Good – Martin Freeman’s performance as Bilbo Baggins is a credible impression of everyman, or rather everyhobbit, completely out of his depth, but endeavouring to stay the course despite seemingly insurmountable odds. As usual, the landscape cinematography is gorgeous. It was also great to see Cate Blanchett reprising her role as Galadriel of Lórien.
Bad – I heard Peter Jackson say that there was a lot of extra backstory that he couldn’t fit into The Lord of The Rings and so included in The Hobbit. Even if it were the case that there were gaps in the story that needed filling, I’m not sure that I completely believe that there wasn’t an element of wanting to cash in with the fans too. My personal view is that there was no artistic justification for expanding Tolkien’s small book into about nine hours of film spanning three movies. It’s so long, in fact, that although I drank both a Red Bull and about a litre of strong latte, I still fell asleep a few times. The most tiresome parts of the movie were the long marching scenes between places and the agonisingly long riddle scene with Gollum.
Also, why do the dwarves sound vaguely Scottish? Why do they act like Klingons? Why is the white goblin just a pale imitation of Calibos from the original Clash of the Titans? What was the point of imitating Michael Bay’s awful Transformers style of filming in the fight scene between the rock-giants?
Verdict – All in all, despite the criticisms, it’s not terrible, and the theme of an ordinary person being propelled out of a comfortable armchair and thrust into an adventure is both appealing and inspiring.
But it has also occurred to me that, as I watch Peter Jackson’s continuing work with adapting Tolkien, I’m being pulled away from the movies and drawn back to the books upon which they are based.
The drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black, Ride on. -The Battle of Evermore, Led Zeppelin