Friday Flix: The Hobbit

friday flix jae scribblesI think I’ve waited long enough for most of you to see the Hobbit, so spoilers will probably be included. But let’s face it. This story is already available in book form from forever ago, so the way it turns out is probably no surprise to most of you either. For those who missed the whole Lord of the Rings phenomenon because they were away checking to see if the moon or Mars could be colonized, here’s what IMBD.com has as the description for the movie:

A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on an “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.

I guess this is technically accurate, since this is what the story is about. A better description would be:

A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, meets a bunch of obnoxious dwarves who talk about some stupid dragon you won’t get to really see and a mountain they’re probably not going to enter until the third movie. But Martin Freeman is in it, so spend the money and go see this movie.

I should note, I don’t have a problem with the story of the Hobbit. I LOVED that book as a kid, and if anything the movie made me want to snatch up my copy and read it again (if not encourage me to go re-watch the available episodes of Sherlock). What I have a problem with is the presentation of the story. Hold on tight, Peter Jackson die-hards, let’s go for a ride.

EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE KITCHEN SINK

Splitting the Lord of the Rings into a trilogy made sense. There are 3 books within Lord of the Rings and it’s long. It was only logical that there needed to be three movies to cover it.

I just liked this gif. That is all.

Now let’s cut to the Hobbit. It’s one book. Fairly short in comparison. At most you could get two movies out of it. Probably better with one. But three? Seriously? This is where you know the green was more important than the dream. Three movies are completely unnecessary. In fact, I’m willing to bet you could grab all three movies (once they’re out) and edit them down to one that would be equally strong if not stronger.

There are multiple conversations that go on at length in which Bilbo is nowhere to be seen. He isn’t even a stone’s throw away. This is a movie about Bilbo, right? Isn’t it? In fact that brings me to my biggest complaint about the movie: not enough Hobbit in the Hobbit.

I can’t help but wonder if Peter Jackson-style movie making isn’t ruining story-telling in general. The dude needs to learn how to edit, or listen to his editor or something. We don’t need to know every single detail about the characters’ lives. We don’t have to hear every single conversation. And you know when they’re going outside of the Hobbit book for material it’s going to be a stretch for the movies.

And I’m not alone in my thinking on the overly long presentation we’re getting. Check out this article by the Onion and this video from Saturday Night Live. I was going to post it here so you could watch it, but Hulu removed it for some reason. Now you have to go to NBC’s site directly to watch it. Still funny, but lame they made it harder to share. Anyway, it’s only funny because it’s painfully true.

BACK TO THE KITCHEN SINK

photo by DIeselDemon

I was making a point earlier, but got a little distracted. Anyways, when crafting your own stories, DO NOT follow Peter Jackson’s example. When you’re crafting a novel the choices are what not to include as much as what to include. You may be tempted to create a billion character cast with a bunch of different stories piled onto the main one and also show us how your MC spends his/her day walking and showering and eating breakfast. Don’t. Please don’t. There’s nothing I skim faster or lose more interest in than a scene that has nothing to do with the main plot. Unless your character is going to be murdered in the shower (or the equivalent thereof) chop it.

MORE HOBBIT PLEASE

And back to my biggest problem with the movie in general. Martin Freeman is what made the Hobbit for me. I wanted to be with our supposed MC more and everyone else and their stupid subplots less. I get that they’re trying to make a nod at LOTR and drag everyone back in, but it started to feel a bit Star Wars prequelesque with all the side steppingโ€”and good gracious this is already a well-written story we don’t need to muck up. I wanted to see Martin Freeman a little more. More Hobbit please! (But not in a more movies sense, please!)

CONCLUSION

I would still say go for Martin Freeman. I did it 2-D, so no crappy glasses, and no shaking and rolling effects. Just straight up movie. I saved nearly the price of another ticket doing so, and that’s all I think the Hobbit is worth. Without Martin Freeman, I doubt I would have cared. He’s a phenomenal actor. It’s kind of like watching Morgan Freeman in anything. Even if the movie sucks, Morgan is still awesome. Maybe it’s a Freeman thing.

