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The Hobbit movie review

Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, James Nesbitt, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett
Director: Peter Jackson
Genre: Fantasy
Released: 2012
IMDB says: A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.

Peter Jackson’s first of three Lord of the Rings prequels is as much about milking cash cows, angering Tolkein fanatics and laying down LOTR foundations as it is delivering a properly epic movie experience. At least it’s better than all three Star Wars prequels combined.

Gollum The Hobbit

“Three movies Precious! It wantses to makess another three movies! Noooo!”

First off, WTF to Peter Jackson to going down the trilogy route with The Hobbit? I can understand it with Lord of the Rings. Three books equals three movies, that’s pretty straight forward. Couldabeen more, sure. So much Tolkein goodness was left on the cutting room floor or out of the script altogether.

I can think of half a dozen novellious acts the movies ignored, but here’s two that really tweaked my inner Tolkein. First, the hobbits’ brush with olde worlde dangers in the Barrow Downs and subsequent rescue by Tom Bombadil shouldabeen there. It not only drenches the hobbits with ice-cold buckets of reality, it gives the reader their first real taste of Middle Earth’s rich and troubled history.

Second and more heinous, but I knew Hollywood would never do it, was the hobbits’ homecoming. Hollywood doesn’t like second endings, unless we’re talking about padding DVD Extras. But this whole sequence shows that the hobbits have evolved from the blissfully ignorant and protected children at the trilogy’s beginning to a race with backbone. It ties beginning and end into a nice, neat bow with a double loop and a parental tug for good measure. Also, I like that Saruman gets one final unexpected smackdown in, and that Wormtongue…

Sorry, I digress. We’re talking about The Hobbit. Actually, The Hobbit part one, “An Unexpected Journey”. What was I saying? Oh yes, three films is beyond the pale.

The book is barely one-half the length of one Lord of the Rings book, so it doesn’t warrant three films. But Hollywood knows a cash cow when it sees stinking mounds of golden manure in its lounge, and so this bovine bullion machine will be milked mercilessly. Just like that metaphor.

Point is, I watched the first Hobbit instalment — not for me the Corby Zen method of Reviewing Without Seeing — and I loved every minute of it. Saw it in 3D and didn’t throw up. Loved that, too, though my wife said the 3D smacked of tokenism. Think she meant Tolkeinism, though I’m don’t see the relevance because 3D wasn’t around in Tolkein’s day.

Especially loved the dragon-attack scenes and later the fleeing from thousands of goblins through the mines. Epic stuff, really. The mountain scenes not so much. I wore a perplexed and grumpy expression during the mountains-become-men fight, because I remembered not this scene from the book. Coz it wasn’t there. Turns out there are many scenes that weren’t there, which sounds kinda Kafka, but I’m scared to trod that path lest I unravel my own existence.

There’s also a spate of scenes setting up the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, or repurposed moments from said trilogy. I’ll not list them, because my point is — please pay attention — Peter Jackson has padded out The Hobbit to achieve three films. Taking liberties with the second-grandest work of fiction ever concocted demands a smoting, or a flood, or a plague, or being turned into a pillar of salt, surely…

The shit of it is, the film works anyway. Despite the addition of — and my fanatical bleating about — these extra-authorical scenes, the friggin film works. It brings Middle Earth to life, makes you believe in the characters (except Thorin, who comes across more as a smouldering Calvin Klein model than a deposed Dwarf Lord hellbent on reclaiming his due), and really makes two hours and forty minutes fly.

The Hobbit Part One An Unexpected Journey strikes a good compromise between the children’s book on which it’s based and the predominantly middle aged fuddy duddies like me who will pay to see it.

So kudos Jacko, now get busy with the next two, you bastard.

I give The Hobbit four and a half smokin dragons.

8 Responses to The Hobbit movie review

  1. Ben Smithurst Reply

    January 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Ring a dong dillo! Tom Bombadil sucks. Anyone so taken by inexplicably convincing gibberish spouted by hippies with no musical talent should steer clear of reviewing and concentrate on not murdering any of Roman Polanski’s wives. “Tom Bombadil is not an important person to the narrative,” quoth Tolkien.

  2. Tom Bombadil Reply

    January 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Fiddly dee dee! I doodly disagree! Tom Bombadee!

  3. Scott Newman Reply

    January 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Four-and-a-half? I presume you mean out of 10. The Hobbit is way too long; my unexpected journey was to the mens’ after being unable to hold on any longer due to fear of a ruptured bladder, such was the unnecessary length of the film.

    Action sequences that drag on, minor characters given major screen time, invented scenes as you alluded to (though I’m pretty sure I remember the mountain giants’ fight from the book… but it’s been a decade) – it’s got more padding than Kiera Knightley’s bra. And don’t get me started on the slapstick comedy elements, it’s Tolkien not Benny Hill!

    There were good bits though. The special effects are mind-blowing and the sequence with Gollum was nicely done – his bi-polarity is the perfect level of creepiness (though a riddle competition without ‘what gets wetter as it dries?’ is pretty unbelievable).

    By the time PJ is done, the inevitable Hobbit/LOTR Extended Ultra Fanboy Edition box-set will need to carry a <65yo warning – anyone over this age simply won't have enough life left to finish watching it.

  4. Stephen Corby Reply

    January 10, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Great review. I can almost forgive that he remade the fleeing from Moria scene so blatantly, because he’s even bettered himself. Sadly I can’t love the bits he added in. Hey PJ, you’re a genius. But you’re not even a Jr JRR. Sorry.

  5. brewski Reply

    January 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I refuse to see it at the cinema. My ageing bladder couldn’t cope with the strain. Must. Wait. For. DVD. Release.

    • GeeBee Reply

      January 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      That’s what incontinence bags are for Brewski. So HTFU big fella.
      And anyway, you just know the DVD will be even longer.

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  7. Tolkien Reply

    March 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    It needed talking foxes, extremely long songs about nothing in particular and characters spontaneously having predictions of the future

    By not having these Pee J has raped my son’s childhood

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