. To clear his parents’ name, Bobby and his newfound friend encounter many close calls while searching for a solution to his problem. How is this mess resolved? Read the exciting trials and errors of Bobby Philips’s adventures to discover the answer.

These are just a few of the amazing books written by Andrew Clements. I have read many of his books, and love everything he has written. Hopefully, you too will pick up one of his intriguing books and be drawn into the world of Andrew Clements!

-Alaina K., 6th Grade