The Hobbit is my favorite book of all time. I can go back and read it over and over again and never get tired of it. It’s a classic tale that will stick with me for as long as I live.
But there are multiple versions of this story out there. Yes, you can go with the original print and just read the book. But what if you’re too busy for that? Are the audio books a good alternative? Or how about the movies? Which is the best version of this story?
Well, the obvious answer is the book itself. But again: what if you don’t have time?
You could make a case for the movies. Sure, there are three of them and they’re all pretty long. But it’s still less time-consuming than sitting down to read the book, right? And it could even cut out the filler, like the Lord of the Rings movies did! Surely that’s the best way to consume that story!
No. No it’s not. Because there’s no filler in the book to cut out. But there’s plenty of filler added to the movies!
The story in the book is really tightly written; that’s part of why it works so well. Nothing is in there for no reason. When you try to extend it by adding shit, it just doesn’t work! We don’t need Legolas, we don’t need that orc dude, we don’t need a random action scene during the river escape in Mirkwood, we don’t need any of this filler crap!
It also fails to capture the tone of the book. The Hobbit is a children’s adventure; it’s basically a bed time story. But the movies try to capture the tone of the Lord of the Rings, which is a much darker and more mature story. The two tones clash so violently that it drags down the entire trilogy.
So, no. The movies are not the best version to go with. Luckily, there is another version: the audiobook.
Question is: which version do you go with? There are several audio versions of this story out there. Do you go with the one narrated by Rob Inglis? Or the dramatization with an ensemble cast? Or perhaps you go with the abridged version narrated by Martin Shaw?
Not that last one. The Hobbit is short enough as it is.
Besides, the real answer is the one narrated by Andy Serkis. You know. The actor who played Gollum in the movies.
Yes, you get the actual voice of Gollum during the riddles in the dark scene, which is absolutely incredible. But even aside from that, Andy Serkis is an incredible narrator! He perfectly manages to capture the magic of the story in his reading of it! He even does a good job with all of the various songs!
The best version of the story will forever be the original book. You can read it at your own pace and imagine it however you’d like. But if you’re just too busy for that, then the audiobook with Andy Serkis is easily the best alternative.
And never watch the movies. Cause those are just… so bad.