"Far o'er the Misty Mountains coldThe Rankin/Bass adaptation of The Hobbit has an animesque style similar to their adaptation of The Last Unicorn. It might have to do with the fact it was animated by Topcraft, which would later make Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind . It also has a lot of Celebrity Voice Actors, including John Huston as Gandalf.Released for television in 1977 and followed up by R-B's adaptation of The Return of the King.
To dungeons deep and caverns old...
We must away, ere break of day
To seek the pale, enchanted gold!"
To dungeons deep and caverns old...
We must away, ere break of day
To seek the pale, enchanted gold!"
Provides examples Of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Generally, the movie does a very nice job boiling down the novel into a good seventy minute movie, and some of the voicework is absolutely legendary (particularly Orson Bean as Bilbo, the aforementioned John Huston as Gandalf, Brother Theodore as Gollum, and Richard Freaking Boone as Smaug).
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
- The first meeting with the wood elves was left out... and then alluded to in the second meeting as "the wood elves had returned."
- Since the Arkenstone is never mentionned, Bilbo is sent in the mountain to steal... something, anything (he opts for a small cup). How this was supposed to help the Dwarves retake Erebor is anyone's guess.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted with the wood elves, who are described as beautiful in Tolkien's writings, but here are shown as ugly and having green skin. Elrond and his elves remain fair.
- Adaptational Villainy: The trolls are far more menacing and much more intelligent, having their decision over how to cook them not be an argument but each following their own personal preference.
- Adapted Out: The stone giants, the Master of Laketown, Roäc the raven, Bolg, and, most notably, Beorn are omitted. Dáin is mentioned but does not appear. Also, the Arkenstone is omitted, and Gandalf never mentions the Necromancer.
- All There in the Manual: Just like in the book, The Elvenking's real name, Thranduil, is never mentioned.
- An Aesop: The film's theme song, "The Greatest Adventure".The man who's a dreamer, and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain
Who sits by the window will one day see rain
- Animated Adaptation: of the book.
- Animesque: Virtually all the animators and one of the two character designers were Japanese, some of whom went to work for Miyazaki so this may actually be more half-Anime than pseudo-Anime Animesque.
- Aside Comment: "Personally, I'd rather be back in Hobbiton."
- Audible Sharpness: Sting. And how!!
- Badass Adorable: Bilbo establishes himself as one when he killed Giant Spider for the first time, and named his blade Sting since then. Then he rescues the dwarves from other giant spiders, kills some more of the spiders, and rescues the dwarves again from the wood-elves. Too bad he doesn't participate in the Battle of the Five Armies, though it's pretty accurate to the book as well.
- Badass Baritone / Badass Boast: Smaug.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: Gandalf.
- Call-Forward: A line added just for the animated version has Gandalf cheekily commenting that Bilbo's story has "the ring of truth to it", making it obvious Gandalf knows Bilbo omitted the part of finding the One Ring.
- Cephalothorax: The Goblins. Less so in The Return of the King. Canonically, the Chief Goblin could bite your head off.
- Chromosome Casting: Just like in the book, there is not a single woman to be found in this story − not even a nameless, background character.
- Cue the Sun: The film makes it looks like Gandalf summoned the Sun.
- Death by Adaptation: More of the Company die in the film, including Bombur. At the end there are only six left alive.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Bilbo smokes a pipe.
- Dragon Hoard: Smaug sleeps on his treasure as if it were a bed.
- Enemy Mine: Explicitly parodied at the end of the film.Gandalf: Dread has come upon you all! An army of Goblins with claim to the treasure comes from the north! Behold! They ride upon wolves!
Thorin: Oh, great Elf-king! My truest friend and ally! We must join forces against this common scourge!
Thranduil: But... of course... o noble King under the Mountain. Your people are like brothers unto mine.
Bard: And my Men and all their weapons are as one with yours. Together, we shall vanquish the foul foe!
Bilbo: (to himself) Thorin is correct, I simply do not understand war.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Elrond has the sparkles, from the gems in the crown he's wearing, greatly enhanced.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Thurl Ravenscroft provides the bass in "Goblin Town" and "Fifteen Birds", likely pushing those songs over the edge. Then there's Smaug of course and finally the trolls.
