Audiobook Review: The Hobbit (Dramatization) by J. R. R. Tolkien

6 12 2012

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (!968 BBC Radio Dramatization)

Read by A Full Cast

AudioGO

Length: 4 Hrs

Genre: Fantasy

Quick Thoughts: I wouldn’t recommend this audio if it is your first time experiencing this story. Go read the book, or grab the unabridged audio. Yet, if you are looking for a quick refresher before the movie, or just want to spend some time out on adventure once again with some well loved characters, than this version is definitely worth your time.

Grade: B

You may have heard, there is this little movie coming out soon, called The Hobbit. Well, perhaps the beginning of a Mega-Blockbuster Movie event is a better way to put it. If you are anything like me, you often struggle over the decision of whether or not to reread a book before the movie release. This was something I was trying to decide for The Hobbit. When the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was release, I reread each book before seeing the movie version. Now, I am always happy to revisit the world created by Tolkien, but I learned something from this experience, rereading novels before seeing the movie only highlights what the movie changes or omits.  When it’s been years since I read a book, I maintain an overall feeling of the book, but not as detailed a remembrance. After Return of the King, I was angry that they didn’t include The Scouring of the Shire, but I don’t think I would have been as upset if I hadn’t read it just a few days before seeing the movie. It’s been almost 20 years since I last read The Hobbit. It is one of the iconic books of my childhood, and I used to read it every few years. I was considering listening to the new Recorded Books unabridged version, but with the decision to split the book into three movie, I though that this would be a bit frustrating. I would be sitting in the theatre, waiting for a favorite moment, or worried about what won’t make this movie. Well, I probably will still be doing this, but I think it would be worse after listening to the complete tale. What I needed was a refresher. So, when I was offered the chance to listen to the classic 1968 BBC Dramatized version of the book, I jumped at the chance.

When I was a kid, I used to love the classic radio drams they would play on Sunday nights on a local radio station. When I got older, I thought this would translate to a love of Dramatic Audios. It didn’t. There is an entirely different feel to a book read by a single narrator over a dramatized one. The few times I tried a dramatized audio, I just didn’t enjoy it. Years ago, I suffered minor nerve damage in one of my ears, and while it doesn’t really affect me day to day, I have trouble with louder noisier productions. When I watch TV I prefer to do it with captions on, and if there is too much going on in an audio, then the words become harder for me to pick up. I was worried upon starting this audiobook, because the beginning had a lot going on, with voices talking over voices, making the whole thing sort of muddled to me. Yet, as the audio progressed, I adjusted to the production and began to enjoy it. Even though it’s been so long since I last read The Hobbit, listening to this drama felt like coming home. From those first moments, with Gandalf at his pushy best, and the menagerie of lovable yet frustrating dwarfs coming to eat at the home of one Mr. Bilbo Baggins, I again was entranced by this tale. The story is of course, wonderful, and the production well done. There is definitely an old school feel to it, full of the magic of classic radio. I found it interesting that some of the names weren’t pronounced like I had thought, and it was harder for characters to stand out on their own due to the nature of the medium, but it was lovely to listen to. I wouldn’t recommend this audio if it is your first time experiencing this story. Go read the book, or grab the unabridged audio, yet, if you are looking for a quick refresher before the movie, or just want to spend some time out on adventure once again with some well loved characters, than this version is definitely worth your time.

Note: Thanks to AudioGO for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

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3 responses

6 12 2012
Laurie C

I’ve listened to some full-cast audio and dramatizations and have liked some and disliked others. I am one of those curmudgeons that don’t like movies made from my favorite books, so I’m on the fence about seeing the movie. But I’m definitely not planning on rereading the book either, so this audiobook might be just the thing to keep me current with Hobbit fever!

8 12 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

Ooh, a radio dramatization sounds like the PERFECT refresher before a movie.

8 12 2012
nrlymrtl

I recently reread the book this year, but if I hadn’t I would probably check this out. My man has NEVER read the book, so we are on the wait list for the unabridged audio….hopefully before we see the movie.

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