THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Directed by Peter Jackson
While The Hobbit might be my idea of Peter Jackson tackling a porn-fantasy genre, I just don’t get all the backlash this film had to face. Is the frame rate really so disturbing that you can’t sit back and enjoy the actual thing? Is that ‘long-winded’ pre-journey beginning not amazing oddball fun? And, for Christ’s sake, can’t anyone live with the fact that yes, Tolkien’s book was slim, and Jackson (for reasons that are too obvious to name) inflated it all into three huge films?..
After all, even if there exists such a travesty as too much of a good thing, we’ve only had one part so far, and there’s no reason on Earth why anyone (and a TLOTR fan in particular) would want to turn it down. This lush and sumptuous prequel might lack the immediacy and subtlety of its acclaimed predecessor, but I would strongly argue that The Hobbit is just as funny, action-packed and absorbing as any installment of the famed trilogy.
Certainly, what was essentially a children’s bedtime (well, loosely speaking) fairytale, is turned here into this engrossing, epic action-thriller that nonetheless manages to follow the original story in quite a faithful way. All the new things and add-ons never feel boring or stretched, but are a work of truly awe-inspiring imagination.
The actual story is in many ways similar to that of the tireless ring quest, only this one involves dwarves (I do agree with the criticism that Jackson could have developed the dwarves’ personalities a little more, though that might have beaten the three-hour mark) and a certain dragon. Still, there’s that brave hobbit, Gandalf, Rivendell, the ring, and, oh yes, Gollum. Speaking of the latter, the guessing game is arguably the best episode in the entire film…
The cinematography and the special effects are impressive, New Zealand is as breathtaking as ever, but the acting should be praised, too. As far as the cast goes, it is of course nice to welcome back all the familiar faces (Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, others). Still, it’s the newcomer Martin Freemen who looks especially mesmerizing. The moment I learned Freeman would play the part of Bilbo Baggins, I just knew it was the perfect choice. He is like your old best friend in The Hobbit. He inhabits that whimsical world so naturally.
In a way, the film is a Tolkien’s obsessed fanboy’s wet dream. A wild, imaginative romp through what is known to be a very modest and subdued narrative. If that sort of thing sounds appealing, believe me: you won’t look away throughout these 169 minutes. I know I didn’t. Pornography – yes, but tasteful, inventive, intelligent pornography. Great entertainment; besides, I’ve always preferred Gandalf the Grey…