OK, I was finally able to watch The Hobbit. If you do not know the storyline and do not wish to know much before seeing it yourself, do not continue to read! My husband was kind enough to sit through the entire 169 minute movie with me, which ended up being longer because there were breaks in order for us to take care of the kiddo. I have some things to say, and I will address the question of, “Did you like it?”
Depends on what you mean by “like” it. Yes, I did. No, I didn’t.
Yes, I did:
The movie was pretty. The color was enhanced which gives it a good “fantasy” story feel. They also filmed it in New Zealand which is absolutely gorgeous.
For the parts that were from the book — and when I mean from the book I mean from The Hobbit and no other — they did a pretty impressive job in following the story. They kept many of the original lines and kept some of the childish idea. After all, The Hobbit was written more for children, but enjoyable for all ages.
I liked who they picked for Bilbo, Martin Freeman. Unlike Elijah Wood, he portrayed what a hobbit is very well without the annoying moments of epical silence and long stares. Freeman captured Bilbo as exactly what I had imagined him to be. Most, if not all, of the dwarves were well-played as well.
Although my husband seemed to grow tired of the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, I found it enjoyable and really close to the book. Tolkien had dedicated a lot of time to that scene, and my expectations were met.
I was also impressed with how the makers of the movie did not — I repeat, did not — make a big fuss about the one ring. Yeah, they made it ominous and foreboding, but I was glad to see that they didn’t go crazy over it since in the book the ring was really just a magical ring, not anything to be worried about until you start reading Lord of the Rings.
Now for the No, I didn’t part. *ahem*
For starters, my idea is that The Hobbit is a good story, in and of itself. Adding backstory or anything from other books made me worry that they would make it too epic when all it really was was a good, relatively light, story. However, my worries were justified…
Did they really need Lady Galadriel? She’s pretty, and her looks play the part very well, and they did pick a woman who could speak very low (which is from the books), but having her show up and be all “I’m going to walk around this table and talk inside your head and be really slow in everything I do because I’m the queen of all Elves” was annoying.
I was very disappointed in the beginning. Why we needed to see Frodo and the old Bilbo right before the first scene of Lord of the Rings is unknown to me. I felt like Peter Jackson wanted to bring in previous actors and actresses just because they were in the first trilogy. The movie would have done just fine to actually start off with Bilbo sitting outside, smoking his pipe, and saying “good morning” to Gandalf. The “intro” scenes were useless, long, and really boring.
The Hobbit is not about the return of Sauron. The story is not about discovering his return. The story is not about this pale orc who is bent on killing Thorin Oakensheild. The Hobbit is about Bilbo, a hobbit who is against adventures but is sent on one, and the tale of his journey to help the dwarves reclaim their mountain. The most important “antagonist” in the story is Smaug, the dragon who is sleeping with all the treasure.
Ian Mckellen… I’m sorry, but he plays a very dull Gandalf. He mumbles and doesn’t act like the Gandalf I loved in all the books. Mckellen plays a weak and yet full of himself wizard.
How many times did these characters fall, slip, tumble, be squished, or crash and still survive?? You’re falling down countless crevices in the caves on wooden bridges — you ought not to survive. It’s raining and you’re hanging onto the cliff’s edge by your fingers — sorry, that would last only a few seconds.
These flashbacks we’re having about Thorin and his granddad — too much like Lord of the Rings where Isildur cut off Sauron’s fingers and took the ring. I am so relieved that I didn’t have to see that over and over again.
There was too much back story, and it interrupted the real story too much. Each time I settled in and started to enjoy the movie (because again, the parts from the book they did very well) they would throw in something that had no place there. Especially this pale orc. I can’t tell you how annoying that was.
In my opinion, these extra scenes should be saved for other movies, and keep The Hobbit as one movie and focus only on that story. By adding the back story I found that some parts of the real story had to be drawn out even further, just to make it last over three movies. I’m disappointed that I have to wait two more years to finish the trilogy (which really should not be a trilogy!!). I love The Hobbit — it was the book that opened my imagination to a whole new way of storytelling that has, along with Narnia, inspired my own writing.
My fear is simple: they are going to murder the story by making it more than it should be. Already I feel it.
And, for my husband who has not read the books and did not put himself through watching Lord of the Rings, I feel that this movie didn’t do much for him. Those extra scenes will put things together for Tolkien lovers, but will be very confusing, long, and boring for those who are not avid fans. Simply put, someone who does not know the story and watches the movie will not find it as rewarding as those who know the story by heart. In this way I feel that it is a fail. They didn’t capture the right audience. They only satisfied their desire for another epic trilogy that is more than it should be.
As a side note, if The Hobbit must be three movies, then Lord of the Rings ought to be nine. Just saying.