The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Plot: Bilbo Baggins, a young Hobbit, is recruited by a wizard named Gandalf to help a band of Dwarves reclaim their homeland from an evil dragon.
So what did you think?
Adam – So it’s not Return of the King, what else is? Readers of Tolkien know full well that The Hobbit has a very different tone than The Lord of Rings Trilogy. I had a very enjoyable time in this extended and fleshed out trip to Middle Earth.
Scotty - The Hobbit was a bit slow at times but with epic stories sometimes that is the case. My 5, 8, and 10 year old did not have a complaint about pace so I do not either. This film was shot in some newfangled film that takes some getting used but by the end I was blown away by the crispness of the film itself. It was a quality re-introduction to the characters we grew to love in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Griff – I thought the movie was enjoyable. I don’t think it was a good at LOTR but it was still a fun watch and nice return to Middle Earth. This one seems a little bit more squarely aimed at a younger audience and at times it does run a bit long. Also I don’t think this one book requires three movies to complete. Besides these complaints though, The movie was a visual spectacle and the Jackson effects team are as impressive as ever.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – I talked mark into undertaking a quest to the fancy Cinepolis to watch this film. Somehow shelled out $45 for a leather recliner and some tricked out active shutter 3-D glasses. However, I made out on the deal as it cost Mark more for beers and pop-corn than it did for our tickets.
Scotty – I was excited but also nervous that I would be disappointed; I also doubted Jackson’s idea of 3 films.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – I thought the way that they fleshed out the story was pretty innovative. Jackson made excellent use of the appendix to provide lots of detail to the plot. Some might complain that he added too many details to the film. Sort of like complaining about getting too many blow jobs in my opinion but to each there own.
Scotty - Like I stated earlier I have never seen a film shot with this film and was incredible use of immersive 3D technology. Jackson did not save pennies with this epic production.
Griff – I think there are some pretty innovative effects and it was a bold choice to go with the higher frame rate for the film. It was definitely a nice take on the source material.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam - I can see how some might complain that the dialogue was a bit long winded and the story stretched out a bit. Length not withstanding I thought the script was well done. I think some folks may have walked into the Hobbit with Balin’s axe to grind, due the films conversion into three films.
Scotty – This will probably be the only place I have a small complaint, it seemed we were getting ready for the journey forever and I feel that some of that could have been written out of the film. There were also a few hokey scenes involving the dwarves in the early part of the film I could have done without.
Griff - They really should have trimmed the fat here. I don’t see any reason why the book should take 3 films to complete. They were able to go through the LOTR series with one movie per book and they arguably greater in scale. Surely there were some parts of this film that could have been left on the cutting room floor to get us down to just films?
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – Andy Serkis was fabulous as Gollum. I know its a lot of CGI, blue screen bells and whistles and his screen time was short. Still did not matter his performance as Gollum was one of the highlights for me.
Scotty – I am enamored with Gollum in all of these films, he is the most interesting and well done character in all of these stories and is represented well in this film. I understand it is done with CGI and a human actor but he steals the show in every scene.
Griff - I thought Richard Armitage was good as Thorin and Andy Serkis was great as always playing Gollum.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – When There’s a Whip There’s A Way, oops wrong movie.
Scotty - I was humming Song of the Lonely Mountain for Days, to the point where my kids were asking me not to do it anymore.
Griff - It’s got to be Misty Mountains by Thorin Oakenshield and his dwarves.
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “Is he a very great wizard or is he more like you?” -Bilbo Baggins
Scotty – “I know! If precious fails we gets to eats it! We gets to eats it whole!
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - Shorter Dwarves, that was perhaps my main gripe with the film. Although, I thought the performances of the actors playing the company of dwarves was excellent they were all way too tall for my taste. Dwarves are supposed to be in the 4’5”-5’ range. Maybe they should have gotten Tom Cruise to play one.
Scotty – I guess less filler or details would have been better for the film. Jackson leaves nothing out of this movie which is great for hardcore fans but it is a struggle to stay interested at times.
Griff - They could have easily cut down on some of the run time for this one. Also, the Golbin King was some impressive CGI but he had some terrible dialogue in the movie. Some of it was painful to watch and he reminded me a little too much of the Boss Nass from The Phantom Menace.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - Gather up your fellowship and get ye to the theater with all due haste.
Scotty – Visually this film is stunning and needs to be seen in the theater for full effect. I would also pay extra for the 3D.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – You got your sword in my sorcery. How about some Highlander (1986) or Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Scotty – I have nothing here but the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Griff - How about the original Clash of the Titans (1981) or Jason and the Argonauts from back in 1963?
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – While I really enjoyed the film it would have been nice to have had a 10 minute intermission in the middle. I realize those penny pinchers at the theater chains and movie studios are loathe to bring back intermission. However, perhaps they could sell some more tubs of popcorn and liters of cola. As an added bonus, theater goers would have a chance to give their kidneys a break.
Scotty – The Hobbit is a great film but be warned it moves slowly at times and if you are not a fan of slow moving films then this one may drive you up a wall. The Hobbit was and is a favorite book of mine so I enjoyed the details and the attention Jackson paid to them but for your average fantasy movies fan it just may be too slow. Visually stunning is an understatement and strangely it felt like a live show at times like the characters were on stage performing. The 3D is immersive and Jackson added no over the top 3D tricks to tantalize viewers and I appreciate that. I loved the film but I could see why some may find it a bit boring but if my kids can sit through it without complaint and walk out of the theater 3 hours later satisfied and enthralled with the story so can you, certainly not for those with attention deficit disorder.
Griff - Although it runs a bit long, The Hobbit was pretty well done and definitely worth checking out. I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like like with Guillermo del Toro at the helm though. I think we would have been in for a much darker movie.