I guess, like all geeks, nerds, and dweebs, I have always been a huge Tolkein fan. I think I read the Hobbit maybe four or five times between when I was about 11 and 16 years old. I made it through the Ring Trilogy once or twice in the same interim. I actually did enjoy the three Jackson movies from nearly a decade ago (damn time travels fast!) although they are a little hard to watch now to be honest. I was pretty hopeful about the Hobbit to be honest. I recall the criticisms of the Ring Trilogy that were waved at Jackson: too many scenes skipped, too compressed in terms of scenario, and occasionally far more sentimental than the original. Well, it seems that he went too far in the first two and unfortunately didn’t curb the last. Here, he adds a load of minor characters and takes this one short book (my copy is only about 250 pages) and stretches it to three nearly three-hour films. This first instalment was painfully slow in terms of pace. They spent what seemed like an hour on the “dinner party” at Bilbo’s house (which only took about 20 pages for Tolkien to cover in chapter 1) during which nearly nothing really happened and the same jokes kept repeating themselves. Also, we made the mistake of seeing it in 3D and so at times with the super-bright lighting, we could see the makeup on the actors’ faces which took a lot away from the whole atmosphere. The pace of the entire film was dreadfully drudging – the scene with Gollum just went on and on, the flight from the orcs never seemed to end, everything here just crept along. I thought it highly improbable that as the dwarves are fleeing the trolls in their underground kingdom, that they had to just breathe and the trolls would fall off the suspension bridges and when their section of the bridge falls for what seems like a few kilometers, all of them escape without as much as a scratch. Too much suspension of disbelief. There was also the stupid scene at the end between the leader dwarf and Bilbo that seeped of sentimentality and didn’t even bring the comic affect intended because it was so implausible and inane. I seriously started nodding off at least three or four times during the film and thus for “adventure” trilogy, it clearly got off to a shaky start. I can’t really fault the actors here as they were good, just that the scenario was WAY too dragged out – I suppose to ensure that they draw in a maximum of crowds and drag revenue from the games, t-shirts, and other schtick that will be generated from this run. So sad especially given the quality and beauty of the three Ring films and the previous creativity and originality shown by Jackson in King Kong and others.
Well, that probably won’t stop me from seeing Part 2, but I will bring a pillow and hide some whiskey in my jacket next time in case it gets as boring as this one.