Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Review

I was taking the crowd in the theater as we waited patiently for the movie to start. There was a general vibe of happy expectation flowing through the crowd. I felt this same energy when I saw the Lord of the Rings movies. It was a happy familiar feeling. It did add to the already Christmas spirit in the air.

My pulse quickened when the previews started and I watched with gleeful anticipation.

There be spoilers so best begone with you if ye need not want to know what happens. Ye were warned!

First I do want to say, I do not like dwarves. I like hobbits even less but dwarves were always a close second. They are short, hairy, noisy creatures that best stay underground. I had opposing feelings going into this movie because the dwarves were one of the worst parts of the Hobbit book. I just didn't like them. Now I was going to sit through a 2.6 hour movie and watch their antics. I was excited and a little worried going in. But let us get on with the review.

The Upside

The beginning was powerful. They info dumped right at the start with history and back story but when Smaug appeared, everyone around me was quiet as a mouse. Seeing the dragon blasting and making his way to the Lonely Mountain is chill inducing. The dwarves fighting and fleeing as this monster breathes fire and smashes his way through fills you with helplessness for them. You don't see much of Smaug except for his legs, tail and dragon shadow. It was nicely done because it added an extra shade of mystery to this great and powerful dragon.

The beginning scene with the dwarves was good as it kept you interested. A forgotten people who were evicted from their home. They were sent out into the world to try and survive and find a new home. It is a bit heart breaking.

When Thorin see's his grandfather get killed and he goes after the White Orc was emotionally powerful. You really feel for him as they fight with everything they got.

Martin Freeman was an excellent choice for Bilbo. He really seem to have him down. A very down to earth character, Bilbo spends his time overcoming obstacles. He doesnt have all the answers but it was fun watching him beating the odds by thinking the situation out.

You see some of the spiders! Those dreadful creatures that play with their food. But alas, They are being saved for the next movie.

Ian McKellen owns the role of Gandalf. There will never be another person who can fill that role.

Seeing Galandrail, Elrond and Saruman together was like visiting old friends. I would have a cup of tea with them anytime.

I played a game where I tried to keep track of every dwarf during the actions scenes. It is a very difficult game.

Gollum hasn't changed and nor should he. The banter and puzzle solving in Gollum's cave was interesting and not boring. (I had a fear that it might not work out so well on screen.)

I want a pack of wargs. I just do.

Action scenes were top notch. Bravo.

The movie has many things going for it but one of the main themes was the dwarves and having no home to go to. This spoke volumes and added to a feeling of being lost with no place to go. It was something we can all connect to with a certain degree.

 The Downside

There are a number of times through out the movie where things just get a little too goofy. Like when the Goblin King falls on dwarves right after their harrowing escape just made me go "ugh". I know the Hobbit was meant for children when it was written but the goofiness took me out of the move a little.

A lack of Smaug. It is understandable that they want to save Smaug for the next movies but the next one is a year away. Much too long.

There were points the movie felt a little drawn out. I believe it would have played better if it was just two movies but since Peter Jackson is going for three, I will reserve final judgment at the end of the trilogy.

There is a grand adventure in this movie but it does not have an epic feel to it. They talk about Sauron and the growing evil in the lands so the movies can connect but after the grandeur of the Lord of the Rings, it feels a tiny bit watered down. Don't get me wrong, I will watch every one but maybe I just need take a step back and watch it again.

I feel Thorin should have been a stronger character. He has moments where he just doesn't come off kingly. He seems unsure and he makes mistakes but you just don't feel like he is really into it. Maybe they made him that way so people could relate to him but I am unsure. I like the character a lot but they could have down played his flaws a little. The reason why I am writing about this is at the end when he fights the White Orc. I wont give too much away but it felt a bit like a whimper.

 The Verdict

If you loved Lord of the Rings, you will love The Hobbit. It is a grand adventure and has truly wonderful moments. I would say go out and see it, maybe a few times.

But to earlier about my dislike for dwarves. I saw this movie and it changed me. Changed how I looked at the noisy, hairy little buggers. There was one scene where Bilbo feels useless and he was quietly going to leave. Bofur stops him and asks him why he is leaving. Bilbo explains himself but Bofur keeps trying to convince him to stay and telling him he is a part of the company. When Bilbo continues to say that he is leaving, Bofur looks away for a moment and genuinely wishes him good luck on his way home. That was the moment where I could not hate dwarves any longer.

I have something in my eye.

Go see the movie!

E. Cross


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