The Hobbit (1977)

Hobbit DVD CoverThis time around we review the 1977 animated film The Hobbit.  The Hobbit was adapted from a 1937 Tolkien book of the same name by Rankin-Bass.  Rankin-Bass were the same production/creative team that also created The Last Unicorn, and all of the stop motion holiday classics that ABC Family shoves down Americans throats every winter.

This production was a made for TV movie for children and it shows in the final product.  The animation is stilted and the movie does its best to avoid showing violence while still oddly implying it.  The budget restraints of a made for TV movie are pretty apparent.  The animation is stilted and a large scale war between multiple armies is depicted like a giant dust cloud.  However, there was obvious love for the source material in the production.  The art design is quite nice.  Top Craft, the Japanese studio the animation was filmed at, created some really beautiful hand painted backgrounds.  They production company also respected the source material and didn’t try to add to or dramatically change the story.  Despite it’s short comings, they did the best they could with a TV movie’s budget and time.

Should you see this?  If you’ve read The Hobbit before by all means go for it.  It makes a fun diversion while waiting for the Peter Jackson version.  If you haven’t read the books give it a pass and wait for the live action movies.

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10 thoughts on “The Hobbit (1977)

  1. i remember watching this in grade school on the Disney Channel (when it was good) and kinda liking it, sorta. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. then in junior high we watched it after reading the book, and i remember not liking it at all.

    I might rewatch it at some point, but i’m not huge on tolkien, he’s too wordy for me. i tried reading fellowship after seeing the movie and barely got out of the shire. I mean, he spends, like, two chapters describing bilbo selling all of his stuff to prepare for the journey. I literally summed that up in one sentence.

    and oddly enough, the more i see of peter jackson’s version, the less i want to see it. I’ll probably still see it, but i really lost interest when Guillermo del Toro dropped out of directing it.

    side note: i mostly listen on the website, could you possibly add a popout player?

    • I’m defintily not fond of the current player. Its a player from my podcast hosting company though. It automatically updates whenever I upload a new episode so its super convenient. It also keeps track of how often its played in the hosting statistics. If it just popped up it would be perfect. So yeah, updating that has been on my mind I’m just not sure what to do.

      If you happen to see the 1977 Hobbit on tv or something its an amusing rewatch. It’s only an hour long so it doesn’t take that much time to watch either.

  2. I think I remember watching a part of this movie at a friends place when I was a kid. I also remember that I had the cartoon version of lord of the rings when I was a kid as well. The animations were really strange and I remember how they freaked me out.

    And I don’t thin you are butchering the pronunciation of my name. I’m from Norway where we have polar bears and dragons and stuff, so I don’t really know how I would pronounce my name when speaking English myself.

    • Ooooh polar bears and dragons. And vikings? Now I’m picturing Norway as if it was Skyrim. In my heart Joakim you are now dragonborn. lol

      The rotoscoping techniques used in the animated lord of the rings movies was really scary. The animation is so fluid that it starts feeling a bit like an uncanny valley effect. We might have to do that one sometime. The movie itself is a mess, but the story of its production and what went wrong might make an interesting discussion.

      Thanks for letting me know I wasn’t butchering your name too badly. I was a bit mystified on how to pronounce it. I had never come across it before. I guess I’m a little sheltered here in small town America.

      Thanks for replying!

    • I might have to move there now. I don’t really want a dragon, I just want to stalk them a little bit.
      Thanks for the review!

  3. Awesome new episode, you guys. Probably the funniest one yet. I haven’t seen this one, only the Lord of the Rings animated one, which was boring as hell. I am pretty excited for The Hobbit live-action movie though.
    And with all that talk about how crazy, mind-trippy and 60s this movie is, I’m surprised you didn’t bring up Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

    • I don’t know about Melanie, but I’ve never heard of the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins until I looked it up on youtube. I don’t know how I went through life without ever hearing this magical piece of music. Thanks for telling me about it. lol

      We might have to do the animated Lord of the Rings sometime. Not because it’s good but because it might be interesting to discuss its history and maybe make fun of it? lol

      Thanks for replying!

  4. HOLY CRAP, that plot synopsis was the single funniest moment in the history of this podcast! 😀
    Seriously almost crying here. Made even funnier by the fact that you said it IMMEDIATELY after saying “We’re not Tolkien scholars, please feel free to correct us.” So glad I decided to go ahead and listen to this episode.

    Melanie was in rare form in this episode.

    Well done, as usual (except for pronouncing “Gollum” wrong! TOLKIEN SCHOLAR!). Looking forward to more!

    -Arvis

    • Ok, apparently I hadn’t replied to your last few comments. I could have sworn I had.

      I’m glad you liked the episode! Yeah when Melanie and I came up with the synapsis before recording we were giggling like Mad men. lol It was Melanie’s idea to do this episode. She gets all the credit for bringing her A game.

      Hmm we should definitely do Lord of the Rings and the new Hobbit. The length of those films and the depth are kind of daunting though. Maybe we’ll cheat and do the 70s Lord of the Rings instead. lol

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