Did you see the Hobbit? Loved it? Hated it? Or just so so about it? Anything that bothered you about the movie? What do you think they did well? Let me know in the comments below.

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21 thoughts on “Friday Flix: The Hobbit

  1. Got to admit that I agree with you almost whole heartedly, especially when it comes to the editing side of things. The section that annoyed me the most was when Bilbo puts on the ring and hides from Gollum, then proceeds to watch every damn dwarf run past him. It’s not tension, it’s boring.
    Still loved the film on the whole, but definitely think that it should have been limited to two films Max.

    • Come on, they had to find some way to stretch the movie out. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d forgotten about the every dwarf running by. There were too many scenes like that, and you’re right: not tension, just boring.

  2. I still haven’t seen this yet, but I did read the Onion article you mentioned (cracked me up), and I already kind of had a problem with the whole trilogy thing. I totally agree, it seems like love of money won out here, and the sad thing is that Jackson will make tons more money doing it this way. Let’s face it, most people are still going to see all three movies in the theater. We might all grumble about it, but we’ll go and watch because…it’s The Hobbit. And Martin Freeman. And among all the unnecessary stuff, it’s probably still worth it…hopefully.

    • I’d say do it matinee or discount. I think you’ll feel good enough about it that way. It’s a decent movie, just needs some trimming. But whenever Martin Freeman is on screen it’s good. Fantastic choice to play Bilbo.

  3. Your review is dead on perfect! I think when it comes to The Hobbit, which I read years ago, two movies is kind of stretching it. But three…you said it best: “Seriously?” I’m laughing right now knowing how true that statement is. I really hope when it comes out on BD the studio won’t try to milk it further by doing what they did with LOTR, release a theatrical version and an extended, director’s cut. Gosh, that’s where the green is after all, I suppose.

    • I think you’ll be happy with that decision. I told the BFF it was way too long for her to consume in one sitting. We’ll have to DVD it so she can pause and do something else and come back. You’ll love Martin Freeman!

  4. I saw it about a month ago and for the most part, it was fine and a pretty decent movie, but I do think stretching this one book into three movies is definitely a mistake and a very visible one. I love the epic-ness of LOTR and I wanted this movie to be just as good, but it wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. I’m holding out hope that the extended edition on DVD will somehow be better ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Yeah, I agree with all of this. I would like to mention that the audiobook is about 12 hours, so I can see how you could get three movies but, and this is a big but, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    King Kong is one of my favorite Peter Jackson movies but like The Hobbit so badly needed editing. So what you said, either PJ needs to listen to his editor more or imo let someone else edit the movie and cut the frivolous crap.

    • 12 hours, for me, doesn’t merit three. Harry Potter 1 is 8 hours on tape and it certainly didn’t need more than 1 movie. But I think you stated it beautifully: “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Come on, Petey, cast those extra scenes into the volcano. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I think Harry Potter is a great example! The problem with the first two movies is they tried to follow the books too closely. It wasn’t until the third when they brought Alfonso Cuarรณn in that they had a good “movie”. He went on a mad cutting spree and I know several fans didn’t like that, imo he was the first one to create an actually good movie and set the pattern for the rest.

        So yes, Petey, dump the nonsense into the volcano!

      • You’re speaking my language, Green! HP3 is my favorite movie of the whole series. On the bonus features he said we went with a theme and everything that fit the theme we kept and everything that didn’t we cut. That’s how a movie should take on a book. It’s a glimpse of one person’s view of the world, focusing on the things that stood out to them so we can examine that viewpoint more thoroughly. Love, love, love that you mentioned HP3!

  6. I’ve heard many different people say how Meh this film is. I didn’t really want to see it to begin with, and I have zero desire now. Why did they want to make a trilogy? There was too much money to be made. They should have made one movie and ended with a band, not a whimper. Great review.

    • Thanks! Yeah, from what I gather about your movie tastes, I’d say Redbox at best for youโ€”and maybe with a free code. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I basically went for Martin Freeman and came away satisfied. I probably won’t pay more than matinee price for the next two, if not the cheap theater. It’s a shame he didn’t make the Hobbit first with one movie, then the LOTR trilogy as a follow up. Oh well!

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