After the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I hoped and expected that director Peter Jackson would stick to the same format for The Hobbit. In some ways he does, but the feel isn't exactly the same.
What I like about this first installment of Tolkien's first trip to Middle Earth is that the same sets are used for Hobbiton, and many of the actors return. It was also a good idea to reprise some of the music used in the previous trilogy. When I saw the familiar setting and heard the music, I was already partly won over by the movie. Unfortunately, my opinion had changed long before it finally ended.
So why do I have mixed feelings?
The first major problem was the decision to make this much shorter story into a trilogy. Many of the scenes felt overly long, and did not serve much purpose. I didn't have a watch or a phone with me, but it seemed as if we spent around an hour in Bilbo's house before the quest even began.
The Hobbit is the tale of Bilbo's first adventure. After a visit from Gandalf (Ian McKellen), dwarves start showing up at his house unannounced. This unwelcome interruption of his routine is disturbing to Bilbo (Martin Freeman), as he learns that Gandalf has persuaded the dwarves that Bilbo should join their quest to retrieve their stolen gold from the dragon, Smaug. This part of the story shows the initial stages of that journey.
I'm not really sure what The Hobbit wanted to be, or what the intended audience was. Like the books, some of the scenes involve characters breaking into song on a few occasions. I found this to be annoying rather than charming, but I am sure that some will be happy that songs were included. One of the flaws with the generally excellent previous trilogy was the use of humor. Well, The Hobbit turns that element up several notches, and most of it is incredibly stupid. The first clue was a belching scene at dinner in Bilbo's house, but the humor was relentless. The most out of place example was when one of the major villains died and had to deliver a one-liner as he expired. For me, this had the effect of completely removing any tension or drama. It was like watching a Roger Moore Bond movie set in Middle Earth.
The choice of Freeman as Bilbo seemed odd to me, but I must admit that he did a decent job. A few of his lines were actually funny.
I'm sorry to belabor the point, but the use of humor seemed to contradict the overall feel of the movie. Half of the speeches were too epic in tone to be taken seriously. I didn't know whether I was watching a Shakespearean production, a spoof, or an action movie. One of the people sitting behind me felt compelled to laugh at almost every line of dialogue, so the jokes obviously worked for somebody. My idea of humor would be to have Hugo Weaving saying "Mister Oakenshield" in his best Agent Smith voice, so it's probably a good thing that I didn't write the screenplay.
It's a shame that The Hobbit doesn't seem to be up to the same standard set by Lord of the Rings. The movie's opening has been incredibly successful, and my theater was still sold out two weeks after it was released. I have to wonder how many patrons will return for the remainder of the trilogy.
The setting is beautiful, and some of the actors return, but there are too many inconsistencies for me to give The Hobbit a passing grade. If you want to hang out in Middle Earth, watch some great special effects, and admire some enormously detailed sets, you might enjoy the movie. If you care about the books, or the characters, you may be sorely disappointed. I saw the film four hours ago and can only put faces to the names of four of the dwarves. They were thinly-drawn at best.
This release might just persuade me to skip the other two installments in theaters. I'll borrow the Blu-rays and see if the story improves.
Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the entire film. I love what Peter Jackson has done with the story and how he has chosen to tell it. Looking forward to the sequels. I think the only problem people are going to have (not me) is that this is a setup movie. The payoff will come by in the 3rd film, but most people don't have that sort of patience.
My favorite part, as well as the audience I was with, was the Gollum sequence. People were actually cheering when they saw Gollum. Andy Serkis and the animation team really outdid themselves too. Gollum, was freaky during this scene, especially the glowing eyes.
My only problem with the film was the 48fps. I’ll admit it took me at least an hour to get accustomed to the format. To me, it made most of the film look like I was watching a awesome 3D TV movie. Some parts looked like they were in fast forward, while other slow mo sequences were sped up by the framework. It didn't work. Also, didn't like the look at all, which did detract from the overall presentation of film. I am sure the 3D was better because of it, but it made the movie feel cheaper/lower budget at times. Looking forward to re-watching this on a normal 24fps 3D IMAX projector.
I give the movie an easy 8/10, any Hobbit/LOTR fan will be happy with this film. I just recommend watching it in a normal 24fps IMAX 3D theater.
One thing the viewer must know before walking into THE HOBBIT is that it was originally intended to be a children's book. The storyline, primarily certain characters, were intended for a younger audience. On that note, it is almost a metaphor for an adolescent beginning which slowly matures to the events that unravel in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, especially when we get to THE TWO TOWERS and into full gear in RETURN OF THE KING. I found it to be very acceptable to begin with the simplicity of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. For now, however, THE HOBBIT is not a complex storyline as were the LOTR trilogy, nor should it be.
It's hard to sometimes have an audience put the films in the right order, considering that chapters 4, 5 and 6 were shown to us first. Years from now, an audience will see the film in the order of THE HOBBIT trilogy and follow it up with the LOFR trilogy, if they decide. This is the same thing that happened with the STAR WARS saga, if you would.
No other director would be able to capture the feel and movement of what author JRR Tolkien had scribed other than Peter Jackson. Thank the lords that he had decided to pay equal attention to the story and do it justice as he did with the LOTR stories. It is a modern- day miracle to see a writer/ director take the original material of a novel and use it as the main source and not have it loosely based because of time constraints, production costs or marketing vending. We are getting the visual telling of THE HOBBIT as Tolkien intended.
