Bilbo or Frodo? Sauron or Saruman? 48 frames per second or 24 frames per second?
It turns out that none of these binaries are particularly pertinent to the reception that the first third of the mega epic that is The Hobbit trilogy will receive. The real battle roayle (as it were) is between Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Fans of the book will cry foul at some of the things that have been left out for expediency’s sake and will cry doubly (or triply) foul for the addition of character and story elements that Tolkien never conceived of in what is basically a children’s adventure story.
But literary purists know they are vastly outnumbered by the legions of non-Tolkienites that will have gladly surrendered well over a billion (or two) dollars to Warner Bros. by the time the last film releases in 2014. A Peter Jackson trilogy set in Middle Earth and in the shadow of Gandalf has attained the status of pseudo religion as far as cinephiles, science fiction nerds, and fantasy devotees are concerned. Tolkien has fashioned a story so gripping and so universal that it now stands as the most awaited cinematic event 75 years after it was first published. Imagine telling a publisher that in 1937.