martedì 8 gennaio 2013

A Small Hobbitish Intermission did I like The Hobbit movie? I keep asking this question to myself these days. I have no clear answer yet. My opinions on movies tend to change a lot over the course of time, so I should probably wait a bit more. Right now I can say I enjoyed very much half of it the first time I saw it (I was hoping it could become some sort of a musical with all the songs!) and was a bit bored during the entire second viewing a couple of weeks later. But I know I need to see it again, this time in regular 2D to avoid any distraction and possibly enhance immersion (the first two views were in HFR 3D, not something I really look forward to experience again soon - not that it was bad per se, but the second time around it felt... unnecessary).

But, but... let's see if I can clear my mind a bit. This can get ranty...

I am becoming more and more convinced of one thing: I fear the movie didn't really have something in it that could really capture me. The Hobbit book has been with me for more than thirty years now; my itch to see Tolkien in theaters has been scratched thoroughly by the Lotr trilogy; at 45 years of age there are some things I appreciate in a movie, like intelligent dialogue (the movie had some, mainly Bilbo, but...), a script that is well balanced (the movie seemed handled by different directors in its first and second part), I like action scenes that drive the narrative (not self-contained 'action chapters'), I like deep and direct cultural references in my fantasy (yes, I missed some Nordic-style dwarves, especially for their weapons and gear, to me it seemed out of a D&D live action game)... I like a soundtrack that helps to create a mood (not one that seems only to reinforce a 'musical brand')...

Oh well, I warned you it could become a rant! I really need to see The Hobbit once again soon. For the moment, I think that to raise my old man spirits I'll turn on the DVD reader and go see the scene when young Arthur gets knighted by Uriens, knee-deep in the water, before the walls of Cameliard - it still brings a tear to my eyes every time...

7 commenti:

  1. Risposte
    1. know, I originally wanted to title the post with that line! :)

  2. Francesco, it is best viewed in normal framrate, without the 3D. The digital effects add nothing to the story...

    Personally I really liked the intro best. Seeing Erebor in all its splendor was undescribable.

  3. While I can't comment about the technical aspects of the movie (I only watched it once in 3D, so I have no term of comparison), I agree with the above judgement.
    The movie is good, but not overwhelming so.
    I watched it with very low expectations, since both "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" felt very untrue to the style and feeling of the source material. As a result I didn't expect the Hobbit to be very good.
    While the movie takes ample liberties with the source material, it still manages to be pretty good. Overall I felt that I was watching the same story, but told from a different perspective.
    Only two parts irritated me.
    The fist were the stone transformers (Rock Lords for those who remember them). While the was a passing reference to giants in the book, the whole "mountains come to life" sequence felt unnecessary. It doesn't had anything to the plot, it only serve to show off how far digital effects can go, which is kind of pointless.
    The second is the escape from the goblins. Aside from the horrible Goblin King, the whole scene felt like something put together for a videogame, rather than a movie, with all those movie platforms, ladders and the boss making his triumphal return halfway through the scene.

  4. I totally agree with you, Francesco, and with the other commentators. For me too the film ended more or less at Rivendell. The rest was the usual Hollywood-style CGI-enhanced action movie, and as I'm also past my 30's so now unable to appreciate that too much *yawns* The Dwarves were ludicrously Klingon-esque and, while I loved their accents, I couldn't help but dislike their overall appearance. Thorin, for one, in the book had the longest beard of the company, not the fuzz sported by Richard Armitage ('fuzz' at least by Dwarvish standards, no self-respecting Dwarf would have called that a proper 'beard'). However, I liked the mohawk sported by some of the Dwarves at the Battle of Azanulbizar, a clear nod IMO to Warhammer Fantasy's Dragon-Slayers Dwarfs.
    In summary, for me the highs of the film were: Freeman's Bilbo, Sir McKellen's usually immense Gandalf, Serki's equally brilliant Gollum, the return of the moth, and - above all - the Dwarves' song, the only real mood-setter in the whole film soundtrack-wise. The lows: the giants, the Nazguls' tombs (!) and the abuse of Azog's character. I have mixed feelings about Radagast and his 'Rhosgobel rabbits' - or were they conies? ;-)

  5. To be honest Hobbit is not that consistent with LOTR / Sil / HOME itself. It is far closer to a fairy-tale then rest of the books (especially Sil) and that is reflected in some of the story arcs. Jackson, being a hobbit itself, only exaggerated these moments even more - but with a twist: Gandalf himself (I believe) says that every good story need a bit of hyperbolism and the Hobbit movie only really makes sense if you take it as a Hobbit story based on "real" history. Many things start to make sense then - dwarves behaving as barbarians, moving and fighting mountains (a storm and avalanche in mountains), elves only serving lettuce, dwarves destroing elven instruments to make fire, all those long and improbable falls... It is a hobbit story, and when you accept that, it is far easier to enjoy it to it's top.

    1. Mmmh, I think I disagree. The Hobbit was already a hobbit story, told entirely within Bilbo's perspective. In fact, in the original story he was clearly the hero, improbably saving the dwarves time and time again. The exaggerations came into being because there were hours and hours (three movies!) to be filled with stuff. I personally wish they could find better 'filler' material...! (For example, I saw on the internet an excerpt from the upcoming extended edition of The Hobbit featuring a witty exchange between Elrond and Bilbo that is nothing but charming! I would have traded that with any of the overlong action scenes in the theatrical release...