Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Tolkien expert POLARIS reviews The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

7 Jan

The Hobbit

The Unexpected Movie

The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThat’s right, folks: The movie many hoped Peter Jackson would make as we watched the end credits roll on The Return of the King has indeed been made….into three movies.  I initially was overjoyed at the prospect of three more movies.  Then, the dread set in and I wondered what the fuck Jackson was thinking taking a story as short as The Hobbit and breaking it into three.  Even with material from the appendices that seemed a bit of a stretch.  Much to my pleasant surprise, it appears he may well have pulled it off.  At least the first little bit of it.

Any way you look at it, The Hobbit had a lot of high expectations put on it, setting it up to fail gloriously as most things do when such is the case.  However, this first installment manages to hold up very well.  It’s doesn’t evoke the same jaw-dropping awesomeness Fellowship did when it came out, but then I don’t think anything ever will, and that’s OK.  One of the big challenges with making this movie was what had already come before.  The Lord of the Rings was epic on a massive scale whereas The Hobbit, while still having a huge nasty fucking dragon to kill, is about a small group trying to take back their homeland and riches for themselves.  Which brings in the challenge of taking a quaint, adventuring, kids’ bedtime story and giving it the epic treatment while still staying true to the book.

Hobbit going on an adventure

I’m going on an adventure, so tell your kids to shut up so everyone can enjoy it!

On a whole, I very much enjoyed the movie and would put it in my top ten of 2012.  The level of detail put into even the smallest of items perhaps glanced at for mere moments on the screen shows how much love was put into making this film.  The soundtrack sets the mood perfectly for every scene as we move through new unexplored areas of Middle Earth.  The visuals are top notch and the locations are so damn amazing that it makes you wonder how the hell all these different zones exist in one small-ish island nation.  Though there have been changes made for the sake of making a more compelling story, the vast majority of it works giving you a fun movie that is new but at the same time feels just a little familiar.

Hobbit dwarves

Click to embiggen. There will be a test.

I’ve seen some complaints about the pacing of the movie and how too much time was spent in Hobbiton for the set up and I couldn’t disagree more.  We’re already familiar with Gandalf and Bilbo but there are still thirteen new characters to introduce and the time spent with them at that beginning dinner party helps give the audience an idea of who each of these new people are.  That way we see and remember these new characters as opposed to just going “which dwarf is that again”.  There is more growth as the film moves on, but that first impression is very important to making each member of the company and individual and memorable.  That said, even with spending additional time throughout the movie with these characters there are a few that stick out in my mind as “which dwarf is that again”.  These are Oin, Bifur, Dori, and Nori.  If I didn’t know any better I would think that they were aware of this going into filming because these are the coincidently the ones with craziest hair/beard styles as well.  Not to mention that Gloin is only memorable because he’s been made to look like his son Gimli who we’re all familiar with from the trilogy.

And that is perhaps the biggest fault of this movie….the original trilogy.  I understand throwing in a couple nod and a wink moments for fans of those films, but some of it is just fucking ridiculous.  Showing them Continue reading

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