The Hobbit: An Unexpected DVD
My long-overdue DVD copy of 'The Hobbit' finally arrived, a week overdue. Amazon appears to have mailed it out quickly, but it languished in a FedEx bin for a week and a day...
I somehow missed the film in last year's theatrical run. I'd read the Tolkien book when I was a wee sprog, and have seen the Bakshi animated version several times. I did enjoy the Peter Jackson version of 'Lord of the Rings', so I expected to enjoy this version as well.
And I did. For the most part... There are problems in Middle Earth.
The immense depth of the world-building. Just like in LOTR, there's an obsessive level of detail in the set dressing, costuming, and overall look to the film. You get the feeling that if you turned over one of Bilbo's teaspoons, you'd see a silversmith's hallmark from some hobbit smith in Bywater and not one from wherever EnZedds buy their flatware.
It's a pretty film. The New Zealand landscape is front & center again subbing for Middle Earth, and it's remarkable. The CGI-generated Dwarven and Goblin cities are a bit frenetic and overwrought, but you can still soak into your Suspension of Disbelief Brain Hammock and enjoy the flick.
The music is a retread from LOTR, but that's not a strike against it.
The 2 hours and 40 minutes passed quickly, for the most part. I did get a trifle bored with a couple of bits, but I'll talk about that below.
What's Not So Good:
It's 2 hours and 40 frikkin' minutes long. I finally had to shut it off during Bilbo & Gollum's riddle game to go outside and take a cigar break. You can just about finish the novel in under three hours...
Similar to LOTR, it's a film about people walking. And more walking. And still more walking.
On that note, it's blindingly obvious that 'The Hobbit' is mostly a huge moneymaking operation from beginning to end. They made crazy coin from the LOTR trilogy, so let's repeat the process for another trio of films. Just ignore the fact that Bakshi told the ENTIRE tale to good effect in 78 minutes...
The toy & video game tie-ins are blatantly obvious. From the "Boss " villains to the convoluted chase scenes, you're getting a preview of the Xbox gameplay just watching the flick.
Inclusion of the Radagast subplot is overlong and unnecessary, except to sell toys. Can't wait to see what a birdshit-bespattered wizard sells for...
The Wilhelm Scream. Christ on a crutch, ENOUGH with the got-damned Wilhelm Scream. It's not funny anymore, Hollywood. It jumped the shark back before Fonzie did. Remember that bit about suspension of disbelief above? It vanishes and sucks me back to reality when I hear that overused SFX cliche. QUIT USING IT!!
OK, enough reviewing. I liked it well enough. You probably will too! Enjoy!!