Covo on “The Hobbit”:
Someone used the expression “lightning in a bottle” when describing Peter Jackson’s latest movie … and as I considered all the pros and cons, and the fact that this highly anticipated film did not reach the level of cinematic achievement of “Lord of the Rings,” (LOTR) I also realized it’s simply a must-see film.
There are questions about whether this tale, contained in one not-so-slim tome, truly needed to be treated as trilogy. Until we see all the parts, there is really no way to determine that. However, I can say this – at least 45 minutes of this film could have been left on the cutting room floor without hurting a thing. The beginning of Bilbo Baggin’s adventure – his introduction to the band of dwarfs – was far too long to keep any audience interested and happy. And for such a drawn-out movie, we ought to have walked out of the theater able to name and recognize every one of the dwarfs, but in spite of its length, the character development was still somewhat lacking.
We saw the film in 3D HFR, the newest possible technology to create cinematic masterpieces, which simply may have been too much for the senses, but which I believe everyone should experience at least once. Some of the movie is computer-generated and during parts of the movie I felt the HFR “look” gave the film a sort of cheap soap opera feel, like an old B movie reel. However, there were parts of the film where the HFR worked well and transported the audience directly into Tolkien’s fantasy.
There is absolutely no issue with the acting – once again, the players all deserve superlatives, from Ian McClellan as Gandalf to Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage as Thorin. But without a doubt, Andrew Selkis steals the show with his best rendition of Gollum ever.
Selkis seamlessly transforms from the good Gollum to the bad Gollum – and as unpleasant as Gollum is meant to be, all his scenes are a pleasure to watch in that they are absolutely captivating. At one point in the movie, Bilbo gets crafty and offers to play a game with Gollum to get his help out of a cave. They make a bet and the “good” Gollum says, “If Bagginses loses, we eats him whole.” Bilbo, more confident than when he first left the Shire, answers “Fair enough.”
So the caveat here is that this film will not reach the lofty expectations of ardent fans of LOTR, but it is indeed a spectacle and with the new technology, a cinematic milestone. I would have much preferred a shorter film, and at the end of the day, this film will easily be regarded as the set up for the second film in the trilogy, subtitled “The Desolation of Smaug” (expected in 2013), which brings back beloved LOTR character Legolas (Orlando Bloom). The series will culminate in 2014 with “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” Inside info – there is a rumor that Peter Jackson has a cameo in the first six or seven minutes – but I wasn’t able to spot him.
The film is not perfect, but I recommend you go see it (maybe sans 3D) and decide for yourself. Note: the film is definitely not for little kids – there are parts that are downright terrifying. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is rated PG-13 and runs for almost three hours (169 minutes). It opens nationwide on Dec. 14, 2012.
Ayotte on “The Hobbit”:
Full disclosure—I’ve never read any of the J.R.R. Tolkien books or seen any of the Peter Jackson directed “Lord of The Rings” movies. In addition, this review will contain spoilers— here it goes.
“The Hobbit” is horrible. If you want to waste two hours and 46 minutes of your life then go see “The Hobbit.” It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film this terrible. It ranks right up therewith “Cabin in the Woods” and “Zookeeper.” It was like Jackson thought, “How can I cram ten ridiculous fight scenes in three hours?”
There are so many little people in this film it’s hard to keep count of who is who— hobbits, elves, dwarves and goblins galore.
It should also be known I saw the film in 3D and an HFR format, a high frame rate, 48-frames per second to be exact. Only nerds will really understand what that means, so in layman’s terms it means the quality is really, really good— so good the film looks fake and borderline unwatchable. I hoped it was one of those things that you eventually get over after watching for a few minutes like subtitles, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. After watching a two-hour journey with a clumsy hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, a wizard named Gandalf and a gang of dwarves I was ready to walk out.
Put it this way, I could have bought my ticket five minutes before the film started, went to dinner, got a haircut and then went to the film and wouldn’t have missed a thing. All you need to know is the dwarves are trying to make it back to their homeland and slay a dragon who stole their mountain. The worst part is you don’t even get to see them fight the dragon. All you see is their journey to the mountain and then it’s over. A film couldn’t get any worse, really.
Now, Jackson is going to make another three-hour film about the same thing—worthless. “The Hobbit” is basically Dungeons and Dragons meets the movie theater big screen. Don’t waste your money, time or life on this movie. Even friends of mine who are diehard “Lord of The Rings” fans weren’t exactly blown away by “The Hobbit.”
If there is a “best part” of the movie it doesn’t come till the end when Bilbo encounters Gollum and steals “the ring” from him. Aside from that I can’t justify telling someone to spend any amount of money to see this film.