An Unnecessary Film, by David Bax

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5 Responses

  1. Scott M says:

    Thanks for the review. I’m still looking forward to seeing the movie but your review has thus far been the best at defining your problems with the film of the ones I’ve read (admittedly I haven’t read a ton).

    I still hope that the movie appeals to me on some level since Fellowship of the Ring is the movie I’ve most often said is my favorite of all time (more out of respect for getting me into movies in the first place, but I still love the hell out of that movie and the trilogy as a whole). Unfortunately, Star Wars is also one of my favorite movies and I hated those prequels so just loving the original won’t be enough I’m sure.

    Definitely will check it out in 2D first, but I think I’ll have to go see it in HFR 3D just to watch a train wreck in progress (I hate 3D, and I hate the de-blurring feature that fakes 120Hz on my 60Hz TV which sounds exactly like 48 fps in terms of the problems that arise).

    Still cautiously optimistic about this one and the trilogy as a whole, but my expectations have definitely been tempered from reviews like this.

  2. Noah says:

    Like always, a good read.

    I just came from this movie and for the most part I enjoyed it. I do however agree with you that it was a bit tedious at points. It felt like a series of endless hurdles: the company is captured by trolls, now they’re running from orcs, etc, etc. The scene with the stone giants didn’t need to happen.

    But, overall, I still like it enough to recommend it. The scene with Gollum, as you mentioned, is the best part of the movie, but I think the combination of music, performance, and sense of place are just as good. Unlike most reviewers, I didn’t notice anything too distracting about the higher fps (I only noticed that the primary colours in the movie looked significantly more crisp when I took off my glasses, but this is true for most 3D movies).

    With all that said, there is one thing about the reviews (yours included) that has been bugging me. Namely, that most critics seem to have missed that this movie is not solely an adaptation of “The Hobbit.” It is also an adaption of a story from Tolkien’s “Unfinished Tales” called “The Quest of Erebor,” which expands on “The Hobbit.” It explains why Gandalf wants Bilbo to join Thorin’s company on their journey, but it also explains what Gandalf is doing during his many absences in”The Hobbit” book, which was consulting with Saruman, Galadriel, and Elrond about how to handle the second rise of Sauron, referred to in “The Hobbit” as the necromancer.

    Now, it would be absurd to call this movie “The Hobbit and The Quest of Erebor” because (1) they pretty much mean the same thing, and (2) it just wouldn’t be a catchy, marketable title for hollywood blockbuster (and despite the wildly mixed reviews, I still think this movie will be massively profitable). But that title would be more accurate, given Peter Jackson’s intentions for this trilogy.

    So, given all this, I don’t think Jackson is “shoehorning” LOTR characters into the movie he isn’t merely winking to those of us who grew up with his original trilogy. Nor do I think three movies are inappropriate. If Jackson used material solely from “The Hobbit” and milked three movies out of it, then yes, I would accuse him of overindulgence. But since he is telling stories from two separate books, I don’t think three movies is too, too excessive (I openly admit that perhaps it could have been done in two films).

    Think about this: if he didn’t include the plot-line from “The Unfinished Tales,” who would have? I don’t think Warner Bros. would want a movie solely based on one of Tolkien’s lesser known works. So, for us Tolkien fans, “The Hobbit” is as close as we’ll get to seeing “The Quest of Erebor” filmed.

  3. Rory says:

    I’m in the UK, so I’ve only just gotten round to seeing this and I thought I’d check out the always interesting BP reviews.

    There are just three things I’d like to add. Firstly, I think the 48FPS is for the most part awful in the film, but there are moments where it is genuinely outstanding. I’m interested to see this in the future.

    Secondly, I spent about 1 hours 50 going “I’m not seeing the next two”, but if they maintain the last hour’s momentum in The Hobbit: There and The Hobbit: Back Again then I might be on board.

    Finally, Noah: “So, for us Tolkien fans, “The Hobbit” is as close as we’ll get to seeing “The Quest of Erebor” filmed.” really irks me. I’m completely in agreement that Jackson’s enthusiasm for Tolkien helped make LOTR a lot better than it really could have been. However, he shouldn’t be making The Hobbit with this as his goal. He shouldn’t care what makes it to the screen unless it serves a purpose or contributes to the film. Now, I’m willing to admit that this may all pay off in the next two films and it probably will, but that’s a really lazy way to make a 3 hour film. It doesn’t stand on it’s own two legs.

  4. Noah says:

    “He shouldn’t care what makes it to the screen unless it serves a purpose or contributes to the film.”

    I can wholly understand why someone would be frustrated with the additions to this movie, but at the same time I can’t ignore the way I felt while watching it. I actually found the scene with the council of the wise (I forget the actual term for this group, but you know what I’m talking about) to be even more interesting than some of the sequences adapted from the book, like the goblin king.

    I talked to some of my friends about this, and they seemed as split about the film as people on the net are. I think this division has to do with the expectations people are bringing into the movie. If you go in already knowing that this is one of three movies, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed that Jackson sets up plot lines that don’t resolve, much in the same way you won’t be disappointed if you watch the first episode of a TV series that doesn’t tie every conflict up with a nice bow. If you go in already pissed off that Jackson didn’t make a single movie out of the book, then you’ll probably be angry that he added in a whole bunch of extra stuff instead of just focusing solely on the original story.

    But with all that said, I’m probably in the minority about this film. Your opinions are easily the most common, and I can’t ignore that fact. This is a flawed movie. I just think it’s reasonably fun and entertaining, which in the end is why I go to movies based on children’s fantasy books.

    Cheers.

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