The Hobbit: A Very Expected Journey of tedious Walking, Singing and Talking Orcs. Michelle’s Review!

The Hobbit

It used to be that when a movie became a trilogy (especially a planned one) it meant something. It was a very rare thing. How many years was it between Star Wars and Back to the Future to The Star Wars Prequels?  Thanks to the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it seems like a lot of movies are now being split in two for no storytelling reason.  Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2? Harry Potter? Ok, I’ll give you splitting Deathly Hallows on paper was a good idea, it was an 800 page book but in execution? One 3 Hr movie probably would have been better.  Twilight Breaking Dawn? Oh, hell nah….

Now we have the absolute worst example of this new trend – Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.  I say Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit because it certainly isn’t JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit anymore.  A 270 page book, stretched into 3 – 3 hour movies (not to mention the inevitable extended versions) and you feel every bit of the first 3 hour installment.

I’ve tried reading The Hobbit on numerous occasions and could never make it past the first 30 pages. In those 30 pages they never left the hut, never said what the point was of the entire adventure that everyone would soon go on, very little character building of the 13 Dwarves just a bunch of silly singing, eating and reading about how purplexed Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) was at the shenanigans going around him.

The main controversy surrounding this movie, beyond the split was Peter Jackson’s insistence on shooting this movie in a new 48fps on 3D HFR (High Frame Rate). Many people compared the look to watching a video tape on the big screen. Some have said that 48fps leads to a higher instance of motion sickness. Jackson thought this new “gimmick” would give the movie a higher definition and better viewing experience than the regular 24fps that we’re all used to.

As someone who gets motion sickness fairly easy (The Hunger Games made me sick), I was ready to hate this new format. Peter Jackson was right. The first 20 minutes of this movie are so stunningly beautiful that I was absolutely enraptured.  The much maligned 3D 48fps projection made for some of the clearest, most beautiful 3D that I have ever experienced. Is it the future of movies? No. Either my eyes adjusted to it fairly quick or it was only used in some sequences.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Movie Review

Like LOTR, The Hobbit starts off with a 10 minute prologue that does a fantastic job of setting up the world and the story. We get a brief history of the rise and fall of the Dwarf Kingdom in a mountain. They became a prosperous nation under the leadership of their King. The King’s addiction to gold brings upon them the terrible wrath of the Dragon Smaug. Now homeless and scattered the Dwarves dream of one day returning home.  Boom, that’s your story and Jackson tells it with the gusto you would expect. The 3D, SFX and sets look huge, imposing, and immediately sucks you into this world.

Unfortunately that Prologue is the best thing in the entire movie. Any momentum and excitement from the amazing first few minutes is lost as the padding immediately starts to rear its ugly head. First we have to spend some time with Old Bilbo and Frodo along with lots of sweeping shots of the Shire.  The entire opening of the movie is pure Jackson addition, but it works. So I was filled with hope that maybe all of his changes would be good.

The filler begins right away with the incredibly long drawn out set up. Which felt unnecessary, since we just saw the entire story basically laid out in the first 15 minutes. Did we really need another 30 minutes of watching the “whimsy” of Gandalf Ian McKellen) and each no-name dwarf show up on poor Bilbo’s doorstep. Sure it is cute for a few minutes watching them trash his house and eat all his food while he wonders who these strangers are, but after awhile you want them to get on with it.

There are too many characters, with jumbled names that are introduced quickly, whom we never find out much about. We’re stuck with cliched tropes – the old wise loyal dwarf, the two comic relief ones – who will grow to be annoying, the rugged warrior one, a bunch of other ones who can’t even be bothered to have a stereotype – I’m assuming they will be cannon fodder in the next two films – the dour and unlikable Prince Thorin (Richard Armitage).

Most of the things that I didn’t like about the first trilogy are here in spades. The repeated sweeping helicopter shots of the beautiful landscapes that making you feel like you are watching a Travel Channel show and not a movie, the constant running and walking with no purpose and talking Orcs.  It’s hard to take Orcs and Trolls as serious, badass villains when they all sound like characters out of a Bugs Bunny movie. Or a big fat Goblin King who sounds like a singing Elmer Fudd.

