So like any rational man-child, I pulled my kids out of school on Friday to go and see The Hobbit. And maybe you wouldn’t have been singing “Happy Hobbit-days” to YOUR kids when you forced truancy on them, but that was apparently beyond my abilities.
Shut up. I was excited.
What can I say about The Hobbit that you haven’t already heard? Yes, it’s very long. Yes, the pacing is a bit uneven, if not downright cumbersome. Yes, all the weird-beard in the world won’t help you remember which dwarf is which, except for the one cranky, leader dwarf who you’ll remember has the last name Oakenshield, but only because he carries around a oak branch shield. It can be deeply tedious and there are lots of unnecessary…
I loved it.
Movies are so rarely events anymore. Studios try to make them that way all the time, but unless you’ve got a “Star War” in your title, there’s a good chance that even big movies, like those in the Avengers, Iron Man, Transformer, Star Trek, etc. franchises, aren’t monumental enough to qualify as “an event” . The Hobbit IS that big. It IS one of those events, and it seems to take its role in this capacity very seriously, because every part of this film seems epic.
How does one commodify such grandiosity? I have no idea. The scale of everything in this movie is turned up to 11. The characters, the scenery, the attention and focus on little details… If you are a fan of the book you will absolutely revel in the fact it takes them almost an hour to leave the fucking Hobbit-hole. I didn’t want them to rush through it. I wanted the very deliberate slowness with which Jackson attends to the business of showing me what’s up in Middle Earth. I’ll take it a step further. There were points when I was loathe to move on to the next set-piece because I wanted MORE of the details. He has constructed a world with such depth, that what would be drudgery in a normal film feels like exploration and discovery despite the fact that I’ve read the book like a billion times.
The strange thing is, there aren’t a lot of stand-out performances in the film. Because the characters are so clearly defined they come with a kind of pre-assigned personality. It borders on cliche but that’s not quite it. I guess what I’m saying is that with one exception, none of the performances stood out and made you say, “Oh. That’s not right.” I mean the cranky dwarf is cranky, the fat dwarf is funny, the old dwarf is wise, the Hobbit is flabbergasted, the old reclusive wizard is batty…you know the drill. The exception is Andy Serkis as Gollum. He was awesome.
A lot of fans of the book are hollering about all the stuff that wasn’t in the original work that is in the movie. To them, I can only kindly suggest that they shut up. It’s not like the Hobbit is going to help free the dwarves’ homeland and on the way stop at a Burger King for a delicious Angry Whopper. And before you get all cynical and talk about how he only did it to lengthen the story so he could make three movies out of it, consider this: No shit, Sherlock. Movie studios like making money. The sky is blue. So they added a necromancer and some orcs… so what? It’s not like orcs and wizards show up in a lot of places these days. You have to take ‘em where you can get ‘em.
If you go into The Hobbit looking for an action-movie, you will be bored and ass-numb and gripey the whole way home. If however, you can allow yourself to sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacle, if you don’t rush and don’t get agitated at things like “not holding strictly to the original work” then there is little in this movie that will disappoint you. I revel in the details and this movie was beautiful. Go. My son, who is of perfect Hobbit age (12), came out of this movie with eyes the size of pie-plates. It was the best thing he’d ever seen. His words.