Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Movie

I don't do a lot of reviews on here, mostly because I'm terrified they'll come back to bite me in the ass one day, but I'm *fairly* sure that Peter Jackson is not going to see this review, so here goes...

As you may recall, I was excited for this movie. It was the ONE film of the holiday season I vowed to see while in the States. I saw all of The Lord of the Rings movies in the theater - it became a holiday tradition that I loved and I was hoping to rekindle the affair. So when we went to Bozeman a couple of weeks ago (Red Lodge has one teeny tiny theater that shows one movie at a time - once a day - and it was not The Hobbit), Sarah and I knew we had to work the film into our tight schedule. But I was an idiot and didn't buy tickets in advance, and the movie was sold out. It worked out in the end - we got to spend the afternoon with our friend and it gave me a chance to reread the book before seeing the movie. This seemed like a particularly brilliant move on my part, at the time. I hadn't read the novel since I was in sixth grade, and I'm pretty sure that most of what I remembered was actually from the Rankin and Bass cartoon version anyway. So I read the book on one flight, fell in love with it all over again, and was super excited to see the movie in DC.

I should probably caveat all of this by saying I had one other motive for seeing The Hobbit. I'm obsessed with Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin Oakenshield in the movie, and somehow remains hot as a dwarf with a prosthetic nose. If you don't believe me, feast your eyes!

At any rate, we ended up seeing the movie in 3D at 10 am on Saturday in Georgetown, and that was the first disappointment. The theater was tiny (apparently 10 am isn't a popular time to see movies; who knew?) and there was an issue with the screen, so the 3D really messed with my eyes. Eventually I got used to it, and that's not really Pete's fault, so we'll press on.

The main issue for me was that the movie didn't follow the book - pretty much at all. I went into the movie wondering how Peter Jackson made one 300-page book into a trilogy, and now I know. He included material that simply wasn't in The Hobbit. Characters I didn't even remember existed appeared out of nowhere (Radagast the Brown is mentioned briefly in The Lord of the Rings and apparently also comes into play in other works - I am by no means a Tolkien expert! - but he's definitely not in The Hobbit. Although I kind of loved the bunny sled team, and Sebastian the hedgehog). For the first half of the movie, I muttered over and over, "This wasn't in the book." About two hours in I gave up, although occasionally Sarah would turn to me and whisper, "Was this in the book?" To which I would respond with a despondent shake of my head.

Thorin, I'm happy to say, did not disappoint (although he's a lot meaner in the movie than he is in the book - fortunately he redeems himself by the end of the first film). The rest of the dwarfs were also great, especially fat Bombur. I loved him. But I can't figure out why they left one single dwarf prosthetic-less. Kili, to be specific. It just looks ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, Aidan Turner is pretty easy on the eyes, but come on.

Let's play spot the intended heart-throb.
Otherwise I thought the casting and makeup was all excellent. Martin Freeman was the perfect Bilbo Baggins, and Ian McKellen is always fantastic as Gandalf. I forgave Galadriel's unauthorized (that word takes on a whole new meaning suddenly) appearance simply because I love Cate Blanchett. Gollum is as maniacally creepy as ever, and the special effects lived up to my high expectations.

Overall, it wasn't bad, per se. Just not what I expected. Of course I'll see the next two films (although I was trying to figure out how things like The Silmarillion factor into the rest of the trilogy and frankly, I still don't understand it), if only because I love Richard Armitage so much. And who knows? Maybe by next year my brain will be so fried (or dried out like a prune from this terrible Russian weather) that I'll forget what happens in the book.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Ah well, at least we can go complain about the next one together. It's tradition. Love you!