- The Film of the Book
- Frog Men: Gollum is depicted as particularly frog-like.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Smaug's eyes shine like spotlights, illuminating whatever he's looking at.
- Gold Fever:
- Smaug's loot after his defeat causes war amongst three differing races, all staking claim to the treasure.
- Gollum and the ring.
- The Hero's Journey: The film is about Bilbo's journey with the dwarves to Lonely Mountain.
- Hobbits: The Hobbit.
- I Call It "Vera": "Now I will give you a name — and I shall call you Sting!"
- Incendiary Exponent: Smaug. Who else?
- In the Style of...: Word of God is that the look of the film was based on the art of Arthur Rackham.
- It Has Been an Honor: Just before he died, Thorin apologized to Bilbo for calling him a coward before.
- Large Ham: Quite a few of the voice actors bring the ham to their characters, Gollum's and Smaug's in particular.
- Limited Animation: The Battle of the Five Armies as seen from space. In the book, the scene cuts from Bilbo being knocked unconscious and missing the rest of the battle, to him waking up. The scene works here as an "and the battle continued for some time" passage, allowing us to pick up where Bilbo regains consciousness, unaware of what's happened or how things ended. It also cuts down on the on-screen gore.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Fifteen Birds", a cheerful Goblin song. It's directly from the book.Roast 'em alive or stew 'em in a pot! Fry them! Boil them! Eat them hot!
Bake and toast 'em. Fry and roast 'em 'Till beards blaze, and eyes glaze,
Till hair swells and skins crack, Fat melts and bones black
In cinders lie beneath the sky, SO THE DWARVES SHALL DIE!
- Made-for-TV Movie: It's a television movie.
- Mr. Exposition: Elrond.
- Moral Dissonance: When the men of Lake-town and the wood elves both demand a share of the treasure after the death of the dragon Smaug. See Headscratchers for details.
- The Musical: As with all Rankin/Bass films. However, (almost) all the lyrics are from the book.
- Musical World Hypothesis: The Goblins.
- Named Weapons: Elven swords Orcrist, The Goblin Cleaver and Glamdring, The Foe Hammer.
- Interestingly, The Orcs also have names for these weapons. Biter and Beater, respectively.
- No Body Left Behind:
- A variation of Never Say "Die". There's a lot of talk about death, but to avoid showing blood on-screen for the wee ones, slain foes spin away into Hammerspace like a sprite in a video game or a burst balloon.
- This is a function of the various magic swords, and which death animation is used depends on the weapon. We see a few enemies just die at the battle in the end.
- Notable Original Music: "Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees" and "Goblin Town".
The sword is sharp, the spear is long, the arrow swift, the gate is strong.
- Most of them were musical adaptations of text-only songs from the book (which is not to suggest that they aren't thoroughly excellent). Some of these songs are at or near Ear Worm status, especially "Goblin Town" (and the Rivendell song in a way that is potentially more annoying).
- "The Dwarf Song" as well; this one was so notable that a later adaptation took obvious pains to not make it just the same song, and didn't entirely succeed, which is for the best because people wanted this song again:
The heart is bold that looks on gold... And dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.
The King has come into his hall... Under the mountain dark and tall.
The worm of dread is slain and dead, and ever so our foes shall fall!
- No Pronunciation Guide: In this film, Bofur and Smaug are pronounced as "Boffer" and "Smog" rather than "Boafer" and "Smaog". However, Dáin is pronounced properly (day-in, rather than Dane).
- The One Guy: To be more specific, The One Hobbit, making this film Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Bilbo is both the only hobbit involved in the dwarves' quest and the only Hobbit appearing in the film; despite the opening narration stating that Bilbo lives in the village of Hobbiton, no other hobbits appear, and the village itself is barely glimpsed through Bilbo's windows during the opening credits. Even Bilbo's dreams of enjoying the potential rewards of the quest feature only dwarves waiting on him.
