I’ve been waiting for Peter Jackson‘s adaptation of The Hobbit for about a year. I’d read the books and seen all the extended editions. As a writer for this site, I’ve been tracking every press release since summer. I’ve tutored the book (Graduates of English tend to tutor a lot!) and have spent hours arguing with the 12-year-old, Jake, about how the movie would be divided, what information from the appendices would be included, and how it would compare to the movie.
As much as I dislike it, I knew going in to expect more violence than the book. You may call it action packed scenes that keep the movie’s energy going–Jake calls it this too–but I call it a big yawn! I’m in it for the conquest of good over evil, the character development, the riddles–not CG orcs fighting one another. That’s why I was so disappointed to see the storyline of Azog, an orc mutilated by Thorin who is seeking revenge. As the company of Dwarves, Gandalf, and Bilbo makes their way to Rivendell, they are being pursued by Azog, whose small troupe rides Wargs (by the way, the movie Wargs don’t talk. At least, they haven’t yet.) and attack just before Gandalf finds a secret passage to Rivendell. In the books, Azog is killed before the start of the quest to the Lonely Mountain. I would have preferred he stayed that way!
In Rivendell, Thorin is furious to be accepting the hospitality of Elves, even though they are not the Wood Elves who abandoned his people during Smaug‘s invasion. Having heard news of the Necromancer from Radagast the Brown, Gandalf seeks the advice of Elrond, Galadriel, and Sarumon (who, surprise surprise, votes to do nothing!). The dwarves sneak out and continue passage to the Misty Mountains alone and are suddenly rejoined by Gandalf after falling into a trap set by the goblins. Escape from the mountain feels like it takes up half the movie, though that can’t be right. Basically, it’s a lot of CG bridges crashing, CG goblins chasing the dwarves and falling off bridges, and swords clacking together.
Gollum‘s scene of riddles was genius, if not truncated. Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar. Now. The movie ends after the reunited company almost die after being attacked by Azog and his Warg army. Bilbo valiantly jumps in front of Thorin as Azog goes in to decapitate, and after they are rescued by Eagles, Thorin gives him a hug. He is officially not a burden to the group. Honestly, I think the film played up on any and all violence possible, and not to it’s credit. The elongated fight scenes do nothing for the film. It’s just computer generation and Foley artists! The plot line with Azog pushes the story along but is unnecessary–they have a task set forth and are working on it. We don’t need someone chasing them too!
I loved the movie, of course, but am still kind of disappointed. I think I previously promised to have no complaints except about the other people in the theatre. Well, I’ll make good of that promise and tell you: an hour before the film started, I accidentally got into a conversation with the girl sitting next to me. She talked about her home made jewelry for an hour, and told me her company buys gold at better prices than the mall. It was awful. It was like an hour of an infomercial, except it was sitting right next to me and there was no changing the channel. Have you seen the movie yet? What were your thoughts?
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