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The Hobbit

Last night we were going to take Barb's mom out to see the Zoo Lights, since this is the last weekend, but she wasn't feeling up to it, so instead we went to the movies.


On the whole, I liked it a good deal. Jackson continues to cast very well, and everyone was in fine form. Unfortunately, because it was a Friday night and we didn't buy in advance or get there very early, we were in a bad position for viewing (front row extreme left) -- but once I got into the show, it wasn't too bad.

The extreme high-def is beautiful, almost startlingly so, in many places, bringing you into the action even in 2-D and ordinary screen; however, it has minor drawbacks in that it's so extreme you lose some of the magic of movies, in that you can actually see the contacts on actor's eyes (particularly noticeable on Ian McKellen when Gandalf is in Rivendell), the attachments of the wigs and prosthetics, and that much of the hair in the dwarf beards appears to be something other than hair. It also shows up the shortcomings of some CGI, making many things appear odd and rubbery (they can do motion capture on humans, why not on animals? The Wargs don't move like real wolves would).

Andy Serkis was once again brilliant as Gollum. Martin Freeman is a spectacular Bilbo. I see some of the problem with casting certain actors in certain parts, as I now have a terrible crush on Kili (played by Being Human star Aidan Turner). Of course, making him a grand archer, too, made me wonder why he was playing a dwarf instead of an elf!

BUT, misgivings on some things aside, I did like it. I have some quibbles with some of the rewriting of Tolkien's history, and really it ought to be called "The Hobbit, along with some of the stories from the Appendixes in 'Return of the King,' plus some of the Lost Tales and Unfinished Stories (which is how we made a kid's book long enough for three movies and violent enough for a PG 13 rating)." In many ways I see this as a movie for fans of ALL Tolkien, rather than casual readers of the book (who might be a little confused by all the back stories). I liked the dwarfs' songs, I'm glad they left out the elves' song, but they could have done the orcs "Fifteen birds in five fir trees," although they made that scene a LOT more tense by cobbling up that Azog vs. Thorin thing (which is made up out of the whole cloth, since Azog was killed--and beheaded--by Dain in that battle Balin described; I just read that Appendix). I noted they showed dwarf women in the evacuation of Erebor, although Tolkien does say that "dwarf women are indistinguishable from dwarf men to outsiders," making me wonder if they shouldn't have beards, too.

I know they tossed in Galadriel since there are actually no female characters anywhere in The Hobbit. (And precious few in The Lord of the Rings, for that matter.)

The whole long scene at the beginning with Frodo screamed "padding!" I know that was just to bring Elijah Wood back, but still -- definitely unnecessary.

I'm glad they left some of the humor from the book intact, largely on the part of the dwarves; although turning the fight in the orc holes into, um, a ride at Disneyland (or Universal Studios) was a bit over the top. And they forgot that Glamdring and Orcrist should glow, too, as they are of elf-make, same as Sting.

They should not have cut the fish riddle in the Riddles in the Dark chapter; Gollum references that later in "Return of the King" -- "Baggins guessed it, long ago."

I need to dedicate 12 hours of my time and watch all the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings. I haven't seen them in some time.

I read an article that you can actually visit Hobbiton now, there in New Zealand. When they had to rebuild it for The Hobbit, they made it a permanent village with real buildings and doors and so forth (although you can't actually go inside Bag End, since that was a set somewhere else, sadly). It's a tourist attraction. I wish I could go to New Zealand!

I do want to see the rest.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ljs
Jan. 5th, 2013 05:27 pm (UTC)
My thought after Movie #1: oh, oh, Thorin Oakenshield is so my king. Which, considering the end of the book, is a BIG PROBLEM.

;)

Hugs!
wildrider
Jan. 5th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, he was pretty impressive. But no, don't get too attached (like everyone did for Boromir... at least that was resolved at the end of the first movie!).

Fili and Kili die, too. :/ (We even know what happens to most of the others, for that matter... Tolkien left very few loose ends!)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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