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The Hobbit ~ Beware!

I saw the first installment of the 'Hobbit' trilogy opening day yesterday. I was greatly saddened. It. Is. Bad. So bad that I wish I hadn't seen it. So bad, that I don't think I will waste my time on any of the future installments. Peter Jackson took a wonderful, complete, enjoyable story and adulterated it nearly beyond recognition. Now, before you think I am just a purist who despises change, I'm not! Yes, I read all the 'Lord of the Rings' books as well as 'The Hobbit' growing up, and I understand that things change when you are translating a story from book to movie. This went beyond that. I have many specific problems.

Yes, that is a stream of dried bird poop on his face.


First, they added Radagast the brown wizard. Why in the heck of all creation would someone think that was a good idea? Let's add a totally unnecessary character and side plot that only confuses the audience and draws away from the real focus! It was terrible from every angle. His costume was tacky, his actions and presence weren't needed (obviously, seeing as how he isn't in the book once), and he just made me feel uncomfortable with his bipolar comedy/tragedy routine.

Second, Frodo had an awkward cameo that really just added time to the film length and made me question which story they were trying to tell.

Third, they added mountains of needless back story as well as the presence of a one armed Bond Villain-like Orc arch-nemesis for Thorin. He is complete with a cheesy fork-like mace prosthetic that makes him battle worthy. Seriously, we don't need extensive CGI battle scenes for a Thorin origin story. He is going to the mountain the reclaim gold and glory, end of back story.

Fourth, it felt like every character entered the conversation by dramatically turning around slowly! Obviously not EVERY time, but enough that I found myself laughing out loud by the end every time it happened. It's almost a drinking game.


Get used to this face. It's there for the majority of his screen time.

Fifth, Bilbo looks shocked or surprised at EVERYTHING! Oh, Martin Freeman's face is on screen, better make him 'O' face. They even were pretty creative: Shocked Biblo looking though branches, surprised Bilbo looking around corner etc. etc. Yes, surprise is an emotion that Biblo would be feeling but come on! At least let him have a few other faces. To be fair, Martin Freeman did a great job with what he had to work with; it's not his fault the director seems to have a personal vendetta against well-made movies.

Sixth, the cinematography. Why must expansive panorama shots sandwich nearly every conversation scene? Throw in swirling turns and too much slow motion and this movie is officially the first EVER to make me feel queasy while watching. Totally unnecessary. I know Jackson was trying to recapture the breathtaking magic that we all experienced during 'The Fellowship of the Ring' but he failed. It felt like a knock off.

Seventh, Jackson apparently had the desire to throw in every character from LOTR as possible. whether or not they are present or relevant to the original story. Galadriel, Sarumon, and even a Ring Wraith make guest appearances. It was awful. Instead of telling the story of Biblo's grand adventure they tried to make this an over dramatic prequel, showing stirrings of darkness at every turn. It's not that dark a story! Also, they hint at a Gandalf/Galadriel romance which is just weird. Seeing as how none of these characters are meant to be present they felt clunky and unnatural to the story, which they were.

Eighth, (almost done, I swear) the over all feel of the movie was a bipolar, overindulgent, money grubbing mess! The mood swings from fun, upbeat, and silly to grim and evil without a care for the audience. I feel like Jackson just did whatever he wanted without thinking about the end product or giving proper respect to the piece of English literature he was defiling. When you get to the end of the movie and you are only just past the goblin cave when Bilbo meets Gollum you can almost taste the greed. They added all this useless, terrible junk just to fill the time for three movies. It's shameful. We all know this story can accurately and enjoyably be made into a movie. I've seen the old cartoon. This was a sad waste of time. By the end it's barely the same story. The saddest part is that it could have been great. The costumes and location are solid. The acting is well done for what they had to work with. The script never should have made it to production. Do not waste your time on this movie, it's not worth it. If you want to watch a 'Hobbit' movie see the cartoon.
This is a much better movie.

Comments

  1. I’m surprised you disliked it that much. I’m with you on a lot of this, but I have to disagree on a few things here:

    Radagast-Yes, he was crazy and weird. The mushrooms, the rabbit sled, the bird poop in his hair. I don’t know what was up with that. I think doing the Hobbit did give an opportunity to throw in a few bits of the stories that actually in the Hobbit. Radagast is an interesting character; I would’ve enjoyed a 1-minute cameo of him as a slightly odder, animal-loving version of Gandalf.

    While they did make the movie longer and weren’t really necessary, I was kind of excited about the various cameo appearances. Something about seeing the characters again was exciting for me. I particularly liked the Shire opening with Frodo and Bilbo. The scene with Saruman and Galadriel was too long, and obviously the hint of romance with Gandalf and Galadriel was ridiculous.

