The HobbitComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022


Thursday, December 20, 2012

THE HOBBIT was disappointing. It had all the spectacle you could possibly want. It had a quest, and evil, battles, a wizard, and a decent, ordinary man caught up in the middle.

It left us unmoved. It's a bad sign when you see a movie in the middle of the day and,  at six, you're thinking, "Boy, I'd really like to see a movie."

I feel that its tone does not match its story. The book is a light entertainment. It has lots of humor. There is never any really strong reason why Bilbo Baggins needs to go on an adventure, but he does, and many surprising and amusing things happen to him.

The tone Peter Jackson takes in THE HOBBIT is the epic tone of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. But that worked for LOTR. That was about a decent man who, very much against his will, undertakes a terrifying journey, because the fate of the world hangs on it, and he is the only one who can do it. (All, right, and his handyman.)

Bilbo does not need to go on an adventure in THE HOBBIT, and the only thing that hangs in the balance is whether some amusing dwarves will get their mountain of gold back.

Jackson tries to inject meaning into the movie. Gandalf has an ulterior motive for wanting Smaug taken out. There are rumblings of a Dark Power. And, as the story progresses, Bilbo develops an affection for the dwarves and seems to reach some desire to man up for their sakes. But it never adds up -- it can never add up -- to THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

It does not help that Jackson is making multiple movies out of what is not a terribly dense book. Had he been willing to cut a bit of story, he could have made one really great entertainment out of the book; but he wanted to make two movies. So he finds himself adding events I can't remember in the book, such as a brief interlude starring Radagast the Brown.

Overall, the movie feels less like Peter Jackson needed to tell a story, and more like he wanted to hang out in Middle Earth some more.

I wonder what Guillermo del Toro would have done with it?

We actually saw the movie in IMAX 3D. Waste of money. The primary effect of the 3D was to remind me, whenever I cocked my head, that I had to keep my head absolutely vertical. I've never appreciated the need for 3D. Somehow the world feels less 3D in a 3D movie, because the 3D keeps drawing attention to itself. Whereas in a 2D movie, I have no trouble interpreting perspective, and focus, and the relative haziness of things in the distance. I


Indeed, this adaptation of The Hobbit (with infusions of The Silmarillion and Jackson's own flavor) did have a number of disappointments... But I don't feel it left me unmoved any more or less than the Lord of the Rings did. Like Rings, it shares a number of departures from the narrative of the book, some to its benefit, others to its detriment.

Overall, I feel it does a good job of conveying the lighthearted humor of the original novel well, while attempting to aid it in meshing in to the larger Middle Earth mythos; a task which Tolkien himself struggled to reconcile, having written The Hobbit long before having fleshed out his world in full. It would have been far more jarring to parallel it with his work on The Rings if he hadn't infused some level of the epic tone we'd already developed a taste for in these movies.

So while radical additions such as Radagast The Brown's rabbit sled certainly deride from the faithfulness to the narrative, it serves the original lighthearted humor of the novel just fine. The inclusion of this Radagast addition also ties in the continuity of the spiders we will inevitably encounter in Mirkwood Forest in the next film - similar to how Jackson used the back-story of Thorin in the beginning to introduce Azog, who instead of being beheaded in the Battle of Azanulbizar, is portrayed as having survived a mere lost hand and later hunting Thorin and company. He will likely be leading in the Battle of Five Armies in the third film instead of his son Bolg who they could just as easily have kept and used instead, at cost of narrative drama. I could go on listing all of the departures from the tale and how they serve in this adaptation, but I think that my point is clear. Despite these disappointing and unnecessary heavy departures from the established lore, they make for stronger visual drama which is why they were made - it doesn't justify it, but it makes sense. That's how Hollywood butchers all book adaptations though - trading faithfulness for what they hope to be better visual drama to strengthen the work.

All that said, I am of the mind that the abuse of computer generated elements did greater harm to the film's tone, being more visibly "unreal" than the prosthetic costumes used for the majority of the goblins and orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies, delivering a sub-par visual in contrast to previous work. I have to append though that their work on the Rock Giant Battle was a superb addition and made for drastically improved visual narrative compared to the novel, in my opinion.

Personally, I enjoyed the film, and look forward to seeing what will be on the Extended Edition DVD, and eventually what the fans make of it when they inevitably recut it to be more faithful to the book, like they did with the Lord of the Rings movies.

By Blogger Unknown, at 3:47 PM  

The Hobbit was not disappointing.

By Blogger leoeris, at 9:14 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.