- Rankin/Bass' sequel adaptation of ''The Return of the King" increases the number of on-screen hobbits to five—i.e., Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippin, the hobbit members of the Fellowship of the Ring, along with an aged Bilbo.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Smaug is based on Norse dragons, which share the long skinny bodies of eastern dragons. He also has a distinctly cat-like head, which actually entered the zeitgeist for a while and did influence the live-action version slightly.
- Our Elves Are Different: You can say that again.
- You see, Tolkien based his elves on the traditional myths about fairies, but by Tolkien's time, the term "fairy" had been corrupted to mean something unbearably twee, so Tolkien used the term "elf" instead, even though, as he well knew, traditional myths about elfs (yes, Tolkien also invented the use of "elves" and "dwarves," as opposed to "elfs" and "dwarfs," as the plurals of "elf" and "dwarf") were very different.
- The film, however, compounds on this, because it actually makes use of the very vague descriptions Tolkien gave for the elves in The Hobbit specifically - while Elrond looks very noble, the wood elves are much closer to the original Scandinavian depictions of such creatures, being short, a bit ugly, and having green skin. Which makes them very different from other depictions of elves in Tolkien's wake!
- Our Goblins Are Different / Our Orcs Are Different: The goblins in this film look very unique, with their large throats and bull-like horns.
- Red Shirt Army: The dwarves.
- Refusal of the Call: "We hobbits are plain, quiet folk: adventures make one late for dinner."
- Rump Roast: Bilbo, after fleeing back up the secret tunnel from an enraged Smaug. "Extinguish me!"
- Sarcasm Mode: This exchange, after Smaug boasts that his underside is as armored as the rest of him:Bilbo: Well, I don't know know about that..
Smaug: "You don't know about that." I will show you!
- Savage Wolves:
- The wargs the goblins ride while chasing after the dwarves.
- Smaug's got a wolfish head and snout, the better to make his snarling visage into even greater nightmare fuel when he's truly pissed off.
- Say My Name: "I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means — ME!!"
- Secret Passage / Sundial Waypoint: "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the last light of the setting sun will shine upon the key-hole."
- Scenery Gorn: Gollum's spacious dark cave. Also, a panorama of the aftermath of the Battle of Five Armies.
- Scenery Porn: At times, in terms of artistic renderings. Especially Laketown and Erebor the Lonely Mountain.
- Sequel Hook: Gandalf tells Bilbo that his story is only beginning, just as the final shot of the film focuses on the One Ring glinting over the mantelpiece. This film was followed up in 1980 with The Return of the King, which skips the first two books of The Lord of the Rings.
- Shrouded in Pipeweed Smoke: "Gandalf! Not the wandering wizard?!" "The same."
- Smoking Is Cool: Bilbo's collection of giant, er, pipes.
- The So-Called Coward: When Bilbo expresses reluctance to join in the war between the dwarves, elves, and men, Thorin rebukes him and calls him a coward. As a slight Inversion, this is already after Bilbo has proved his bravery to the Company by rescuing them from the spiders and elves, and sneaking into Smaug's lair alone—all of which Bilbo points out as he stands his ground against Thorin's dismissive attitude.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: "Well he is a wizard, you know."
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The Ring and Sting, after overcoming Gollum and the spiders.
- There Is Another: "Oh, Bilbo Baggins, if you really understood that ring, as someday members of your family not yet born will, then you'd realize that this story has not ended, but is only beginning."
- This Is Madness! 14 against 10,000? "This is WAR! WAAAAAR!"
- Time-Compression Montage: A variation. When Bilbo and Gollum are riddling, we only hear one riddle from each of them, and then the camera pans away, and all we see are rocks and the tunnels in the mountain, while we hear a slightly-creepy, sung version of a third riddle, after which we return to the game, and Gollum asks his "Time" riddle. The pan-away and song represent an extended period of time passing while they trade riddles back and forth, only returning once things get interesting again.
- Unexplained Accent: Thranduil, the Elven King, speaks with a distinct German accent thanks to the voice talents of Otto Preminger. Elrond, however, sounds comparatively un-accented.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The great mountain where Smaug lives.
- The World Is Just Awesome: When Bilbo climbs up the tree in Mirkwood for a look.
- Your Size May Vary: Gollum (magnified by 1000 in the darkness). See this alternate image, for instance◊.