Sunday, February 10, 2013

So I Went To See The Hobbit And...

by SandWyrm

Having a rare evening to myself, and not having anything better to do, I decided to go see the new Hobbit movie last Friday. Here's what I thought of it.

Beware of spoilers. You have been warned.

The Good

1) The Dwarves

As a long-time dwarf player, I was very satisfied with the love they got in this film. From the fine performances and characterizations of the party, to their general stick-togetherness whenever something threatened them. They're just plain likeable in a irreverent, yet sympathetic way.

I also very much liked the whole opening that focused on Erebor before, and during, the attack by Smaug (Who you only see indistinct glimpses of in this film). It made the Elves look VERY pansy and useless in comparison.

2) Bilbo

Martin Freeman was perfect as Bilbo. Benedict Cumberbach (the other half of the BBC 'Sherlock' duo) is supposed to be Smaug, but there was no dragon dialog in this first film, so I was a bit disappointed. :(

3) Gollum

Good performance, as always, from Serkis, and thanks to new tech, Gollum's looking better than ever. Especially compared to Jackson's first attempt in Fellowship.

4) The Length Was Fine

I had thought that I'd be bored silly by the length of this movie. But apart from the Radagast scenes, it moved along just fine. No problems there.

5) The New Film Format

At first I thought that maybe my theater didn't have the new 48 FPS tech that's been causing so much hubbub on the net. But then I came home, watched my Fellowship DVD, and realized just how clear the Hobbit's visuals were in comparison. Not just in resolution (duh), but in terms of how blurry things looked when they moved compared to when they were standing still.

So thumbs up. Though, if anything, I want an even higher framerate. Since I did notice a bit of  stuttering in some of the action scenes when stuff moved too fast. Normally, at 24 FPS, I don't because of the extra blurring.

The Not As Good

1) Radigast

Holy crap he was bad. Not quite a Jar-Jar Binks, but pretty damn bad. Why was he in this movie at all? If he had to be there for the expanded plot points, then why make him so goofy? Why make it look like he spooged all over his own face and didn't wipe it off? Why make him ride a stupid ill-conceived rabbit sleigh, and then screw up the special effects for it? And what was with the whole hedgehog scene? Was that the only way Jackson could think of to show how Mirkwood was starting to turn evil? Aweful!

2) The Conspicuous Lack Of Blood

This is a PG13 movie. So was the first LoTR trilogy. So why did LoTR have some blood in the fights, but not The Hobbit? It's not like all PG-13 movies have blood in them, but I didn't sit through the Avengers constantly noticing how it didn't have blood. I only noticed it after multiple viewings. They simply designed the action in such a way that you didn't notice it wasn't there.

In the Hobbit though, this lack of blood was actually distracting. I mean, Jackson is still lopping off heads, stabbing people, and in one case slashing a giant goblin right across the belly with an extended, lingering shot. Yet all you see is a pink line on said belly. It's irksome. Then he's slashed across the neck, and decapitated. But still no blood.

I mean, I'm not expecting Sparticus-level gore here. But either put a little in, or don't design the action in such a way that it's an issue.

3) They Didn't Finish The Riddles!

There were 2-3 riddles in the scene with Bilbo and Gollum where they only got through half of the lines. It's not like the riddles were edited for only the best parts. No, they simply stopped half-way through them. This is especially lame with the 'Time' riddle. Gollum doesn't finish enough of it for someone to actually guess the answer. Plus, without the "Slays Kings, Ruins Towns, and Beats High Mountains Down!", where's the dramatic punch? Dumb. They saved what? 1-2 minutes of screen time by doing this? They should have cut out Radigast's hedgehog scene instead.

4) The Uneven Tone

Ok, so the Hobbit was originally a kid's book, and LoTR was more adult-oriented. I get that. I remember trying to read LoTR as a kid after reading the Hobbit and not understanding it until I was older. Check. Understood.

But this movie can't decide whether it's a kid's movie, with trolls arguing about how to season Dwarves, or a serious LoTR prequel, with pieces of the Silmarillion and the LoTR appendices mixed into it. It has vicious hand-to-hand fighting, but no blood. It has serious scenes between Gandalf and the White Council about the Necromancer (really Sauron), but then it has Radigast bumbling around with hedgehogs, rabbit sleighs, and 'fighting' off a wraith like a retarded Mr. Bean. It's disjointed and uneven.