Through the voice of Thorin, the movie spends too much time denigrating Bilbo. Questioning why he is there, his loyalty, etc. At one point in the movie Bilbo is left behind and Thorin doesn’t try to find out what happened to him he just says “I knew he would leave us” and then leaves him behind. At another point they leave Rivendell without saying anything to anyone either. Thorin is the one who shows a complete lack of faith in his people or trust. What kind of leader is that?  All the while, Bilbo says or does nothing to really defend himself. So when he finally does something “heroic” at the end, it becomes a case of who cares.

It seemed like Jackson didn’t no how to end the movie. The climatic battle felt long and drawn out with multiple climaxes. Where I couldn’t help think – if they end it here, it’s completely cheap. Then the battle would continue on for 4 more pseudo “moments” where the movie finally stops and how it was done, leaves you wondering. Why did I just spend 3 hours watching this if they could have just done the thing they did to be at the place where they were? (Trying to avoid spoilers). And we have 2 more years and hours of more time to watch this story when it seems like it is basically ended?

There and back again, indeed.

Final Grade C-

  • Adam Antony

    God, this review made me want to bash my head incessantly against a wall. “I’ve tried reading The Hobbit on numerous occasions and could never make it past the first 30 pages.” I was ready to try and put forth a counter argument to the article but I shan’t bother. You can’t criticise the film for being true to the book. Also, it’s know not no in the last paragraph. Please don’t review a movie ever again you elitist bigot.

    And LOL at The Avengers having A+, but The Hobbit has a silly story. Jesus.

  • Iain

    Weak review. Check the spelling of the word ‘sweeping’. You seem to have a question mark infestation in the first part of your article. Seriously amateurish article. I neither care whether you are unable to hold you concentration to read a book or if you are unable to suspend your disbelief for more than 30 minutes.

    • malexandria

      stupid comment so there! seriously though, the question marks are intentional learn to read. The sweaping comment is valid, it was supposed to say “Talking Orcs,” not sure why it didn’t recognize the change this morning. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • Iain

        Genius response. But seriously though, I’m pleased to see that you’ve taken on board our comments and edited your article. I’m slightly suprised that you don’t think I can read. English is my second language but, even I can spell sweeping, understand the difference between ‘no’ and ‘know’ and spot needless repetition.

        • malexandria

          funny, I always take good natured ribbing and “hatred” well :) I do wish we had editors here, but oh well….

          • Iain

            There’s no hatred, I just think this article is sloppy. Public opinion seems to be with me. Can you not just admit that you had a bad day at the office? We all get those from time to time.

          • malexandria

            I already did… again, it is called “humor”….

          • Iain

            no disrespect but, I’d really try to avoid writing comedy in the future.

          • malexandria

            when people say “no disrespect” it means they want to be disrespectful. but comedy is my true calling…

          • Iain

            Actually, when people say ‘no disrespect’ it normally means that their following statement could be perceived to be disrespectful but they are clearly stating that it should not be treated as such.

            You suggested that I ‘seriously learn to read’ when it was clear that I have read, spell checked and understood your article. You’ve told another person who thought your article was bad to stop reading your stuff. You’ve also suggested that you think children are generally rude, teachers are incompetent and that you didn’t bother to do background research on the original material that the films were based on.

            In the amusing world of humour, you’re not exactly Chaplinesque…

          • malexandria

            You can’t dictate how people are supposed to feel about a statement just because you say “no disrespect.” And no, now you are just being an humorless ass.

            . Yes kids can be assholes, have you not heard of bullies? Have you NOT played any online games, gone on message boards – hell read comments on this site? Don’t be naive. But that’s a reflection on their parents and some teachers.

            There’s not enough time in a day to “research” and read every book a “movie” is based on. Movies should stand on their own. This is where I’m ending this conversation because its a silly, circle jerk argument. You clearly have too high opinion of yourself.

          • Iain

            I can see I’ve upset you. I must apologise. It was always my intent to seek solutions rather than make you unhappy. Actually, I’ve read it again now and I think this article is remarkably insightful, witty and filled with razor sharp humour (I nearly died when you finished a sentence with ‘oh hell nah’…comedy gold)!

            Apologies for also not playing online games with children and engaging children on message boards. I’m sure it would give me a completely different view of them. Unfortunately, my only experience comes from actually interracting with them in real life.

            You’re quite right as well that there is not enough time in the day to do any research. Research is probably overrated, you’ve totally changed my opinion about this.

