I 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.
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
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 stepping—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!)
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.