Years in the making, J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved novel - The Lord of the Rings - finally came to life in three live action movies directed by Peter Jackson. Finding a home for Middle-earth in New Zealand, the cast and crew dedicated so much of their lives to re-creating Tolkien's tale on the big screen. Spending countless hours and months on the film, they shot all three movies in one extremely long trip. Never before has the world witnessed such devotedness to a story - such heart-felt care to an author's beautiful tale.
J.R.R. Tolkien was able to create a world that feels so real to the reader - painting an indescribable picture in one's head, that breathes life into characters that are relatable and easy to identify with, teaching morality and life lessons while telling the greatest story ever told. Peter Jackson and his cast/crew had the joyful task of being ushers of this literary masterpiece - in their hands it had to be captured on film in a way that captured the spirit of Tolkien's book, please countless Tolkien fans, as well as attract new ones. The task was great: with love and dedication, I believe that Peter Jackson & co. succeeded in making Middle-earth come alive on the big screen, just as they were able to truly capture the spirit of Tolkien's work. Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy has become one of the most beloved movie collections of our time.
Many fans of Tolkien do not share my opinion that Peter Jackson did a just job with the films. Of course there were changes from book to film that bothered me, and continue to do so. There are certain character changes and story plots that should not have been tampered with outside of Tolkien's text. However, Peter Jackson and his cast and crew must have done something right - for after seeing The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in theatres in December 2001, and then savoring every page of Tolkien's book for the first time not too long after - my heart and mind have been dwelling in Middle-earth ever since.
Our dear hobbit Peregrin "Pippin" Took was played by Scottish actor Billy Boyd. I believe that Peter Jackson made the perfect choice in casting Boyd as Pippin. Boyd played the role perfectly, and I do not know about all of you, but when I read The Lord of the Rings, I see Billy Boyd as Pippin.
Here I will do my best to describe how Pippin was adapted for the big screen by PJ and his writers, at the same time highlighting Boyd's fantastic performance and ability to become Pippin. As I have stated, the films aren't perfect - and every character was tampered with a little bit to fit PJ's taste. Jackson did not change too many things concerning Pippin's character, thankfully. There is one aspect that PJ translates the wrong way concerning Pip, at least in The Fellowship of the Ring - he sometimes mistakes his immaturity in the book for silliness. In the book, when the hobbits start out, Pippin is a bit immature, and a bit silly - he is the youngest of the hobbits. However, he is not as silly as Jackson sometimes showed him to be in the first film. To give you an example of what I mean, take this - Pippin most likely would not mindlessly get hit in the head with an apple thrown by a distant Aragorn, and then look around as guessing who threw it. This just makes Pippin out to look stupid. So, that is one of the only things, character-wise, that PJ & co. sometimes got wrong with Pippin. It isn't too much of a big deal, as Pippin's whole story revolves around him being immature at first and by the end of the Quest returning to the Shire a hardened hobbit. Like I said, there were only some instances of this treatment - it was not through the whole film by any means. Appearance-wise and acting wise, Billy Boyd nailed it. Story-wise...well, I'll let you be the judge as you read on. I hope you enjoy my review of Pippin in the films!
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Brief Summary: In the first installment of Jackson's trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, Pippin, along with his cousin Merry, is a bit of a trouble maker. He is seen as immature and overly care-free - like he is in the book. It may be said that Pippin is the comic relief in Fellowship, and that he is also overly silly - this changes in the next two films. By the end of the film (starting after Gandalf's death in Moria) the viewer is able to witness Pippin being thrust into a matter bigger than himself, and thus rapidly maturing. That doesn't mean that he looses his sense of humor, mind you!
- We first see Pippin during A Long-Expected Party, Bilbo's 111th Birthday Party. Pippin, along with Merry, steals a firework from the wizard Gandalf's stash. Together they light it in a tent, and cause a big uproar amongst the huge hobbit crowd when the firework manifests into a very real looking dragon. After the firework has died out, Merry and Pippin are quickly caught by Gandalf, who makes them wash the dishes as punishment.
Comments: At the time of Bilbo's birthday feast, Pippin was 11 years old. The feast took place in TA 3001 and Pippin was born in TA 2990.* In the book, Pippin is introduced (at least in name) in the chapter The Shadow of the Past, and by the time we meet Pippin in Three is Company, the year is TA 3018 - the year of The Quest - when he becomes part of the Three (being he, Frodo, and Sam) that help Frodo "move" to Crickhollow. Although Tolkien doesn't mention Pip in A Long Expected Party, it is assumed that Pippin was indeed at the birthday feast, not only because of his family's relation to Bilbo, but especially because while at the Inn of the Prancing Pony he started describing the party to the crowd. See the chapter At the Sign of the Prancing Pony. Thus, the party scene was a nice and book-friendly way to introduce Merry and Pippin.
