Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

The Hobbit, the highly anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, finally made it's theatrical debut this past weekend. Well, the first of three Hobbit movies anyways. And not to be punny, but it took me on quite the unexpected journey in the past few months. Originally it was supposed to be two movies. No argument there. Then they decided to turn it into three movies. That's when I started having doubts about this. But then Peter Jackson justifies himself. Tolkien made some notes and was originally intending on rewriting the Hobbit, but it didn't happen and the notes became the appendices in Return of the King. Peter Jackson just wants to fulfill Tolkien's dream. Ok, I buy it. Then the reviews start coming out on RottenTomatoes. Not terrible, but a lot lower than the all the LOTR movies on the site. I become nervous again. But then user reviews come out. IMDb has it just as high as the the LOTR movies and all my friends who saw it at midnight are loving it. Great news! I'm excited again and go see it Friday night. How does this story turn out? To be perfectly honest, I walked out of that theater slightly disappointed.

Now we should probably back up a little bit real quick. I love the Lord of the Rings movies. I saw all of them in theaters and I am always up for a Lord of the Rings movie night or marathon. Did I like the books? Of course I did. But unfortunately I can't claim LOTR nerdism because the books do kinda lose me in the intense details. I mean I can appreciate that of course, but its the style of book that I don't make a habit of reading very much because it takes me too long. Thus I haven't jumped into all the extra Tolkien stuff like the appendices and Simirilian and what not. But I did read the Hobbit. Back in 7th grade. And, uh, well, I probably need to give it a second chance. I enjoyed it as a book, but wasn't blown away at all and even though reading the LOTR books was like trying to walk a mile uphill in sand for me, I preferred it over the Hobbit by a long shot. And it was meant as a children's book? Uhh... that 7th grade didn't think so. Children's books are usually a lot easier to finish.

So now that you are well versed on my Hobbit and LOTR background, lets jump into this movie that I saw. First of all, lets put it out there that I did enjoy it. It's a good movie and I recommend you go check it out. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would enjoy it. The first half of the movie was the big problem. They were trying so hard to make it as epic as Lord of the Rings. They were also trying really hard to make this a believable, justifiable trilogy. I never bought it. They seemed like they were trying to hard and all I got was that they were just milking the cash cow because they know that no matter how many movies they make, people will go see them. The first half was just so boring to me. It had pacing issues. There were moments where I could tell that they were purposely trying to extend a scene out as long as possible to fill the three hour movie. It just didn't work for me. Remember that despite the bad things that were said about this movie, I came in excited and ready to see a great movie, so its not me just being biased due to coming in with preconceived notions. There came a point where my excitement ran out and after me being patient with the movie for a while, I was telling myself that the Hobbit has failed. They tried so hard to make this epic and it just isn't.

Now is the whole movie a waste? Am I just going to banter it endlessly until I decide to stop? No. There is some good parts to this movie. Namely the second half of it. It almost made up for the first half of the movie. With my being bored and concluding that this wasn't an epic movie while even dosing off a bit, the second we got to the Bilbo and Gollum scene it was like BAM! I was back. My negative emotions and disappointing feelings all went away and that was a scene I just loved. In fact, the rest of the movie I also loved. It was great. If the first half was that great, I would've been praising the whole thing. Also, I do have to praise the amazing music and fantastic cinematography. That was fantastic throughout. The acting was great. Andy Serkis nearly stole the show for me, but Martin Freeman and the other newcomers also did great. And of course, old-timers like Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, and Cate Blanchett were welcoming to see, even if some of them were limited in their role. Now there are many complaints about the 3D HFR that it was filmed in. I can honestly say that I had zero desire to see this movie in that format and with the awful reviews that it is getting, I most likely never will, so I have no say in the matter. I saw it in normal 2D.

So overall, here is what I think. The Hobbit is a movie that deserved to be made. But three movies I think is too much. I was skeptic about that going in and after seeing it I am disappointed that they made the decision. With the way the movie ended and with the potential this movie had, I fully believe that if they had edited a lot out, got further into the story in the first movie, and limited themselves to two movies instead of milking the cash cow to get three, I think that this movie would've been really epic. But that's not what they did. And because of that, I can only give this movie a disappointing 7 out of 10.

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