Author Topic: I went to see the Hobbit!  (Read 5130 times)


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I went to see the Hobbit!
« on: December 30, 2012, 03:14:22 am »
Hi everyone, hope you all had a good xmas?

Anyway, went to see The Hobbit (part 1 of 3!) Have to say, it was my wife's choice, not mine, I was a bit miffed about Peter Jackson trying to justify making three long movies out one fairly short book, and I believe my concerns were justified.

To be fair, LOTR - being that Tolkien wrote this much later and revised and expanded Middle Earth with a new depth and darkness, has always been the literary 'Big Brother' of The Hobbit - a shorter, less developed novel that was primarily aimed at children.  Jackson did LOTR and it was a cinematic triumph, and although he did have to hack some pretty vast areas of the books out - its not surprising given their size and rambling nature of the author.  Generally his treatment of LOTR is considered sympathetic.

I don't think the same can be said about The Hobbit, there are elements that Tolkien merely alludes to in the briefest of details which Jackson has taken the liberty of expanding into major plot lines, there are characters from LOTR who make unashamed cameos in The Hobbit who most definitely are not there in the book, there is a serious warping of the story to make the Orcs the antagonists (again, I assume this because audiences of LOTR are familiar with this concept) - this most certainly does not occur in the book.  Perhaps the biggest change is the dwarf, Thorin - he is elevated in stature in the film to noble heights, essentially he has become the heroic 'Aragorn'-esque character - I'm assuming that this is because Bilbo, the Hobbit himself, although the main protagonist, he's not the all action hero. 

As for the movie itself, well, the first act of almost completely contained within Bilbo's house, give or take the odd flashback of action and so forth, but its pretty slow.  If you're used to the frank darkness of LOTR then its a bit of a shocker, you're forced to put up with dwarves singing a couple of full musical numbers and making merry - honestly, the first 50 odd minutes its like 'Carry On Middle Earth,' the levels of campiness almost ruined the whole thing.  Thankfully, once they eventually get out of the Shire things get better, although we do get trolls doing their best impression of the 3 stooges, and feckin' Barry Humphries voices the Goblin King - again its camp to the max, and visually, for some reason Peter Jackson has decided his character should set new standards in CGI man-boobs!

The films saving grace is the appearance of Gollum, thank goodness for Andy Serkis, who just seems to know the perfect balance for that character - he is menacing, sneaky and grotesque, but somehow, he is also funny, charming and his performance also draws pity for him from the audience who can clearly see what the hideous power of the ring has done to him.  Serkis steals the show but also seriously saves the film.  However, he's only in it for about 25 minutes, and the quality drops thereafter. 

The final act is the all out action, again, at this point in the book, about a third of the way through, the sequences described are not the cinematic action scenes we see in the film, Tolkien in still very much in first gear, whereas the film has to be seen to be reaching a dramatic climax.  I think I disliked the action for two reasons, firstly - as I've mentioned, they are largely a work of artistic licence, and secondly - they look like a computer game - serious, we're talking Revenge of the Sith or Pirates of the Caribbean type over-indulgence.  The fighting in LOTR had epic scale, but it did seem to have a base of realism, and it was always a bit dark - whereas The Hobbit glitters like a bloody Disney film.

I do not know how Peter Jackson is going to keep this going for another two films, to be honest.  Gollum is not due to make another appearance, so Andy Serkis cannot be relied upon to carry the franchise along.  I suspect that the confrontation with the Dragon will be the climax of part 2, then I've read that Sauron is going to be shoe-horned into part 3 in a big way to link the series back into LOTR.  I suspect audiences will stll go for part 2, but I think part 3 will fall down on its arse.

I really wish Peter Jackson had just made one film of the book - two at the very most, but the proposed three films is completely crazy.  Funnily enough, deep down a part of me wishes that Guillermo del Toro had stuck with directing the Hobbit - I reckon it would have been darker and much more organic looking.