    Probably my biggest issue with the movie was Thorin. They really made him a jerk to Frodo, not to mention to you and sort of glamorous. I think Richard Armitage could’ve pulled off a good Thorin if it was done in a completely different way. While I didn’t mind seeing a quick flashback, the whole side plot with the one-armed Orc was a huge time-waster.

    Martin Freeman more than “did a great job with what he had to work with,” he was brilliant! For me, he was by far the best part of the movie. I can’t imagine a better Bilbo! Perhaps the surprised faces were a little overdone, but Bilbo is out of his element for the entire movie, so it’s logical that he would be surprised a lot. Plus, Martin Freeman has such an expressive face that he does quite a range of different surprised expressions! My only complaint about Martin Freeman/Bilbo is not seeing enough of him because there were so many other side plots going on.

    Personally, the cinematography didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t see any of the other LOTR movies in the theatre, so I really enjoyed the panoramic shots and scenery. I thought over all the movie was gorgeous, from the first moments in Dale and the Mountain to the ending shot of Smaug’s eye. The attention to detail in costumes, makeup and sets made for one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen on a theater screen. My only complaint about the visuals was that some of the action shots and CG characters didn’t look great, but I’ve heard that they look much better in the HFR 3D.

    I went in to this movie expecting Peter Jackson’s usual: excessive length and crazy flashbacks and story changes that didn’t make any sense, so I was surprised when this was what we got. But for all the unnecessary stuff, he also gave us the aforementioned lovely production design (Oh, and did I mention how good the soundtrack is?) and a lot of great character moments. I’ve already mentioned that I loved Martin Freeman’s Bilbo, but how about Gandalf? In the context of the Hobbit, Gandalf gets a chance to be a bit more lighthearted and his character was standout for me. I loved the beginning sequence with the dwarves at Bilbo’s house, the troll scene, and most of all, the riddle scene. Andy Serkis shone as Gollum/Smeagol in this scene and Martin Freeman was at his finest. If nothing else, that scene made the movie well worth watching in my opinion. And I will definitely see the next one for Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug!

    I got carried away and wrote a novel length comment here, but you know me, I love a good movie debate. :)

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  2. Yeah, a one minute cameo for Radagast would have been bearable I suppose.

    As for the other cameo appearances, they would have been better if the improved the story as opposed to developing a side plot that simply lengthened an already long movie.

    As for Thorin, he was a bit gruff but he is a dwarf. Honestly, compared to the other errors his little attitude issues were small potatoes for me. He wasn't right by any means though, he should have had some charm.

    I disagree on Bilbo. His persona and attitude was very incorrect in my opinion. I don't blame the actor, I blame the director. He probably was the best part of the movie, and there surely wasn't enough of him, but he was out of character in many scenes.

    The cinematography and directing might have to be an agree to disagree point. I felt like it was tired and predictable as well as clunky.

    About the soundtrack. It was the same as the other three movies so I don't really think that it counts as a point in the Hobbit's favor. It's a lag over. There were several repeat songs, which I didn't mind. The only new songs i noticed were the two dwarf songs at the beginning, which were good.

    Gandalf was good, the same level as before I feel. And Gollum is the same. I feel like they are lag overs as well, no better no worse. I agree that the Gollum/Bilbo scene may have been the best. So yeah! I think I covered everything.

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  3. Your review was thorough and obviously educated. You know your stuff! I think I will pass on the movie as I have such fond impression of The Hobbit book. I don't want to pollute it with strangeness and clutter.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it out.

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  4. Yes, cameos that fit into the story would've been a better way to do it. It was frustrating at points when it seemed like we'd spent 15-20 minutes away from the main plot of Bilbo and the Dwarves.

    In truth, someone (in England, obviously) should produce some really good miniseries of the Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, (maybe only parts of it) and the Hobbit. In miniseries they could take as much time as they wanted and put all the details of each book without taking away from other stories. I would keep most of the actors from the movies though. I think one of Peter Jackson's strongest points is his casting.

    I think a large part of my excitement for this movie (for the cinematography, soundtrack, etc) is probably because I never saw the other movies in the theater, so for me it's a whole new experience.

    My ideas of characters like Thorin and Bilbo might not be entirely accurate to the book. I never all of it and I was always creeped out by the cartoon, so I've only seen it once. Mainly, I felt Thorin's adversity towards Bilbo was another thing that made the movie longer. It was just an extra plot thrown in only so they could reconcile and hug at the end.

    But (most of) the movie entertained me, and I enjoyed it overall. I 'm looking forward to a DVD so I can fast forward and watch the best parts.

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