            I’m sad that you’re ending this conversation, but I’ll look forward to your next insightful, humour filled review. In the meantime, I will try to form a lower opinion of myself.

          • malexandria

            life is too short don’t take it so seriously…

      • Adam Antony

        He is pointing out your incorrect spelling of sweep, not the comment.

  • http://twitter.com/MarcosTNovais Marcos Tadeu Novais

    You forgot to mention that the Hobbit are going to be split into 3 parts, because it has a lot of plots that evolves while Bilbo is telling the main story (the White Council, the invasion of Dol Guldur and etc), and Peter Jackson, had to explain why Gandalf disappears in some important parts of the book (where he gone and what he was doing), this all can be found in the other numerous books from Tolkien Legendarium, so, it is J.R.R.Tolkien The Hobbit, but with all the majority of his other stories being told in the same movie :).
    I really don’t agree with your grade, but it’s okay, different opinions are needed, and i respect them all :)
    Farewell and sorry for any mistakes in the writing, need to practice more :(

  • Rob

    Actually, the review is pretty spot on. No sense of imminent danger from cartoon-like bad guys. Lackluster dialogue with kitchy one-liners that are relevant to earth, but not to middle earth (“out of the frying pan”?). Returning characters feel paraded in front of the audience for nostalgia purposes alone. A dwarf (a stouter but less agile race) deflecting arrows with a sword, when a man (Boromir) apparently didn’t get the bright idea or actually couldn’t because dwarves are swifter. Myriad battles an no one with a single scratch on them (save for Thorin at the end). This was a live action cartoon, not a revisiting of the original trilogy.

    • Anon Imus

      Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire is the name of the chapter those events take place in.Its a shout out to book fans

      As for deflecting arrows, its easier when there is half as much of you to guard. It was not a revisiting of the “original trilogy.” The Hobbiit came out first! SEVENTEEN YEARS EARLIER!
      The LOTR trillogy is grander. And it is more widely known because it came out in the 50’s. The Hobbit is far less dark and far more endearing because it has heart but does not rip at it. It is funny, yet the laughter dies away when battle nears. The LOTR trilogy is a sojourn in darkness and though the journey is epic, it does not hearten one the same way.

      • malexandria

        Who the cares when the source material came out? We’re talking about MOVIES. Not the books.

      • Rob

        “As for deflecting arrows, its easier when there is half as much of you to guard.” I’m profusely confused by this assessment of physical laws (even in an imaginary world). Deflecting is about reaction time and accuracy (neither of which are dwarf qualities), not size. They are blocking arrows with swords, not evading them.

    • Adam Antony

      Out of the frying pan is a chapter within the book. The Hobbit is a much lighter hearted affair than The Lord of the Rings so the one liners are to be expected, also the single scratch comment is a rather moot point. With LotR one member of the fellowship died permanently, just one throughout the pass of Caradrhas, Moria, Amon hen, attack of the warg, Helms Deep, the seige of Minas Tirith, Shelob, Sams venture into Minas Morgul, Merry and Pippins assault on Isengard, the attack of Osgiliath and the final battle at the gates of Mordor. ONE, the exact same amount as in the Hobbit so how can you criticise what is in The Hobbit but not find a problem with it in LotR?

      In short, fuck off Rob.

      • Rob

        Yes, profanity shows you have some salient arguments, genius.

        The “frying pan” bit was only one of a few one-liners that riddled the movie with no moving dialogue. Who was your favorite character? Likely, it wasn’t any new character introduced (excuse me, new to the LOTR non-source plebes who are critiquing the film for, you know…it’s film qualities), because we were offered no individual to be endeared to (Bilbo passably qualifies).

        And, regardless of whether this is a “lighter time” in historical middle earth (perhaps frightening evil only occurs when Sauron is near? Well, except Smaug. Let’s make dragon fire seems horrific), but there is absolutely no imminent sense of peril ever in this movie. Despite your reductionism argument of “ONE!”, ignoring information we already know, we’re supposed to be under the impression TWO characters dies in Fellowship; including the most important one. And they gave us a feeling of being winded, worn down, heartbroken, wounded, in pain…all tension-building elements. I didn’t see any The Hobbit characters so much as build a sweat.

