Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Review: The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey poster

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
169 mins / Dir. Peter Jackson

I've been vociferously not-arsed over The Hobbit, largely because the trailers just made it look like Lord Of The Rings Featuring Tim From The Office...

All these months later, I can't work out whether I should be elated that I was right. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the LotR films, but there were vast sections of them that left me cold, and that's entirely to do with me rather than the material. The same applies to The Hobbit, for better or worse. It's unapologetically similar*1 in style and tone to its forebears, and I reckon most civilian viewers will like it in equal measure.

Being that civilian*2, I spent a fair amount of time wishing things would move on. There were more than a few scenes which could have comfortably ended a couple of minutes earlier with no negative effect on the plot, and tightening the pace no end. After three hours, there seems to have been a solid (if leisurely) beginning of a story, precious little in the way of character development, but an abundance of filler.

That's not intended with any malice, and I'm still glad to have seen The Hobbit in a cinema. The version we saw was in 2D*3 and in standard 24fps projection, and still looked and sounded beautiful. Regardless of your feelings on stretching a children's book out to 9 hours, you've never seen Middle Earth look as bright, detailed and luscious.

I liked The Hobbit. I wanted to love it, but it wasn't really made with me in mind.


And while I may not agree with all of his points, it was difficult to watch without the spirit of Randal Graves accompanying me...

*1 And rightly so. Any attempt to pander to new audiences at this point would undermine the work in LotR.
*2 If not an outright heathen as I haven't read the books. Look, if I couldn't manage The Hobbit, I certainly couldn't tackle LotR.

*3 No agenda in that, it just started at a convenient time. Just under 3 hours of film, plus half an hour of targeted advertising, plus work the next day? I'm an old man, ffs.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. Plot holes, some unconvincing CG mixed in with very convincing CG, and a "Oooh, look how much better our tech is" overly long Golem scene.

    Couldn't help thinking i'd seen it all before about ten years ago though. Twenty mins action, followed by some sweeping New Zealand scenese, then another twenty mins of action etc. etc. etc.

    Good for what it was, but what it was was overly long and boring in spots. Peter Jackson is in dire need of an editor, he's become far too self indulgent since he was permitted to release films over 2hours 30mins, he just doesn't know when to stop.