Tolkien fans will enjoy it. But it's no LoTR. Still, I (mostly) liked it, and will probably purchase it when it comes out on Blue-Ray.


  1. I honestly thought it was too forced. They decided to stretch it out to thin and the filler became too much. The Rock giant fighting scene was just a grand waste of like 5 minutes. I'll probably end up waiting till all of them are out and then watch them, I'll not waste time nor money on the next if it is anything like this first one.

    1. It feels...thin, stretched; like butter scraped over too much bread ;P

  2. They seemed to have framerate issues in the version I saw. A lot of the action scenes looked like scenes out of the Keystone Kops. I don't know if it was a problem with the high frame rate version, the film in general or just a particular problem with the cinema I saw it in but it was pretty janky.

    Overall though I really enjoyed it. Maybe because I had such low expectations. There were some problems but overall it was a really beautiful film and a great experience.

    1. Some of the action, especially in the goblin caves got pretty silly in a Pirates of the Caribbean way. But I assume that was to try and make the movie more light-hearted for kids.

    2. Ah I mean the actual framerate looked screwed up to me. It looked weird like in those old movies where everything is slightly too fast.

    3. That's probably the new 48 FPS projector tech. I didn't notice the effect (maybe because I watched the 3D version), but some people have compared it to watching an old-style interlaced video versus film.

  3. From what I recall the "time" bit was Bilbo saying he needed more time, that Gollum was rushing him, and it just happened to be the right answer. They may have rushed it a bit.

    I thought it was OK. The goblin king was a disappointment. Voice was way off IMO.

    1. Yeah, that was how Bilbo guessed it. But they didn't finish telling the actual riddle. They just stopped like they were going to continue, and didn't.

  4. LoTR are some of the worst movies ever made. Most of the acting is atrocious (save the wonderful Ian McKellen), the plot is slow-moving and over-dramatic, the ending is predictable even for someone who never read the books, and they were all far, far too long. Do we really need to see 10 minutes of hobbits hugging each other at the end of 3? In slow motion, no less?

    Burn em all, I say. I haven't even seen it, but I'm sure the Hobbit is just as crap-tastic.

    1. All of Peter Jackson's films are a bit goofy in tone. Ever see 'Meet The Feebles', or his old horror flicks? So I expected it in LoTR. I do wish that Del Toro had directed the Hobbit, as was originally planned, and Jackson had just produced. But it didn't work out that way. Del Toro would have struck the proper tone for a more lighthearted flick.

  5. As expected, it was visually stunning (yes, I once again have moved New Zealand back up towards the top of the to visit) but overall kinda 'meh'. My thoughts on Radaghast mirror yours, when that platform in the cave dropped, it should have shattered into a million pieces (Dwarfs included) and then ending of 'oh look, Gandalf found a moth, that means the eagles are coming to save the usual'.

    I found the troll king to be a most entertaining character though.

    1. The eagle rescue was always going to be a problem. This was Tolkein's first real book, and he made all sorts of story/dramatic mistakes by having the dwarves always be rescued at the last minute instead of finding their own solutions.

      Jackson's problem was that fans would have screamed had he cut the eagles (or the other Duex Ex Machina rescues). So he had to try and make it work as best he could. So he had a prolonged fight just before they came to have the dwarves actually do something to help themselves.

      Why they cut out the book's dialog with the king of the eagles afterward, where Jackson could have 'hung a lamp' on the problem by berating the party, I don't know.

      I liked the goblin king. But he was too goofy for the tone of the film. As were the trolls. And Bombor.

    2. Ugh, the trolls are best forgotten all together...

  6. I thought overall it was a pretty good movie.

    The big thing i didn't like was the human looking dwarves. I thought the archer and his brother (dont know their names off the top of my head) looked too human. That is the biggest thing that bugged me.

    I also didn't like the Radaghast or whatever his name is. Too goofy,andn ot really believable. Him "sleighing" on those rabbits was comical though. I had a good laugh with that.

    For being almost 3 hours, it didn't feel like it. It felt like another LOTRs movies, which I happen to like.

    1. You're right. Some of the dwarves were too human looking. Thorin in particular was awfully Aragorn-ish.


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