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The Hobbit Animated Movie

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With the first installment of Peter Jackson’s live action version of “The Hobbit” coming to theaters this December, and some fans now feeling the early twinges of doubt at the announcement that Jackson intends to expand the series to three full films, the more nostalgic Tolkien fans may feel inclined to reach back to something a little more familiar.

Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin’s 1977 made-for-TV animated version of “The Hobbit” still stands for many fans as memorable and iconic imagining of Tolkien’s work. Though it differs somewhat from the book in plot and aesthetic, it remains largely true to the original text, and presents it in a way that is particularly well suited for children. This film was, for many Tolkien readers who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, the first exposure to the world of Middle Earth and can be the same for future generations. Its musical adaptations of the poetry within the book are catchy and will quickly pull your children into the film.

Predating the events of “The Lord of the Rings” by several decades, “The Hobbit” follows the first adventure of Bilbo Baggins with a band of dwarves set on reclaiming their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountain from the fearsome dragon Smaug. His journey takes him through the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood Forest, and Rivendell, before culminating with the Battle of Five Armies. Along the way, he finds himself faced with dilemma after dilemma as the dangers of the wilds of Middle Earth become a sharp contrast to his relatively safe and comfortable life in the Shire. The viewer is also introduced to many characters familiar to readers or viewers of “The Lord of the Rings” books and films, including Gandalf the Grey, Elrond Half-elven in secluded Rivendell, and Gollum. Tolkien’s imaginative narrative does all of this while exploring themes and motifs of loyalty, heroism, and contrasting worldviews to develop a complex and deep setting that will capture your child’s imagination.

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