Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected DIsappointment Journey (2012)

This reviewer feels like a certain cave dweller for saying bad things about the hobbit

Call me heathen- the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a long tough slog...forget the 30 plus minutes of trailers and commercials this film never seemed to end.

I'm not going to go into the story, I assume that you all know it, though I will say that the film takes things up to the point where the band is standing looking at the lair of Smaug many miles, and many adventures away after being rescued by eagles.

What I will say is that the film very much reminded me of Peter Jackson's excessive King Kong. That behemoth dragged on for over three hours for no good reason and had me screaming at the screen for Kong to just freaking die already! Here Jackson adds in additional material and expands short bits to the point that the film goes on and on and on. Yes some of it is cool, the battling living mountains is way cool, but the sequences just seem to go on as long as humanly possible. I mean the round table discussion between the big wigs in Rivendell seems to have drifted in from some other film entirely.

I did have favorite moments, the Gollum scene is pretty much note perfect, I love the eagle rescue, the fighting mountains, and I did tear up at the start when Bilbo begins to recite the opening lines of the book. The rest of it is okay, nothing special.

Part of my displeasure with the film comes from many of the technical aspects of the film. The makeup is, well atrocious. The dwarfs in any other film would, for the most part, be laughed off the screen. I hate that the film has so much computer generated images. I wasn't watching a movie, I'm watching a videogame with people dropped in. Some of the graphics are spot on, all the stuff I didn't notice, but soooo much of it I did that I was keeping track of what I thought was real.

And as for the 3D. WHY? It adds nothing. It all just looked very muddy. It was so annoying I was watching some sequences without my glasses or with one eyed closed.

I've heard complaints that the 48 frames a second projection makes things look weird, but to be honest the film just looks weird on its own.(I saw it at 24 frames per second). The compositing of images is frequently all wrong, especially in Rivendell, where the computer generated backgrounds looked flat behind the actors. It looked like the old Dr Who episodes where they used heavy chroma key. Much of it looked awful.

Forgive me for saying this, but as right as Peter Jackson was for the Lord of the Rings films he's wrong for this film. He had something to prove with LOTR and felt he got it right. Here he seems to be resting on his laurels and he's showing off with the result he has become even more faithful to the material (despite changes) but at the cost of dramatic motion. The film simply isn't exciting.

I don't hate the film, not by a long shot but it made me feel like I won't need to rush out for the next two films - and considering I put in for the days off when the dates were announced that's saying a great deal.

Its an okay film, about which the over riding thought is had this been the film that was made instead of the Lord of the Rings films, they'd never have seen the light of day.

(I suspect that some of the other Unseen Film people may check in with their own opinions so check back)

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