The Hobbit is a children’s book. Or at least it used to be. Before J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical Middle-Earth saga became fodder for a billion-dollar-grossing, Oscar-winning, New Zealand labor-law rewriting mega-franchise, The Hobbit was a classic of juvenile literature, written in a conversational style that was perfect for young readers. If you read the book as a kid, you almost certainly wanted to see it adapted into a movie. Today, your wish is finally granted. Kind of. There is a Hobbit movie in theaters. But it’s hardly a kids’ movie. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a massive battleground epic, replete with vengeful monsters and sword fights; it’s also merely the first of three movies adapted from the slim book, which ran 310 pages in its first edition.
It’s not a negative criticism to say that Peter Jackson has radically altered The Hobbit. In essence, Jackson and his collaborators turned the book into much more of a companion piece to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which was always more adult in scope and in tone. And this is hardly unique to the Hobbit franchise. In the last few years, the PG-13 Blockbuster has become the de facto Hollywood product: The magical movie that baits all demographics, with bloodless violence that’s safe for kids and moral ambiguity that teases adults. With that in mind, we tried to think up some other classics of children’s literature that could provide fodder for the current vogue for dark multi-volume action-adventure films. EW’s visual guru Jef Castro cooked up some posters for Hobbit-ized versions of Charlotte’s Web, Little House on the Prairie, Paddington, Goodnight Moon, and The Butter Battle Book. Check out the posters, along with our elevator pitches!
Elevator Pitch: Plucky young pig is slated for execution, teams up with mutant spider to topple the totalitarian rule of Uncle Homer. Think Hunger Games meets Eragon. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro.