Finally, the movie I’ve been waiting over a year for; To be transported back to middle earth to hobbiton, well, let’s just say that Harry Potter kids have nothing on Tolkien fans.
So let’s get down to business.
The opening sequence to the Hobbit is a prologue to to the prologue. We have (elder) Bilbo explaining the fall of Erebor, and essentially the set up for the journey ahead. I like the way that this scene set up to the party in the Fellowship. Just because I’m sentimental like that. Did we need this scene in the movie? No. Did I care? Not really.
The movie then continues on in the Tolkien style; character meetings, beginning the journey (where the movie slowed down for twenty minutes or so). Anyways, I wont bore you with character analysis of all of the dwarves because let’s face it, that would take hours. So let me give a bit of an overview of my favorites:
Fili and Kili
With the two youngest dwarves of the company, we see a Merry & Pippin-esque bond. I loved them. I enjoyed their humor, and their overall presence in the story. They want to be known, they want an adventure, and that’s exactly what they get.
Mr. Balin plays a pivotal role as Thorin’s mentor. He tries to keep the hot-headed, stubborn prince in check. Also he is adorable.
Thorin (Because I probably should say something about him)
I’m Thorin Oakenshield, I’m moody.
Thorin is much like he was in the book; moody, quick to frustration, carrying a chip on his shoulder. He’s overly-courageous (If thats even a thing). He is constantly frustrated with Bilbo, but eventually begins to see the use of a hobbit. Even if he almost dies in the process.
I HAVE to say something about Martin Freemans’ performance: Wonderful. I loved every second of his portrayal of Bilbo. He brings this new sarcasm to the beloved Hobbit that we didnt see much of in Fellowship. He’s snarky, but polite. He tried to do whats right, but he’s also very self-conscious of the fact that he is not a warrior. Freemans demeanor, presence, even how he walked as the hobbit was great. I honestly think that if anyone else would have been cast, I would have hated him. Ok, I’m done.
On to the actual review part.
I know, and have heard, how Tolkien enthusiasts are super not happy about the creative license Peter Jackson seems to have taken with the original story. I understand. When I saw the trailer the first time and saw Lady Galadriel, I was all “WHAT”. But now, I think I’m starting to understand. Yes, Jackson is making some choices that most of us writers would not have done, namely; making the pale orc Thorin’s nemesis, Rhadagast, Galadriel/Sauroman, the Necormancer, to name a few. However, I think I understand why he’s doing it this way. (I think)
Not only is Jackson tying up lose ends from Fellowship, he seems to be re-establishing main characters. Bilbo being an obvious choice, but Gandalf as well. In the Rivendell scene, he wasnt only showing Galadriel as an almighty elf, he wanted to illustrate the deterioration of Sauroman’s mind. From the scene, audience members who have no knowledge of the books can see how Sauroman’s mind is slowly being brainwashed by Sauron. The English major inside me kind of screamed WHY AREN’T PEOPLE READING THE BOOKS. But she quickly calmed down.
Side note, the music in this movie is brilliant. If Howard Shore doesn’t win another Oscar for best original score, I’ll eat my socks.
My favorite scene in the movie is between Bilbo and Gollum. I honestly dont think it could have been better even in my head. Andy Serkis’ Gollum/Smeagol is fantastic. The way ‘they’ argue back and forth while answering Bilbo’s riddle, is great. The end of the scene, when Bilbo follows Gollum to the way out of the cave, really moved me. Bilbo is invisible, he comes up behind Gollum, this pathetic creature who has just lost the only thing he’s ever wanted, with his sword poised to destroy him. But he cant. Because Gollum is a helpless creature, even if he wanted to eat Bilbo. I really feel that if you’re a Tolkien fan, you should go see the movie just for that scene.
However, the film was not without flaws. There were bits of the story that were not at all like they should have been. I myself would have enjoyed the Eagle scene much better, if they had spoken with them like in the novel. One thing that my Dad noted is that Glamdring and Orcrist (Gandalf and Thorins swords) dont glow! They were both forged by elves, and should have been glowing just like Sting when goblins/orcs are close.
And now for Rhadagast. Originally in Fellowship, now transplanted to the Hobbit. Although the character is a bit overly-hippie than I imagined. (The mushroom line? Really?) Also the bird nest in his hair, poo down his face, ew. But, Jackson and the other writers wanted him in it to introduce the necromancer. I know his sled is pulled by rabbits, but they, they can outrun wargs right?
Speaking of, the scene where the wargs are chasing the company through the countryside does not make sense visually. It was like all of a sudden they were a half a mile away from the danger, when three seconds before the orc pack was right on top of them. Hmmmmm. Someone wasn’t paying enough attention in the editing room.
I have a love/hate relationship with the troll scene. Yes Bilbo needed some character building lines. Yes he needed to somehow rescue the dwarves. But I always have enjoyed the scene in the book where Gandalf is throwing his voice to confuse the trolls. That being said, I also enjoyed how Bilbo was giving them advice on how to cook the dwarves. In my opinion, it was a great piece of writing, even if it doesnt match up with the original scene. (At this point in the movie, I was already fed up with Thorin’s moodiness. But I was in the book too.)
Overall, I enjoyed the film. On a scale of 1 being the animated Hobbit, and 10 being The Two Towers (favorite book, favorite movie), I’d give it like a 7.5. It passed, but it doesn’t get my full approval. There were too many little things, and the story didn’t flow like I think it should have. I am interested to see what Peter does in the remaining two films.
Peace, Love, and Hairy feet.
P.S. I refuse to give up hope on the second and third installments. But, we should probably pray that this doesn’t end up like Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars. Just to be safe.
P.P.S. Am also more than a little excited to have Benedict Cumberbatch play Smaug/ The necromancer. Way excited. I was super happy to see half of Smaug’s face at the end. Happiness.