Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012 - ,, 4 comments

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The long wait was finally over last weekend, as I was able to see the first installment of The Hobbit. I'll start with a dubious complement for the film. It was beautifully photographed. I call this dubious because any film review that I've seen by a professional critic that was described as "beautifully photographed" was a disappointment.  And I must admit that I was a little disappointed with The Hobbit, but that's not the same thing as saying that I didn't like it or that it was bad.

Full disclosure, I absolutely loved the Lord of the Rings (LotR) films. There was something that I realized after watching The Hobbit. With the LotR, there was a building crescendo that culminated with Return of the King. Every film was bigger and more exciting than the last. So, I think subconsciously I was expecting a continuation of that pattern.

In reality, I should have been expecting something more like Fellowship of the Ring, the first in the LotR trilogy, and that's more what this first installment of The Hobbit was like. There was back-story to get acquainted with and there were characters to be introduced ... a lot of characters, many more right off the bat than in LotR.  There were some familiar ones like Gandalf, and the elves Elrod and Galadriel.  It was nice to see them again. It was like seeing old friends.

But it wasn't all a trip down memory lane. We get to see why the dwarves have the reputation of being such fierce fighters. Battle scenes, witty dialogue. The orcs and goblins are considerably more pleasant looking while maintaining the general feeling of "bad guy-ness." They're actually developed more as characters here. They were a bit of cardboard representation of mindless evil in LotR. Sometimes in The Hobbit, they were downright sympathetic.

I did enjoy it. I will be seeing it again to catch the parts that I missed. These films are so dense that it's impossible to catch everything in one viewing.  I felt the same thing about most of the Harry Potter films, too.

Were some of the introduction scenes too long?  Yes, Peter Jackson films are not noted for their brevity, but once we get into the adventure, it compares favorably with Fellowship

And, it really was beautifully photographed. ;)


I'm glad you got too see it, what with all the extra tasks going on now. Did you feel the effects from the film style? I read somewhere that the multiple frames per second gave some migraines and nausea.

The Hobbit has always been my favorite.It was the first of the series I found at the used book store I loved as a Jr high nerd. Because of that I am a bit apprehensive about seeing the film.

Joy: Things are going pretty well this year thus far as far as Christmas craziness goes. Because of when Christmas falls there's nice spacing between weekends, special events, and the day itself.

No nausea, but I did go and see it in 3D. Didn't think it was worth it. However, it wasn't as physically dark as a lot of "live action" 3D films I've seen. I think that was one of benefits of the higher frames per second thingy. But, when I go to see it again, it will be 2D. ;)

We saw The Hobbit twice last Saturday, both times in the normal 2D 24FPS. We loved it. I found nothing to dislike. And I found nothing in the film remotely like some of the criticisms I've read from reviewers.

I enjoyed the exposition. Tolkien wrote his dwarf characters as noble, but almost hopelessly inept throughout the journey to the Lonely Mountain. I'm so glad Peter Jackson left the nobility, incorporated some of the wry humor, but took out most of the ineptitude.

I thought the Goblin King was so well done. And I love the villainous Azog character, pulled from the appendix.

I'm particularly pleased that Mr Jackson had Thorin fight at the end of the film. I thought the break point was perfect and set up the next part of the adventure very well.

We may see it again on Christmas Day as part of a double feature with Les Mis...that is, unless we like Les Mis so much that we'll just see that one twice and save The Hobbit to see one more time after the holidays.

Travis: I'm glad that you had such a good time that you saw it two times in a row! I was tempted to sneak and stay for the second showing, but I figured that it would sell out, therefore cause a problem. I never read the books, so I got a bit lost in all the dwarf characters. And we definitely need to see all the back story to see why they're on this adventure in the first place.

There was a great article in the Huffington Post explaining why the critics who have panned the movie are all full of it. I wish I could find it now. It actually helped me understand the movie more and appreciate it more. Now, I'm more anxious than ever to be able to see it again.

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