The pre-Hobbit hum was not harmonious. It started with the interminable legal battle over who would direct the Hobbit and how to split any spoils. After Peter Jackson’s cinematic Lord of the Rings triumph people assumed he would be The Hobbit guy but an envious and embittered clique of Tolkien’s heirs felt the weren’t getting enough for their stuff and filed suit demanding more. For some reason the spoiled progeny of the famous and accomplished think they’re entitled to feed on their glorious ancestor’s corpse — oops estate — forever. We’ve seen enough of this in the US with the idiot Kennedy clan: none of whom I would trust to drive or fly me anywhere. Even white-bread, holier than thou Canada, cannot shake this affliction. Look at Justin Trudeau — living on his father’s fame and full of it right up to his naturally curly eyebrows. Go back far enough and we all have glorious ancestors; unfortunately, this entitles us to precisely squat which, in a just universe, would constitute the sum total of royalties due to the current parasitic Tolkien generation.
Once the legalities settled and Jackson got control of the project ominous stories started swirling about “changes” to The Hobbit. One particularly disturbing rumor had Legolas making an appearance. Funny, I’ve read the Hobbit twice and missed him in the book! Whenever people start “improving classics” I get very wary. I’m sure the Hobbit screen writers are very smart and capable but they haven’t written a literary classic. If Legolas shows his pointy little ears in The Hobbit they should put bags over their heads and go into hiding for their own safety.
After the legalities and plot rumors the technology of The Hobbit made news. The Hobbit was shot at 48 frames per second: twice the standard rate. This was allegedly done to improve 3D projection. The biggest complaint about 3D movies, other than that they are 3D movies, is that they’re dim and fuzzy. Why this surprises anyone astonishes me. Hey, I’ve got an idea, let’s watch our three hundred million dollar movie through cheap, dark, optically flawed, polarized, throw-away plastic glasses. What could go wrong? The stupidity of hollyweirdos is boundless but what do you expect from Obama worshippers. It’s been claimed that 48 frames per seconds allows 3D projectors to present 24 frames per second to each eye and increase projection brightness, compensating for the those cheap dark glasses, without introducing an annoying flicker that plagues lower frame rates. We shall soon see if this is the case or just more Hollywood bullshit. Still, it would have been nice to test this technology on standard cinematic crap before subjecting classics to it.
Finally, if all of the above wasn’t enough, The Hobbit, by far the shortest of the famous Tolkien books, is being split into two, maybe three films, with the first installment running around three freaking hours. Wasn’t Jackson the guy that took a short, tight, beloved film classic, the original King Kong, and blew it up into a gigantic, tedious, overwrought, hemorrhoid inducing bore that was gutted in less than ten seconds by Robot Chicken! Yes the pre-Hobbit hum was not harmonious so I wasn’t expecting much when I plopped my discerning ass in my cinema seat and braced for The Hobbit.
Then three hours passed.
So what’s the verdict? I’ll try to do this without profanity. First a few warnings:
- If you have read and enjoyed The Lord of the Rings but haven’t read the Hobbit do not see this film until you have read the book! The book will not spoil the film but the film will spoil the book.
- If you’re a parent, looking to entertain your sucrose saturated children over the holidays, and you take them to The Hobbit, before they get a chance to read the book, you might as well go whole hog and tell them, there’s no Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny does not lay hardboiled colored eggs, the Tooth Fairy is mom and dad and little children don’t go to an imaginary heaven when they die; they’re just dead.
With that out-of-the-way I will publicly confess to enjoying the film labeled “The Hobbit.” Yes, my worst fears materialized on an epic scale. This is not, “The Hobbit,” but rather Hobbit inspired. So many artistic liberties were taken that I predict a rash of Hobbit, or not Hobbit, critiques will flood the intertubes. The story unfolds with a leaden, worst camping trip ever, pace and even the best scene in the movie, when Bilbo wins his riddle contest with Gollum and makes off with “the precious” ring is tedious. The famous time riddle comes across as a mood-lighting lighting aside and is so far removed from the brilliance of the book that it would have been better to just omit it, but you could say the same for at least half the scenes in this movie.
As I left the cinema surrounded by subdued teenagers, many of whom where commenting on how, “that wasn’t like the book,” I wondered who is this film for? Then it hit me. This is for the fantasy role-playing video game crowd. Many kids spend days immersed in these games. They’re used to laconic meandering pointless plot lines. This demographic will find the Hobbit tight, on plot, and will delight in the impressive special effects. Smaug does have beautiful eyes and I really enjoyed the wood trolls. I would have positively loved this film if the trolls had eaten the dwarves on the spot and then followed it up with a celebrity chef panel discussion. Maybe we’ll get lucky in Hobbit 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ….