The Hobbit was one movie my family was primed to see. The kids and I listened to the book on audio, and once we were mentally able to get past the narrator (who ultimately caused us to crash and burn when we started The Lord of the Rings), we thought it a very dear sort of story. We were skeptical about Jackson's decision to make the book into three installments, but I guess there is profit to be had. And we will be the suckers lined up all three times to contribute.
So my thoughts? Overall, we were quite entertained. I can't say we were completely blown away like we were when we first saw the LOTR trilogy. It was new then, now it is not. The beauty of the New Zealand landscape, the sweetness of the Hobbits with their hairy feet and pointed ears, the hideousness of the Orcs, and how easy it is to slaughter them because they are stupid. We've done it all before.
But there are some new characters. We are amidst these goofy, perpetually-hungry and perpetually-singing dwarves...who made the story so dear. We see a younger, grounded and modest Bilbo, which was definitely a pleasant treat after seeing him act a little half-baked as an older man, after the Precious had it's way with him. This was a Bilbo that you could root for. He is clever, courageous and loyal. We welcomed back our beloved Gandalf too. Gandalf rocks.
Oh yeah. And Gollum. For me, the scene with Gollum was the highlight. It always was with LOTR as well. I LOVE Gollum. My eyes just eat him up from the screen. His dual personality, his insecurities, his constant agony, his vulnerability. The scene when he plays the guessing game with Bilbo is the most iconic in the entire book in my opinion. What have I gots in my pocketses?
According to my sister, those in the movie critic circles say that the drinking game to be played with LOTR is a shot for every time somebody slaps someone else's back. I never noticed until she told me, and now I find it getting on my nerves. In The Hobbit, the drinking game became clear from the beginning...a shot for every time someone falls off a cliff or nearly falls off a cliff. Dwarves, Bilbo, and many many Orcs take their turn hurtling off the sides of a precipice. I calculated about an hour of Orc battle scenes that we didn't really need, and that these battle scenes added an element of malevolence that wasn't present in the book. But we have to make this last for three movies! So Orc battles are the filler.
For those of you that have known me for awhile, you would be wondering what ever would I do without my dear Aragorn? Despite the fact that he looks like he smells awful, what a handsome fellow, that Aragorn. Well, I think I have found his replacement.
Behold, Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin, the exiled King from Lonely Mountain. Yeah. He isn't as gentle, with those butter-melting eyes like Aragorn. He is angry because he has been knocked off his pedestal. But he has a look, my friends. It is a look with potential.
Recommended with expectations in check.
4 out of 5 stars