Hobbits, Midgets and other short-statured creatures

December 13th, 2012 by Ben

Years of anticipation finally come to an end tonight, when the first part of The Hobbit will hit cinemas. Expectations are high but there are also concerns – does a short book like The Hobbit really justify 3 long films…? We’ll all know the answer soon enough.

But in the meantime, we have noticed that films and TV shows about short creatures have become very popular with the success of titles like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings saga. Here are some other interesting related titles:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
One cannot write a post about dwarfs and midgets without mentioning this Disney classic. Probably one of the best known and most loved animated films of all times, the dwarfs play a crucial role in this story. Later on, in recent and darker versions of the tale (like Snow White and the Huntsman and Snow White: A Tale of Terror) the dwarfs take on a rougher form. But in this relatively naïve tale they are still the good old guys who just try their best to help Snow White.

Living in Oblivion (1995)
Most fans of contemporary TV will immediately recognize Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame, here in his first cinematic role, as a frustrated dwarf actor who is tired of being constantly cast in dreamlike or surreal films. Not to worry, Peter – just hold on a few more years and you’ll get a very juicy and complex role that will get you to the very top of Hollywood.

Elf (2003)
In this sweet Christmas tale, Will Ferrell portray an elf who discovers he’s actually adopted and belongs to the human race. This may explain why he himself is not short, while he is surrounded by “real” elves, including a guest visit by none other than… Peter Dinklage. There really aren’t enough dwarf actors and actresses these days…

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
This charming animated film from Studio Ghibli deals with really, really short people. They live among us like mice or bugs in the kitchen, but they are completely human otherwise. The film depicts the adventures of one such small creature, as she is discovered by a teenage boy who moves into the house.

Life’s Too Short (2011)
Warwick Davies is perhaps the 2nd most recognized dwarf actor, after Mr. Dinklage, mainly due to his appearance in the Harry Potter franchise. This mockumentary series (created by Ricky Gervais) allegedly follows “a day in the life” of a dwarf actor, but in fact Davis plays a much more extreme (and hilariously funny) version of himself.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
The 2nd film in the Austin Powers series introduced us to Mini-Me, the small version of the master villain Dr. Evil. As vicious as he is small, Mini-Me’s character provided lots of laughs and crazy moments, which justify him appearing in the 3rd sequel as well, Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Gulliver’s Travels (1996)
When people think of Gulliver’s Travels they mostly think of Lilliput, the land of the little people. but in fact the book included 3 more adventures of Gulliver: in the land of giants, in a floating island and in the land of talking horses. The beauty in this Emmy-winning Mini Series is that it relates to all four stories, but the main emphasis is still on Lilliput, which is a perfect mirror to our own society.

The Wizard of Oz  (1939)
Munchkins. Are they incredibly cute of incredibly annoying? Either way, there is no arguing they contribute a lot to the vibe and colorful atmosphere of the film. 124 Munchkins appear in The Wizard of Oz, most of them played by adult dwarfs, with some children here and there to “fill in the gaps” – possibly the biggest amount of dwarfs ever on one film set.

Carnivale (2003-2005)
There is no carnival atmosphere in this gloomy, atmospheric TV series, dealing with the mythical battle between good and evil. One of the main characters of the show is a dwarf, co-manager of the circus who started off as a mere performer before reaching his current position.

Game of Thrones (2011 ongoing)
The big fish in terms of dwarf roles. In no movie or TV show previously mentioned has the dwarf been given such a complex, “meaty” lead role. Peter Dinklage is one of the most complicated protagonists we have seen; he is the son of an extremely dysfunctional family, who somehow managed to turn out good, but still needs to play his cards right in the endless game of thrones.

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