Thoughts On The Hobbit Movie

(1) Dwarves are hot. Who knew? I now have a fantasy girl-boner for Fili, Kili, and Thorin Oakenshield.Fili-Thorin-Kili-OfficialHobbitMovieGuideDistinctly 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.

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Hobbit Movie

  1. I’ve read that it’s “long, hairy and tiresome”. Which I can easily believe since an eensy book has been stretched into a three-parter. Doesn’t make sense.

    • Actually, the special effects segments that I thought were tiresome didn’t take up that much clock time; they just seemed like way more than needed. What Jackson did was extract large chunks from the Appendices to the Lord of the Rings and show us the interaction of the White Council and various other things that Gandalf is up to when he’s not with the company. If you don’t watch anything else, the “Unexpected Party” is a treat of music and ensemble acting. And I like it that the dwarves have distinctive characters, and regional accents, according to what family they’re from.

      Hairy, it is. But I like hairy men.

      It doubtless helped that the cinema I went to had, as God is my witness, Barca-loungers with absolutely soundless controls in the arm.

      • Yea, verily – Jackson has made the Rheingold of the Rings trilogy into a three-parter of its own. But so far, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

        I do wonder how long New Zealand can stand it.

  2. The eff-ecks were, of course, to make it more three-dee-able. I found that to be its most irritating aspect. I do not like 3D films — my eyes and my inner ear do battle and I come out the loser. And the scenes in 2D are simply overwrought as a result. Probably even in 3D. You’re very right about the cliff-hanger-as-suspense motif being repetitive even one time.

    I remarked to my companion on the way home that I’d do Fili, Kili and Thorin. All at once, if necessary.

    Didn’t like Gandalf in this. No, no, he was true to the book, which is, after alll, a children’s book and so Gandalf must be as he is, but I didn’t like him. I did enjoy the way Saruman was shown to be a dull, nattering, opportunistic narf. I continue to dislike the way the High Elves are portrayed, like ethereal faeries instead of battle-hardened warriors with special powers.

    The hedgehogs made me go “awwww” but, I fear, the Wargs also made me go “awww.” But then, I’m partial to dogs.

    • Hey, welcome!!!

      I think Jackson had a ravine to straddle with the high-elves. I’ve picked up the book for the nth re-read and it’s jarring how frivolous, even limp-wristed, the Elves are at their first appearance on the approach to Rivendell. “Bilbo the hobbit with dwarves, my dear! How delicious!” (I suppose Tolkien knew a fair number of Oxbridge types like this.) And Sam goes on later about how gay and grave they are at the same time. Legolas, at least, comes off as pretty tough, and I wouldn’t want to tangle with the legion that shows up at Helm’s Deep, even if that idea came right out of Jackson’s head.

      I can’t get anywhere near 3D. Even the SFX-laden short PSAs that you see before movies start (with POV roller coaster rides, etc.) make me dizzy and on one immortal occasion I got a blinding headache and spent the hour after I got home hurling as if I’d closed three pubs.

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