December 17, 2012

Haiku Revieu: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (***3/4)

Martin is Bilbo.
Thorin is much too handsome.
Riddles in the Dark.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. First off, let me say: I was entertained by the movie. I only found myself checking the time once while we were watching it, and a midnight has to be entertaining for it to keep my attention—they are, after all, way past my normal bedtime.

Upon further reflection, however, and after reading a variety of reviews/having a variety of discussions ... I'm conflicted. Like I said, I was entertained, but I find myself torn between the thought that either the movie was trying too hard to tie into the Lord of the Rings or that it didn't try hard enough.

If you've never read the books, this might not make much sense. But The Hobbit and the LotR books are very different. The Hobbit is more of a children's story, and LotR is definitely for an older crowd, and the older themes made for more epic movies. The Hobbit takes place in the same lands and with the some of the same characters, but there's not as much action. (I haven't read the book in years and years, so if I'm wrong, please correct me.) The movie tries to stuff a lot more action into three hours than there actually is, and it makes the whole thing seem a little disjointed.

As far as the characters go, the movie doesn't rely nearly enough on Martin Freeman's Bilbo—and he's so very good in the role. The Dwarves were fun, but more comedic than LotR audiences are used to. And a couple of them barely even look like Dwarves—they just look like shorter, stockier humans. (I've also just realized that the poster with all the Dwarves looks a little Muppetish. It fits, oddly enough.) It was nice to see familiar wizards and Elves, and I look forward to seeing more of Lee Pace's Thranduil in the movies to come. (In part because this is one of my most favorite GIFs.)

The "Riddles in the Dark" scene, though? Amazing. Gollum's GC was fantastic, and the conversation (chemistry?) between Bilbo and him was, for me, the best part of the whole film.

I think I need to see it again to really make a solid decision. If you've seen it, what did you think?


  1. I loved it. I haven't read the book in a while, but I remember thinking while reading it that I was a little distracted by the differnce in tone between LotR and Hobbit (I was so engrossed in the trilogy that I read the whole thing in a week and had to be told to put it down to come to dinner; not so with the Hobbit).

    I didn't see the movie at a midnight showing, and I didn't realize how long it was until I got in my car after the matinee. I also didn't really have any quibbles with it at all, but maybe I was just so excited to return to Middle Earth that I didn't have my critical thinking brain engaged. Since I plan to see it many more times, maybe I'll have more to say than "IT WAS AWESOME" at a later date. :D

    1. I'm really glad there are people that are liking it for what it is, not what it wasn't. Like I said, I'd like to see it again to better make up my mind. I definitely enjoyed it, though, even though I'm being awfully nitpicky.

  2. I took my 5 year old to see it yesterday which in some ways kept me distracted from interpreting my own enjoyment of the film while it was happening. I was a little too busy keeping him informed what an elf was and what a dwarf was and no, those were orcs, not elves while at the same time making sure he understood that this was just computer special effects and no one was really getting hurt.

    In the end he had about 15 minutes worth of trying to figure out why Superman wasn't in the film and I had to bribe him with Mario to get him to watch the whole thing but I think he enjoyed it.

    For me in retrospect, I think the oddest thing was the pacing. There was definitely an out of the frying pan into the fire sort of feel so a lot of fast followed by a moment of slow and then more fast. This is fine and I think fits the fact that The Hobbit is a kids book. But as you pointed out there are the parts where it connects to the Fellowship and those are cool, but they slow down the pacing in places where you wouldn't otherwise expect it to be slowed down.

    I'm just not 100% sure where they want this movie to fit in to a full sitting of all the movies but I enjoyed it non-the-less.

    1. Your 5-year-old has an awesome dad. And I totally agree with you on the pacing; it was distracting at times.

      I feel like they're trying to get it to fit for all the non-readers who wouldn't quite understand how it fit in the LOTR-verse otherwise? Like this individual: ...

  3. I promise to keep this brief because you and I both know that Middle-earth is one of the things I can write/talk about endlessly and you already know my feelings on the movie.

    I've read both LotR and the Hobbit several times and there is quite a bit of action in both stories, the Hobbit's is just much more fantastic in nature than Lord of the Rings. There are no giant army vs. army battles until the very end and they never talk about the Dwarves' history except to say that Smaug took their stuff and now they're homeless. So there is quite a bit of action, but the film added more for sure.

    My main wish is that they had either made this movie first so they wouldn't feel compelled to beat everyone over the head with LotR connections, or that they would have just ignored the connections and made a fun adventure story, which is what the book is, and trust the audience to realize the relationship between the stories.

    And Radagast? Holy jeez. He's hardly mentioned in the book, but I've always had great respect for him. The wizards--ALL wizards--are basically angels or lesser gods come to Middle-earth to help (meddle with?) the inhabitants, but no, Radagast they turn into a lunatic with bird poop all over his face!

    OK, so not super-brief, but much more brief than I could have been.

    1. That was all pretty negative. Just to be clear, I didn't hate the movie, it just didn't quite capture the awesomeness of Tolkien's world or stories the way that LotR did. It had very little to do with how they adapted the story and a lot to do with the structure of the film. That's all. I'm done.

    2. I guess I meant action in the sense of warring and battle rather than the more PG stuff from the Hobbit. I didn't mean to imply that the Hobbit wasn't action-filled. It's just on a different level.

      And I really didn't enjoy the whole bird poop on the face thing either. A little too real (and slapsticky) for my tastes.

  4. I definitely agree with your review. I just posted mine on my blog yesterday, and had very similar things to say. The pacing/flow was terrible due to the juxtaposition of "lighthearted adventure story with slapstick humor" and "implications of serious foreboding historical events to tie into LOTR." It probably could have been OK, but it was just too forced in my opinion.

    I love Martin Freeman so much, and he definitely *is* Bilbo, but part of me kept thinking "what is John Watson doing in Middle Earth?" The character traits were much too similar for me. And regarding Thorin... dat brooding look. ;)

    Riddles in the Dark was SO amazing. Definitely worth the whole dragging first half of the movie just to see that scene!

    And of course...LEE PACE ON A FRAKKIN' MOOSE!

    1. Hahaha, I love it. :D And I find myself thinking that that creature might be somehow related to a Bilgesnipe (because I always must relate everything to The Avengers).

  5. I've tried so hard to not get terribly involved into critical discussions, because honestly, it was great entertainment. But I agree with your review - spot on. Martin Freeman was spectacular, Riddles in the Dark was INCREDIBLE. But my main beef was with all of the...forced? misplaced? action. The Hobbit always had more of a storytelling film than an epic action film like LoTR to me, and while the action scenes were pretty exciting, it definitely threw me off pace. I was constantly going - did I miss all of this action when I read the Hobbit 762 times? My boyfriend, on the other hand, loved the action and pacing, but he hasn't read any of the books, nor is fantasy really his style. To him, it kept him engaged and invested without having to get invested in a lot of "ye olde" dialogue. To each his own, I guess.

    And I must echo Mariel above me - LEE PACE ON A FRAKKIN' MOOSE xDD

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking what I do! And it's interesting to hear about someone who's never read the books' take on it ... To each their own is right, and totally valid. :)