Reposting my Hobbit review

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The Ghost of Case
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Reposting my Hobbit review

Postby The Ghost of Case » Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:08 am

I can sum this up pretty easily. Did you enjoy Peter Jackson's previous theatrical foray into Middle Earth? If you answer yes to that question, you will very likely enjoy this return journey. If you did not, the chances are much slimmer that you will like The Hobbit. I myself enjoyed the hell out of it. I won't say that The Hobbit quite captures the cinematic magic that Lord of the Rings (LOTR) did, but it is a welcome return for those of us that didn't think we'd ever get to see more of Professor Tolkien's world on the silver screen.



I will avoid major spoilers, but there are a few minor ones below.



There are some flaws in this movie, and I'll start with the ones that even bugged me. The first is the addition of the wizard Radagast the Brown. Yes, he is part of Tolkien's Middle Earth lore, but he does not appear at all in the book version of The Hobbit. Well, you may say, sometimes screenplays change things. However, Radagast adds nothing to this story. He's a cypher, and is played as nuttier than squirrel poop. I found his character added nothing, and was even quite jarring in a chase scene.



The second was the main villain. This is an orc named Azog, who appears only in the appendices of of the final book of the LOTR trilogy. If he had only been used in the flashback sequences, that might have been acceptable. Instead, he becomes the main protagonist of this first movie, and resembles something you might fight in a video game.



Now to things that didn't bother me, but might bother someone else. Some will complain about the running time of close to three hours. Personally the time flew by for me, and I was left wanting more story. I will definitely be psyched for the second movie. We did not see the 3D 48 frame per second version, so I cannot comment on how that looked. I do intend to see the movie again in this format just for curiosity's sake. The movie also has other additions, but most of them are reasonably faithful to the source material they are drawn from, in essence the LOTR appendices.



The big question was how will Jackson make one book into three movies? Well, with the addition of the extra material he should have little trouble. The added story worked well for me, but your mileage may vary. We see flashbacks to the dragon Smaug in the beginning, although we only get a few teasing seconds of actual dragon onscreen. We get the White Council debating whether something evil stirs in Dol Goldur. We also get flashbacks to some of the dwarf history. As I said, only the Radagast portion seemed unwelcome.



Now to the strong points, at least for me. Martin Freeman is fantastic as Bilbo Baggins, the greatest little hobbit of them all. Ian McKellan is a welcome sight as Gandalf, as is Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. Andy Serkis again breathes life into Gollum, and the Riddles In The Dark scenes are well done. The dwarfs are all fine, especially Richard Armitage as the broody leader. Not all of them register much, but the ones that do are all good. The effects are first rate, and even jaw-dropping at times. And the New Zealand landscape again serves well as Middle Earth on our Earth.



I give it 4/5 stars.
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Re: Reposting my Hobbit review

Postby Calypso » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:41 am

We're going to see it this afternoon.

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Re: Reposting my Hobbit review

Postby lucy » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:24 am

Just got back from seeing it and we just loved it.

I was a bit worried about the 3D as in the past I have had some issues with it giving me a headache and feeling a bit unwell. No issues with the new format at all.
OG, being from Middle Earth got a wee bit homesick watching it, as he is from where a lot of it was filmed in the South Island.
There was no enhancement (except maybe the removal of buildings and roads) of the scenery. That was all New Zealand.


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Re: Reposting my Hobbit review

Postby Calypso » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:55 pm

I never posted back that we loved it too. I was also concerned about the 3D because of the frame rate thing but it seems that the movie was being shown in regular 2D, 3D and HFR 3D (HRF being the high frame rate). We saw it in regular 3D and had no problems. Of course now we can't wait for the next installment!

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Re: Reposting my Hobbit review

Postby grimalkin » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:11 pm

Wow. Tipper and I just watched this and I was SO glad I didn't spent money to see it in the theater. I very much disliked it. In fact, I kind of hated it. I was okay with many of the changes Jackson made in LOTR (not the Faramir business...), but in The Hobbit they got completely out of hand and, I felt, missed the intention of the original work. The book was the story of a single person's journey and the growth he experienced and the relationships he formed. Yeah, there were adventurous elements. But Jackson inserted so many gratuitous battle scenes in Th Hobbit that I felt he was doing it just to put in another flashy set piece.

Bilbo's main contribution to the dwarfs was stealth. Even when he rescued them from the spiders in Mirkwood--which will undoubtedly be in the next movie--he relied on sneakiness, cleverness and the power of the ring. I honestly cannot see him throwing himself at an orc, and especially not at the point in the tale where Jackson had him do so.

In the book, the story moves from the peaceful and prosperous Shire to wilder lands, to the dangerous places in and beyond the Misty Mountains. The journey is a metaphor, like going up the river in Heart of Darkness. When you throw in fight sequence after fight sequence from the very beginning, it detracts from the power of the whole.

I did not like the design, particularly in the underground settings. Those tunnels were supposed to be cramped and dark. Gandald and the dwarfs were being hunted through rough territory where they couldn't see, by creatures who lived there and knew the ground. It should have been scary and tense, not an excuse for more battles in an open setting the viewer (me) had a hard time even believing in.

Almost everything about this movie irritated me. The gratuitous conflict with the elves, the poor use of the White Council (who didn't give a crap about what the dwarfs were doing), the strangely eloquent Chief Goblin, the fight at the fir trees. Which wasn't a fight, and by the time we go there I was so disgusted I wanted to throw something at the screen. Also, the whole tone was really melodramatic. By the end I was just bored by the onslaught.

It's too bad, because I was looking forward to seeing this. But I think Jackson really fell down on this one.
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