Hopes for “The Hobbit” fall flat by DANA SPEIZER Adviser
Peter Jackson’s highly-anticipated prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit”, was released to theaters across the country on Friday, December 14.
First, let me start off by saying that I am a die-hard “Lord of the Rings” fan. I have been eagerly awaiting this movie for years.
That said, I of course attended the midnight premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, the first part of the trilogy. In anticipation, I reread “The Hobbit” over the summer, and even read my graphic novel version right before the movie.
When the movie began, I was pumped. “The Hobbit” began with the older Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) narrating the history of the dwarves under the Lonely Mountain, and how Smaug terrorized Erebor and Dale. So far, so good.
We then flash back to 60 years ago, when Bilbo was a younger man. This Bilbo, played by Martin Freeman, sits quietly in front of his hobbit hole smoking a pipe when Gandalf (Ian McKellan) comes along and chooses him for an adventure.
Suddenly, 12 dwarves, along with their leader Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), show up on Bilbo’s doorstep. They are set on reclaiming their home and treasure from the dragon, and Bilbo is chosen as their burglar.
“The Hobbit” is a short novel, compared to any of the three “Lord of the Rings” books, but Jackson managed to stretch it into three films. “An Unexpected Journey” follows Bilbo and the dwarves on their quest toward the Lonely Mountain, and ends shortly after Bilbo finds the One Ring in the Misty Mountains, enraging Gollum (Andy Serkis).
I was enjoying the movie for the most part, even though many extra events were added. For example, Balin (Ken Stott) – you may remember his name from the Mines of Moria in “The Fellowship of the Ring” – tells Bilbo the tale of how Thorin and his company assaulted the orcs and goblins to reclaim Moria. This never happened in the book, but okay. They needed an easier way to link the story back to “Lord of the Rings” for those who have not read the book.
What I did not enjoy was an extra storyline thrown into the movie. Jackson introduces Azog (Manu Bennett), a white orc that terrorizes Thorin and Company. What is the purpose of this guy? Smaug is the main villain in the novel. He is a huge, fire-breathing dragon with skin as hard as diamonds! Is that not enough? Why is Jackson adding unnecessary garbage to the plot?
By the end of the movie, I was annoyed. As a loyal “Lord of the Rings” fan, I can understand creative license, but this went far beyond. There were so many unnecessary scenes and changes that my mind was reeling. What was I watching?!
One scene in particular that really annoyed me was when Gandalf, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Saruman (Christopher Lee), and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) were all discussing Thorin’s quest and the discovery of a Morgul blade. I understand why Jackson did it, – he needed to show the beginning of Saruman turning evil – but the scene seemed forced and stiff.
Overall, I was disappointed with the movie, to say the least. I expected more and Jackson failed to deliver. Visually, it was beautiful and stunning. The acting was excellent and the dialogue engaging and funny, but the plot, well, that fell flat. Moreover, it was just too long and had too much filler.
I would still recommend seeing it, especially if you are a fan of “Lord of the Rings”, but do not go in with high hopes as I did, for you will leave unfulfilled.