21 March 2013
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (if you have no expectations...)
As I'm writing this review two days after the DVD release of The Hobbit, it's a safe bet I already didn't believe the film worth theater prices (is anything these days?) plus gas and parking.
Let me first say..... I do not regret paying $3.99 for a streamed Standard Definition version of The Hobbit courtesy of Amazon. My love of the Lord of the Rings trilogy cemented my intent to see the its (sort of) prequel. In fact, I was pretty excited because I love the world and mythology of Middle Earth.
Therefore, it pains me to say that The Hobbit was far from exciting, interesting, or entertaining. It was a giant disappointment.
Sure, this CGI sponsored adventure looked beautiful, WETA did an incredible job with makeup & costumes, and it's nice that Peter Jackson still used sets and locations rather than only green screen. Major props to the crew.... get it? Wah wah wah!
And who can argue with Ian McKellen's reprisal of Gandalf, the stellar cast of dwarves, and the super sexy Richard Armitage as Thorin the Dwarf King? That's right: no one. All the actors did a fantastic job.
Yet the fact remains that The Hobbit is tedious. It's nearly three hours long and covers only the first third of the book in obnoxious detail. A two-part saga would've been acceptable and well-paced, or perhaps three films maxing out at 90 minutes each, but at the rate of 3 films at 3 hours a piece you might as well get the audio book and listen to it on your commute to and from work (at least you can get sh*t done that way).
Sure, there are a few good action sequences-- mainly the last 20 minutes-- but for example, the battle between the rock giants was random and happened quite coincidentally. Perhaps that's not how it happens in the book, but I'm talking about the film so stay with me!
Since movies and stories are my LIFE (dramatic!), I'm going to have my SUPER NERD moment: One big timeline inconsistency is casting Martin Freeman-- who is fantastic-- as Bilbo. Bilbo looks to be in his late thirties, early forties courtesy of Freeman actually being 40 at the time of filming and having boyish good looks. If my math is correct-- and it is because I used a calculator-- Bilbo would've been 51 at the time of the quest because it was 60 years prior to his 111th birthday. I know I know, who cares but I'm a detail person and these kinds of things get under my skin!
Plus, Gollum was given "unnatural long life" because the One Ring was in his possession, the same happened to Bilbo. So how was Gollum able to live another 60 years into the Lord of the Rings saga when Bilbo aged dramatically within weeks of giving up the ring? HOW?!
There may also be an inconsistency with Bilbo beginning his book on the actual day of his party (basically the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring) because I thought he was well into writing it when he left Frodo that night. However, while I am a detail person, I don't feel like pulling out the dvd and piecing everything together because my cat is curled up sleeping next to me and it would be mean to wake him.
Overall, if you're a LOTR/Medieval fantasy fan, see The Hobbit. Despite the slow pace, you'll find moments to enjoy. I'm not sure it's worth a DVD purchase, but a rental is fine. I am hoping (against all odds) the other two will be more engaging so I can justify purchasing the trilogy when it's finally on blu-ray. My LOTR collection won't feel complete without it!
Obviously, if you're anything but a fan of the series, save yourself the three hours. You'll thank me.