* - During Pippin's conversation with Bergil in Minas Tirith, Pippin tells the youngster that he is 29 years old. See the chapter Minas Tirith.
- Extended Edition - In The Fellowship of the Ring EE, we get a delightful scene featuring Merry and Pippin at the Green Dragon drinking and dancing on a table and singing a jolly (modified) song from the book.* Frodo and Sam are also there. This scene is taken from the book, although Merry and Pippin were added by PJ & co. A merry scene, beautifully done, showing the hearty love of ale, pipeweed, fun, and song that the hobbits share.
* The Ho! Ho! Ho! to the bottle I go song is sung between Pippin, Frodo, and Sam in the chapter A Short Cut to Mushrooms.
- The next time we see Pippin, he and Merry aimlessly (and luckily!) run square into Frodo and Sam as they passed through the fields of Farmer Maggot. Merry and Pippin were stealing from Maggot's crop and running from his dogs. Upon finding "A Short Cut to Mushrooms", the hobbits find themselves being stalked by a dreadful Black Rider. Running from the Rider until nightfall, the hobbits quickly hasten to Buckleberry Ferry. They escape just in time. The next time we see our dear Pip, he is on the doorsteps of Bree with his three companions, awaiting entry.
Comments: Being an obvious lover of the book, eliminating Three is Company and the Conspiracy from the film does not sit well with me (I will not get into the elimation of one of my most favorite parts of the story - The Old Forest, In the House of Tom Bombadil, Fog on the Barrow-downs). Merry and Pippin's entrance into the journey with Frodo and Sam (movie) is not only blind luck, but it is not very believable that out of all the field, they (M & P) would both perfectly hit into both Frodo and Sam simultaneously. Also, in the book Pippin was very good friends with Farmer Maggot, and would not be stealing from his crop. In the book, Frodo did this (stole from Maggot's crop) when he was a young lad. In PJ's defense, one could say that this theft scene is giving the viewer a preview of things to come when Pippin later steals the Palantir from Gandalf. Pippin is not above stealing for curiousity's sake, afterall. I still would have liked to have seen the real story. In PJ's film, Farmer Maggot is depicted (by voice) as a cranky farmer. As mentioned, Three is Company was sadly scrapped from the movie, so at this point it is only Frodo and Sam who are setting out from the Shire - no Conspiracy.
- After the hobbits trudge through the slippery and rainy village of Bree, they enter The Prancing Pony, a nice warm Inn. The atmosphere in the pub, where the hobbits sit and enjoy a drink or two, is not a welcoming one. As Pippin, Sam, and Frodo relax drinking an ale, Merry comes back with his pint (larger than what the other hobbits had) and when Pippin sees the size of Merry's drink he goes to the bar for one of his own, without finishing the one he had in front of him. After Frodo begins to daze off into a Ring inspired haze, he is brought back in the moment when Pippin yells from the bar (surrounded by a crowd of Bree folk) "Baggins! Of course I know a Baggins!" and as Pippin begins to explain how he and Frodo are related, Frodo grabs Pippin to halt the giving of his personal information, trips, and the Ring falls on his (Frodo's) finger.
Comments: In the book, The Prancing Pony is a welcoming place, full of hobbits, dwarves, and Men. The Bree-folk were kind and friendly to the hobbits, engaging them all in conversation and merrymaking. Jackson's vision of TPP is much different, packing the Inn wholly with Men and making the atmosphere most un-welcoming. Although the pint business was created for the movie, in the book Pippin does indeed steal the spotlight of the Bree-folk with jokes and stories, so much in fact that it soon goes to his head and he begins to forget about the danger of their journey and starts talking openly about Bilbo's birthday feast. Fearing the name of "Baggins" will come out of Pip, Frodo grabs the attention away from Pippin by making an announcement and singing a song. After a few more songs, Frodo looses control of himself, slips, and accidently puts the Ring on.
- After the Bree-folk are speechless and in awe of Frodo's disappearance, we meet Strider/Aragorn. Strider throws Frodo in his room and begins to speak to Frodo when Pip, Merry, and Sam come in armed and ready to fight Frodo's captor. Strider makes himself known as a friend who can guide the hobbits on their journey. Although suspicious of Strider, the hobbits set out with him from Bree the next morning. In the Extended Edition, there are a few scenes very nicely done depicting the hobbits trek with Strider to Weathertop.