DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson
BLURB: A reluctant hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home – and the gold within it – from the dragon Smaug.
RATING: 7 out of 10
As a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies and an avid reader of the books of JRR Tolkien I had a bunch of mixed emotions tying tiny knots in my stomach when I sat down to watch the DVD of The Hobbit. For a myriad of reasons I missed the movie when it was in the cinema and held off watching the DVD version for as long as I could in fear of being disappointed. In the end I wasn’t seriously disappointed but I was a little underwhelmed.
The production values were intact but there was a lot to be desired about so many elements that overall I was left a little disappointed. Where do I begin, well at the start I suppose and that would be the cameo by Elijah Wood in a reprise of his role of Frodo. It was unnecessary really as far as advancing the story was concerned and while it gave a visual link to the earlier (or should that be later) trilogy and a sense of nostalgia for avid LOTR fans it did come across as a bit of an attempt to attract an established fan base in case the new movies didn’t cut the mustard on their own.
That takes me to the dwarves, the protracted scenes where they arrive at bag end and wreak havoc over the period of an evening reminded me of two things: the first was that the original novel was, unlike the LOTR, a children’s book and the second was how close to the seven dwarfs they all seemed – neither realisation helped me to get into the mood. Speaking of the 13 dwarves, except for the actors I recognised beneath the heavy prosthetics none of them seemed especially well ‘drawn’ or well developed as characters. That was a pity because Tolkien was so meticulous and accomplished at doing that very thing.
The other issue was what I feel was the excessive use of CGI in comparison with the LOTR trilogy. I’m sure there was a reason for the change, perhaps the introduction of 3D, but it substantially altered the feel of the movie and I couldn’t help feeling the director and producers didn’t feel quite the same way about The Hobbit as they did about LOTR.
Last but by no means least was the pace, it was a big mistake to stretch the project out to a trilogy and that mistake is up there on the screen. It would have been much more appropriate to have reduced the level of detail – the bag end scenes could have been severely curtailed for starters – and included the key elements of the story to advance the plot and the pace; after all we don’t come across any of the new characters in the LOTR.
Positives are the standard of acting and the sense of nostalgia, but I won’t be concerned about waiting for the DVD release to catch parts 2 and 3.