I can understand that the film takes its time developing, but rightfully so. Movies nowadays quickly jump into the action without developing the true characters including rivals, struggles and triumphs. It is very refreshing to see a young Bilbo Baggins (played wonderfully by Martin Freeman) is very reluctant and not the adventurer we were led to believe him to be in the introduction of an older Bilbo in FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. The audience can already detect a change in Bilbo by the third act...a taste of what will soon become the Bilbo we will come to know and expect.
WETA (Jackson's Visual Effects Department), did a fantastic job, again, with the visual presentation of Middle Earth and the creatures that inhabit the lands.
THE HOBBIT, as a whole, is a very rich and satisfying introduction to what chapters 2 and 3 will, no doubt, develop into more of the action and drama it is to become as it unfolds. Patience, viewer, it will all come out in the end!
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Fantastic!!! Peter Jackson has again succeeded in producing a telling of the Hobbit that I believe J.R.R Tolkien himself would not only cheer for, but wholeheartedly wish to see more. The pure wonderment, and awe that my wife, my 7-year-old son, and I had in watching this telling of the Hobbit was notable. It was as if the story had been pulled into being from a dream created deep in the heart of Middle Earth.
Wonderful. The audience, and we, laughed, clapped, and cheered throughout.
There in hole in ground there lived a Hobbit... Those words will always have a special place in my heart since
the The Hobbit was one of my favorite books as a young adult. Now, after years of re-reads, The Hobbit has
finally been made into a full blown movie and that I for one could not wait for.
If you are unfamiliar with The Hobbit then know The Hobbit is a young adult’s book that captures the readers’
imagination through song, laugher, peril, action, adventure, friendship, hardship, as a group of 14
underachievers sets out on an adventure to reclaim a loss kingdom. I will not go into more of the story, but
now it ranks up there as an all-time classic and is worth checking out.
Now, on to the movie… As you can tell, I am a diehard fan, but I can see this movie for its strengths and its
As for strengths, the movie is gorgeous, runs quick with lots of action, good character development, and good
As for its weaknesses, too much focus additions to the story, a campy feeling when it comes the humorous
parts of the books (the Dwarves cleaning the dishes comes to mind), and changes to the story that were not
needed (The Mountain giants battling comes to mind) and delivered a failed shock approach to the viewer.
Fans of the book will/might be upset at a few changes and additions that were added into the story, yet for
one can see why they were added… and we will see how they all play out over the next couple of movies since
they stood out as huge plot holes.
Fans of the LOTR movies, yet hadn’t read The Hobbit, you should know that The Hobbit is not as serious of a
movie as the LOTR movies were and it will not deliver the same epic feeling that you experienced in the LOTR
movies. The final Hobbit movie should deliver that for you, but you will not find this in this movie. Patience will
be virtue with here.
With all this being said, I enjoyed my viewing of The Hobbit. True, I grunted at the changes to the story,
grunted at the addition of characters, yet at the end I felt that this movie was very much worth my time and
money… and I am excited to see what the trilogy of The Hobbit will bring.
I absolutely loved and recommend the 48fps showing! Yes, it looks like video, it was shot on video. However the tradeoff in sharpness and the absence of strobing, gave the best 3D picture I've seen!! Just an amazing picture quality!! Some may not get it the first time, but I'm convinced it will be the future!
Ok... I never saw any of the Lord of the Rings movies in the theatres when they were out all those years ago! Let's just say, even though at that point I enjoyed movies, I wasnt an avid fan as I am now, and not really as clued in with the internet and all supporting marketing associated with big budget movies these days. However, I have watched the trilogy numerous times - on DVD and then Bluray, so when The Hobbit was announced, I was deffinatley gonna be there!
Not really too familiar with the Lord of the Rings lore prior to watching the movies, I really wasnt aware that The Hobbit existed as a book. However - I'll approach this "review" according to the movie, and not the book vs the movie. For me, unlike the LOTR movies, you could feel the running time. Maybe it was me already having watched Looper earlier, and then sitting through a +3 hour movie might have been a bit too much - but I think that maybe it was a bit too long. Peter Jackson, as great as he is for the LOTR movies, is taking a single book andf turning it into 3 feature films, all of which are gonna be 3 hours long!
Anyway - the quality of visual effects is great - but we've come to expect that from WETA. The 3D however, only came in handy at a few points in the film, and for a 3hr movie, its kinda a waste! The higher frame rate was not available, but its also been suffering a few probs from what I've read.
I wont go too into detail, but out of the whole film - it was the appearance of Gollum/Schmeigal that got the most attention out of the crowd. Andy's done a great job with his performance yeat again. As for the actors - it was good to see Elijah Wood at the start - and the several returning characters really made it feel like LOTR had never left. The dwarves were totally entertaining - but it felt like there was a bit TOO much humour in this movie as apposed to the LOTR films, but then again, maybe it was the direction the Peter Jackson felt adequate, especially when the dwarves were the main characters of the movie.
I really want to see where the next movies go from here, as it was clear to see, that its building up to the finale. The Hobbit may not be the masterpiece that most people expected, but I have a feeling that once the 3rd installment is complete, it will all come together perfectly!