Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Hobbit

To start the new year, I thought I would give you my thoughts on The Hobbit. Thanks to a Christmas gift from friends, we were able to get out this weekend and actually see it. And I have to say, I really liked it.

First of all, let me address whatever negatives come to mind. Probably the only thing that bothered me was the Goblin King. He was way too big, and way too articulate. I mean, if I recall, he may have been somewhat articulate in the book, but as a goblin, even the king, he seemed to have too much personality, if that is possible. That being said, the overall scene was very satisfying, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So, really, that complaint is extremely minor.

My other complaint was how the dwarves looked. From the first images presented, I was disconcerted that so many of them looked fake and rubbery. And even when I started watching the movie itself, I was a little put off by that. But, once the narrative started rolling, and the personalities started coming out, I was easily able to forget my previous misgivings, and really embrace the dwarves. Everyone is ga-ga over Thorin, but honestly, I like Dwalin the best. He was the kind of character I would play in a D&D game. And since that is one of the measuring sticks I often use when watching these kinds of films, he got extra points.

I have a few friends who are Tolkien purists. These friends had some issues with the way some of the story was presented. FYI, in case you didn’t know, some of the story was changed to fit in characters and situations not presented in The Hobbit, but rather in The Silmarillion, and I think some of the other tertiary Middle Earth works by Tolkien. These bits and pieces were woven into the basic story of The Hobbit, in order to flesh it out and give it a more epic feel on par with the first trilogy of films.

One of the main things that got some (minor) complaints was Azog. Personally, I liked him in the movie. A lot. I thought he added some extra danger to the story that simply wasn’t there in the book. You have to remember that The Hobbit was a children’s book, by Professor Tolkien’s account. And, aside from his verbose prose, it reads like one. With the addition of these dangerous and dramatic elements, it lifted the book into a more “mature” story, which I found to be more enjoyable.

Smaug. My only complaint about him was that we didn’t get enough of him on screen. In my mind, Smaug is the dragon by which all later fictional dragons are measured. And the ending shot of the film sent a thrill through me.

The movie was well-paced, beautifully shot (as good as, and even better than in some places, the first trilogy), and well-cast. The acting was pretty much perfect, and it was nice to see the whole thing woven into the original trilogy for continuity (though you could clearly see that the actors had aged somewhat in the last ten to twelve years).

Over all, this was a rousing adventure on a scale that is a rarity in Hollywood. If you like fantasy at all, whether you have read the book or not, everyone should see this movie. I eagerly away the next part.  


Kort said...

Great review Tom, can't wait to see it!

Charles Gramlich said...

Been so long since I read the book I doubt I'll notice the minor discrepencies. I will definitely see it at some point.