I don’t know what I expected when I went to see The Hobbit. I already knew it would be a long movie, clocking in at 169 minutes, Peter Jackson certainly stretched the content of the book to its maximum. However, I still wasn’t quite expecting such bad pacing, contrived scenes, and generally a total disappointment of a movie.
Having read the book a long time ago, I only had a vague recollection of the story, however, I remember the book being quite an easy read, and quite short. What Peter Jackson has done is to add in scenes from the Lord of the Rings appendices in order to fluff out the story over three movies. These scenes feel totally out of place, especially the White Council, where Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman sit around a table discussing the possibility of the return of Sauron. It feels totally contrived and a desperate attempt to link this movie to the Lord of The Rings trilogy. The Fellowship of The Ring did an excellent job of detailing any necessary back story, so to try and do the reverse is unlikely to go well.
Likewise the scenes with Radagast, a brown wizard, were not in the book and when he leads a merry chase of Wargs being pulled along by rabbits, it feels like something that should be in the extended cut, not the theatrical release. Similarly, the opening scenes with Frodo feel forced and an unneeded introduction.
Talking of unneeded introductions, did the dinner scene; where we are introduced to the dwarfs and they juggle some crockery, really need to last as long as it did. It seemed like it took so long to actually start the “unexpected journey” that most of the audience were bored rather than captivated as they should be. Additionally, despite this scene, introducing the dwarfs, they are just there for the whole film and if you were to ask me to name them and describe something about their character, I couldn’t do it.
My other major gripe was the main villain in this movie, Azog, yet another non-book invention by the way, looks fake. It takes you out the film every time he appears. One of the strengths of the LOTR trilogy was the use of actors to play the Orc characters, it made them much more realistic. In The Hobbit, the overuse of CGI is a bit jarring at times and the Goblin King character looked somewhat comical.
All the padding in the movie means that you forget about the journey, which is the whole point of the book, and the dragon is totally forgotten until the end, when they show you a glimpse to tease you for the next film. The only saving grace is Bilbo’s interaction with Gollum and the finding of the ring, although even that borders on the long side. The only emotional engagement, where an invisible Bilbo considers killing Gollum, is well done and as it is in the book, fits nicely into the story.
Hopefully the next one will be better, but I wont hold my breath. You can’t help feeling that a single movie would do the book justice, and having a trilogy made from it is not just unnecessary, its a disservice.
What did you think of The Hobbit?
Thanks for reading,
the better twin.