There is nothing more precious to me in the movie world than the Lord of the Rings movies. I have read the books multiple times over the years. I have seen the films at least 400 times (not exaggerating, probably underestimating it). It's safe to say that these three films are my favorite films of all time. It's the reason why I watch movies; it's the reason why I irrevocably fell in love with them. I was thirteen when I saw the first film, I literally pointed at the screen and said â€œTHATâ€. Love at first sight and sound.
I was highly anticipating the film version of The Hobbit. It is a perfectly enjoyable book about Bilbo, a young Hobbit who has never had any adventures or done anything unexpected. The journey with 13 dwarves (led by Thorin) and a wizard, Gandalf the grey, to the Lonely Mountain to confront the dragon Smaug is an immensely fascinating adventure bursting with childlike wonder. I was wary of the decision to split the book into three movies but I had faith. I believed in the filmmaker who made me believe in the movies. To know your state of fandom, try naming all 13 dwarves in the same breath, if you can, you'll be able to grasp the failure of this film in the same amount of time.
Alas, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a big bloated bore. There is literally a section of the book, which would be 20-odd pages that is stretched into an hour. Film adaptation of a novel essentially means taking a large source material and filtering it. Deletion, not addition is the key. There is a reason why a 1000 page novel was split into three films and it worked. Even then, Jackson had omitted various episodes to make it into a film. The Hobbit runs more like a TV mini-series than a film. It should have been titled â€œA Trip to Middle-Earthâ€. Imagine watching a 10 minute sequence on Tom Bombadil, there was a reason why this character was excluded from the Rings films. He wasn't even there in the extended versions which also don't feel as bloated as this. Jackson includes a flashsomething with Radagast the Brown which is so terrible it smells of the gaudy stench of the Star Wars prequels. Jar Jar Binks et al.
Don't be mistaken. I'm not one of those people who want the films to be exactly like the books. In fact, a film needs to stand on its own. Find its own voice. Change it but don't shortchange it. Don't try to become the author by re-writing it. By including various episodes from the appendices, which don't exist in the novel, Jackson is basically telling another story. That being said, I also don't want to see Frodo or Saruman or Galadriel, I want to see Bilbo. I don't want to hear the themes from Lord of the Rings. I want to hear the music of The Hobbit. Howard Shore rehashes the music from the previous films and does nothing original with it (barring the Song of the Lonely Mountain). I want passion to be the reason behind the films, not money. I don't want to watch The Hobbit as a franchise. I want it to be one good film.
In the human anatomy, the appendix is an organ without any known use that can become inflamed. This is the perfect analogy for this film. The appendix is removed from the body for a reason.
The only saving grace is the final hour of the film. The first two hours are a two-star film. This final hour is a three and half star one. Does it cover up for the mess before? Yes and no. â€œRiddles in the Darkâ€ happens to be one of the finest pieces of writing in Tolkien's cannon. The source itself reeks of literary brilliance. Obviously this segment of Bilbo and Gollum's confrontation could not be messed up by any filmmaker, however he does it. From then on till the end, the film captures the thrill and magnificence of Jackson's talent. Thorin also gives a hug to Bilbo, softening up to him.
I'm sure I'll soften up to this film. Being a fan, I still do recommend you watch it. I'm sure I will watch it again and not find it â€œthat badâ€, enjoy it more. But I don't want "not that bad". I want great, at least very good. Not take pity over it and find something enjoyable just because I'm a fan of the Tolkien universe. Mr. Peter Jackson, in your misguided quest of pleasing Tolkien purists, you have broken my heart into 3 pieces. You placed the first piece in front of me and I didn't like what you did with it. I wish you mend it. At least make the pain lesser, bring it back to two films. As Bilbo says "I do believe the worst is behind us", I will surely watch the next two with anticipation and I will hope it gets better but for now, I'm deeply saddened.view less