Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Hobbit, an unexpected problem

When I heard Peter Jackson was in production of a Hobbit film, like most geeks I got excited. I had grown up reading Bilbo's classic adventure, and I even like the animated movie (It may be also that I physically resemble the Gollum from the cartoon). When I heard that the story would be made into two films I thought that was fair and didn't think much of it. Then when I heard that the story would be three films, and that the first film had a run time of nearly three hours, I felt a clenching feeling in my chest I used to get when I'd have to review a  comedy for the paper.
This wasn't a good sign.
Last weekend I sat down and watched the Hobbit and I sadly have to say that, both as a geek and a film buff, I was disappointed. And while I'm fully aware that most geeks have already seen the Hobbit by now so this is pretty much a retro review, I still wanted to throw my two cents in.
Let me start off by saying that somewhere in the three hour extravaganza, there is a good movie. Scenes like Bilbo's unexpected dinner party with the dwarves, as well as his riddles in the dark with Gollum were taken straight from my imagination in beautiful clarity. Jackson still knows how to make a world of dwarves and elves feel real, which actually kind of added to the overall problem.
Here's where my issue is: The film is padded to psychotic levels. Whenever the party goes from one place to another they insist on showing endless scenes of mountain landscapes and waterfalls of all things, to the point where I felt I was on an endless hopeless journey, only instead of looking for a dragon I just wanted the credits.
Another piece of needless padding was the fight scenes. In Lord of the Rings the most characters they had to keep track of in a fight was nine, which is a pretty sturdy number but it was pulled off well. Here most of the time they have to keep track of 14 characters in the fray, which they attempt to accomplish through cutting to them one or two at a time. This makes the spectacle a confusing mess and a few times I thought I'd have to throw up in the popcorn bucket. On top of that several of these scenes just go on for nearly a good five minutes. They'res even one piece with them running around in the goblin caverns which I swear took half an hour. At one point I don't care how many interesting ways you can knock a goblin off a cliff, I just don't care anymore.
Here's the sad truth about it: Yes, I would watch this movie again, but not in theaters. I'd watch it in my own home with a fast forward button, the same way I'd watch 2012 and cut through all the irritating talking. The film has about 45 minutes of needless nonsense that could've easily been cut for time and left in the extended edition. I'm honestly scared to see if this thing will even get an extended edition, since the only thing they could conceivably add is the party's conversations between place to place.

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