The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was being shown over the weekend on Encore TV. It is always a good watch, but I was reminded yet again of one of the sillier things Peter Jackson did with the movie.
He put extra-large fake feet on the hobbits.
You can particularly see is here, in a scene from right near the end of the movie, when Sam returns from the Grey Havens and is greeted by his daughter, Elanor:
Floppy, floppy toes.
The thing is, Tolkien never said that hobbits had particularly large feet. Those were just added.
In “The Hobbit”, here’s how Tolkien describes hobbits:
They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it).
And in “The Lord of the Rings”, the only mention is right near the beginning, when Bilbo is greeting the various hobbit clans, and mentions the “Proudfeets”. So which one replied:
‘ProudFEET!’ shouted an elderly hobbit from the back of the pavilion. His name, of course, was Proudfoot, and well merited; his feet were large, exceptionally furry, and both were on the table.
That’s it. Because one hobbit at the party had large feet (and I’m sure that was just large for a hobbit, just as some humans have large feet), Peter Jackson put extra-super-large feet on all the hobbits in the movies. He could have just saved the cost (and gone for little foot toupees instead :-)).
We also know that Tolkien thought his hobbits had regular-sized feet (for their size), because he illustrated “The Hobbit”. Here is Tolkien’s picture of Bilbo at Bag-End:
Those fake feet in the movie just look ridiculous. That is particularly true when Frodo and Sam are climbing the rocks around Minis Morgul trying to get into Mordor. Real barefooters (as all hobbits were!) would be using their toes to grip as much as their hands, and those prostheses just don’t cut it. The odd thing is, Peter Jackson was well-known for often being barefoot. You’d think he would have figured that out.
But I’m pretty sure I know where he got the idea from.
Here you can see the illustration for The Prancing Pony:
It’s a nice drawing, but the feet are abominations. And they work even less well in a movie in which the feet actually have to be moved. Why couldn’t Jackson have just left them with their natural feet? (Thought I suppose it can be looked at as an example of the transmission of myths about bare feet.)
And don’t even get me started on the ears . . .