        And, to compound things, this complete lack of danger makes a mockery of Gandalf’s own words “Perhaps it is because I’m afraid…” Really? Of what? The live action version of “Which way did he go, George???” baddies? Did the race of goblins evolve so drastically in a few decades from the dopey slitheriness of this band and their kind to the droves of maniacal hordes in Moria?

        In short, we are never provided with anyone we feel invested in…which I suppose is fine since no one ever seems in any real danger; the kind that would draw us in and prod our interest.

        And your desperate attempt to salvage this film because you feel emotionally invested in it to a point that you make yourself blind to its shortcomings is endearing as a fanboy, but otherwise empty in terms of objective, mature discussion.

        • Charles Stanley

          I can’t wrap my head around this meandering treatise about the need for danger porn to make a movie engaging. The main characters’ lives are in danger in the Hobbit during probably half of its run time. A fundamentally more light hearted movie (while not entirely divorced from the tone of the LOTR trilogy) need not include an “imminent sense of peril” or “a feeling of being winded, worn down, heartbroken, wounded, in pain” to capture the audience’s interest. I honestly don’t understand why you would assert otherwise.

  • Doug Walter

    Pretty embarrassing work. Please get a dictionary. climatic vs. climactic ? Please study grammar.

    • malexandria

      um…no. don’t read my stuff anymore….

      • Adam Antony

        That’s low, people are positively criticising your poor grammar on a public article and you tell the readers not to read your stuff? Okay.

  • Stephen Sutton

    Purplexed!? Yes, my Dear, I am, as to how you can earn a living turning out such drivel. I’m a teacher and I’ve witnessed twelve-year-olds produce better than this

    • malexandria

      Thanks for reaffirming my lack of faith in the quality of people who teach our kids. No wonder they are such rude assholes. Way to set an example…

      • Anon Imus

        So now you’re calling children assholes? You cannot begin to appreciate the telling of story here without reading the brilliant book behind it. Because you don’t know what’s going on, you have no idea of what the pacing should or even could be.

        Worse, virtually every word processor known to man these days has a spell check function, even some versions of notepad which is only a text editor. The fact that you refuse to check your work shows a lack of basic level professionalism that is beyond excuse. While the odd homophone may slip in accidentally and be missed one need merely use the tools at hand to find all other missteps.

        AND ANOTHER THING!
        The singing is not silly! It called being a dwarf! If you dont have the cultural awareness to recognise that SONG is part of who people are and how they express themselves then you have some serious growing up to do.

        • malexandria

          Some can be yes. If you don’t think they can be then you obviously don’t spend time around “children.” Or ever been in a chatroom or played multiplayer games. take off the “rose tented” glasses. And for the love of god get a freaking sense of humor.

          • Iain

            *tinted.

          • malexandria

            Have no idea what you are talking about! :)

          • Iain

            Allow me to explain. You originally wrote “rose tented” glasses. The phrase is “rose tinted glasses”. I’m assuming you did understand as you have now edited and corrected your reply.

          • malexandria

            don’t know what you mean….

  • Stephen Sutton

    malexandria

    No-one can begin to take your opinion seriously when you won’t even take your job seriously. There is no excuse WHATSOEVER for spelling mistakes in your medium. I realise you’re annoyed at people pulling you up on this sub-standard article but to try and defend the indefensible makes you appear childish and thoroughly unprofessional

    • malexandria

      Nope, I just don’t take people who post comments seriously. And this is “Entertainment” so no, I don’t spend time obsessing over the “seriousness” of it. Go somewhere else if that’s what you want.

      • Stephen Sutton

        Then why are you replying to every comment if you don’t take them seriously? You have to learn to accept negative criticism when it’s deserved; It’s part of being an adult. Kindly stop behaving like a child. You work is sub-standard, of that there can be no argument and you deserve to be called on it

  • http://www.facebook.com/kat.wilson.71 Kat Wilson

    I just couldn’t finish reading your review. I kept trying but couldn’t get past the first 30 words. No point in going further.

    Now I will go critique someone else’s take on your review based on that.

  • Tom

    The structure of this review was utterly embarrassing. How someone actually gets paid to write this utterly baffles me.

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  • Mike

    Little surprise in reading your review that you couldn’t make it past the first 30 pages of the Hobbit… If all you want is a pure action movie with zero substance, I suggest you go watch The Transporter–or, as Antony points out, you can go watch Battleship again.