(1) Dwarves are hot. Who knew? I now have a fantasy girl-boner for Fili, Kili, and Thorin Oakenshield.Distinctly the characters, not the actors who played them. Humor and resourcefulness both make me all googly. Snow White shoulda stuck with what she had.
(2) The Gollum episode is one of the finest little realizations in the history of film. “Riddles In The Dark” was an edge of your seat chapter even in mute print; Jackson and Serkis (and Freeman, with his reaction) put us in mind of every time you’ve been buttonholed by a weird crazy asshole in a bar or subway station or public event and tried to figure out what to say that will get you away from him in one piece.
(3) I don’t know if we’ll ever be free of the special-effects-violence-and-suspense inflation that dogs even otherwise good, faithful renderings of beloved works like this one. Those who noted that the Battle Of Helm’s Deep was overdone within an inch of its life should be advised that a few scenes here, notably the Stone Giants’ Battle and the escape from the goblins, go on way too damn long, and the “treed” predicament, from which the dwarves and hobbit are rescued only by
Deus Ex Machina Airlines The Eagles, suffers from the third gratuitously introduced dangle over a chasm in the movie. (Note to film directors: We all saw “The Wrath of Khan.” It’s been done, OK?) These are times when you might go to the loo, if you really have to, though be quick about it.
(4) Jackson may take some heat for the decision to flesh out the character and page/screen time of Radagast, the woodsy wizard, and I was ambivalent about it myself — he came off a trifle silly, and a bit like T. H. White’s Merlin — but how can I really resist a wizard who is kind to hedgehogs?
(5) Howard Shore is one hell of a composer and his name should be as big as Jackson’s.