Based on the book The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Sometimes I’m just a glutton for punishment. Transcendence and this in the same week, it’s a wonder I can even look at a screen again…so let’s get this over with.
Firstly, I love Lord of the Rings, and like the Hobbit, although it’s very different, much lighter and more of a children’s book, so it’s not quite as close to my heart. But I do like it and have read it many times.
Secondly, I loved Jackson’s three movies of LOTR. I have the director’s cuts and have a couple of times even watched them all in one day (takes some planning but very much worth the effort.) I don’t agree with all his plotting and character choices, but at least I can see why he made them and what he was trying to do, and I have always given him a strong B+/A- on this, which for something as difficult to film and as beloved as this trilogy is, is nothing short of phenomenal on his part.
Thirdly, I was pretty excited when I heard that Jackson had FINALLY worked out the rights disputes with the people who hold the Tolkien rights and was making The Hobbit. He’ll do it right, I thought, and couldn’t wait for the first one to come out.
Fourthly: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Take your time, I’ll wait right here.
So after that awfulness, I was not ABOUT to go see the second Hobbit movie in the theater. Sure, the trailers looked good, but they have done so much work on creating trailers to attract audiences that I rarely trust them any more. I waited until I could pick up the movie from my library for free…and I am so glad I did.
Because it was the same as the first Hobbit movie, in that the special effects and things-chasing-each-other budgets were way overfunded, and the ‘taking a good straightforward book and creating a good movie out of it without screwing it up’ column in the accounting ledgers had for some reason been left at 0.
Yes, I know. Jackson and the writers are trying to create a seamless whole, where these movies will lead right into the LOTR movies, so they included people and foreshadowing and stuff that refers to the previous set of movies. Didn’t work for the Star Wars prequels either, did it?
I know, they are really only putting in stuff that Tolkien wrote about in places like the voluminous appendices to LOTR and the Silmarillion and things like that. Padding, is what I say. They are padding these movies out to make them blockbusters. And it shows.
There are lots of scenes of people chasing each other (never a good sign, as we know from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and often (like that whole ridiculous subplot of Thorin Oakenshield and the White Orc) the same people chasing each other over and over and over. There is Portentous Foreshadowing of Events That Will Come in Lord Of The Rings Movies (I was forced to use capitals to make the words seem more important, Mr. Jackson made me do it.) There are cameos by people playing characters who have nothing to do with The Hobbit, but who must be seen to be doing Important Things That Will Matter Later.
Basically, in LOTR, Jackson took a 1200 page trilogy and made three four hour movies of it. Not a bad thing.
But here, he is taking a 350 page book…and MAKING THREE THREE HOUR MOVIES OUT OF IT.
And I’m done. I’ve said enough. It was ridiculous, I sneered at it, it did not beguile me or capture my interest. It was all I could do to watch the whole thing so I would be entitled to write this review.
And that’s done. Forever.
And I have two years before the third one will come out…or longer, if I’m lucky.
Think good thoughts, true fans. Good thoughts indeed.