The narration and numerous voice actors make this a compelling listen. It is abridged, but delivered in a classic radio drama style with sound effects. Great for a road trip.
This is a fantastic story written by one of the best ENGLISH writers ever. This AMERICAN dramatization lacks every nuance and mastery of the original wording and language it was written in. And, Thorin - never in all my readings of this book (which are many) did I ever imagine Thorin to sound like Peter Fonda a la War and Peace. The actor, while likely fine in other roles - maybe a western?, has no affinity for the story or the character. And, he lacks any finesse in his tongue to wrap himself around the proper pronunciation of many of Tollkien's well-named places, characters or the elven or dwarfish words. In his mouth; words, the character, and the story actually sound painful to the ear (you know they are painful for him to say). The character sounds lazy and bored. And Thorin is neither; he's likely the most complex character in the book as he wrestles with his own pride, his affections for his fellow travelers, and what it means to lead this group. And, Bilbo, rather than sounding mostly innocent, ends up just sounding like an idiot. This could have been so good with the right cast - with an all-british cast. Instead, it's horrible and really not worth the money.
Tolkien's original story. Read that, you'll get more out it.
Ben Kingsley, Hugo Weaving, Dan Stevens
NO - No please, not with this ensemble cast; please don't make anyone else suffer through this again. If you create a follow-up book or Hobbit with an ensemble cast, make sure it's an all-British cast that's been classically trained. One that can pronounce names and places correctly and that understands the evolution of these characters and brings that to the reading and their voices. Most American's really lack the finesse in language to tackle most English or foreign readings - we just aren't trained that way. And leave all Peter Fonda wannabes and sound-alikes out. That has it's own place and it's not in Tolkien.
An entertaining performance of a truly classic story. Recommend highly. Also, pay attention when purchasing that this is not an unabridged reading. It is a dramatization.