The Hobbit

| Sunday, December 23, 2012
You might have seen a lot of negative reviews of The Hobbit.  Well, they have a point.  And should shit up, because I think we get the point, and it's a good movie anyway.

I went to see it Saturday night with my brother.  At that particular time they had the 3D version, we we saw that.  The only other movie I've seen in 3D was Avatar, which I thought worked perfectly, given that so much of the movie was scenery porn.  However I can't say I cared for it during The Hobbit.  I don't get disoriented by it, but it was too immersive.  Yep, too immersive is bad in my book.  For movies.  When I watch movies I don't want to feel like I'm there.  For me, that experience becomes too similar to a videogame, and then I want to join in.  I like the sense of disconnection.  I do of course want to feel that I am in the world, but not in a particular scene.

At the start I could see what critics meant when they said it seemed to drag on with filler.  The introduction of the dwarves needed to be done, though the overall thing took a bit long.  I didn't like Bilbo in the slightest early on, as he seemed not to have an actual personality, but was rather just a slightly mobile object that disagreed with anything happening.  It didn't help that they decided to give far too much time to establishing that it was a story being told and written, right before Bilbo's 111th birthday party.

On the subject of dwarves, they didn't work.  Without humans around to give a sense of perspective, they look like slightly-less-than-heroically-tall humans, rather than like dwarves.  Having a hobbit as the main character doesn't help.  Gandalf is of no help either, since he's so tall anyway.  I don't know what would have fixed this problem beside sneaking in some humans to give perspective.  Maybe they should have done that, added the occasional tag-a-long, since it's not as if the events were not altered for the movie already.  I'm looking at you, hungry trolls (which now makes Bilbo sound like an unnecessary liar when he's telling the story to the children in the Fellowship).

Once out of the initial dragging along bit, it got to be rather exciting.  There is adventure.

And also constant mentioning of the great dangers looming beyond.  Having read The Hobbit and seen and read the Lord of the Rings I have a different perspective than people who are starting with The Hobbit or who have seen the Lord of the Rings but not read the book.  So I may have a skewed perspective.  And maybe the creators did as well.  Maybe they couldn't decide if The Hobbit was a prequel, meant to say where things that we know already began, or if it was the start of a series, and in that case is meant to get things rolling.

For example, the Necromancer.  In the movie he sounds sinister, but not too sinister, maybe just a sorcerer who got a little too creative and just needs some pushing back into place.  And yet, if you know the Lord of the Rings, then it all seems like the wrong approach.  It did not help that the Necromancer story was wrapped up in a silly blanket of a slightly mad wizard, so that all the darkness is delivered by the comic relief.  Were this to have all been in a single movie, then maybe they could have gotten to the Necromancer, gotten his bits out there, said what we all know is coming, and let us all go on to rewatching the Lord of the Rings, again.

Overall, The Hobbit isn't as good as The Lord of the Rings.  This may be inevitable, since the story itself is not as much to my liking.  But it is still worth seeing.


Keidot said...

I agree with the bad appearance of dwarves, but I think it's not only because we have no tall referance.
For my taste, the dwarves were not stocky enough, just smaller humans. Especially the two young brothers Fili and Kili are just too slim to be dwarves.
In LotR John Rhys-Davies was perfect as a dwarf, not only because he stood beside an elf all the time, but the actor is tall and broad shouldered/with a broad chest. Reduced in size a great dwarf.

Klepsacovic said...

The lack of stockiness was an issue too. I wonder if they could have just removed the guy with the weird sideways hair if that would have helped, with the height and general un-dwarf-like silliness.

Stabs said...

I loved it. While none of what you say is untrue I thought that the overall effect was sheer beauty, a wonderful enactment of one of my favourite stories.

Had to brush away a tear when Thorin said he couldn't have been more wrong about Bilbo.

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