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The Hobbit Review

Posted by Velox , in Reviews Jan 07 2013 · 754 views

The Hobbit Movie Review Review Tolkien

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So I saw The Hobbit the day after it came out in theaters, and I’ve been meaning to write a review since. This review will contain some slight spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d wait to read this entry until then.
I want to start off with saying that the book is fantastic – it’s a perfect kid’s fairy-tale-type-book, but then again, that’s not surprising, considering Tolkien wrote it. However, the movie is not the book – not exactly, anyway. Of course this was completely expected, and I personally didn’t have a problem with it. But if you’re expecting it to be the book line-by-line, you’ll be disappointed. 
That said, it is “the movie” – it fits in very nicely with the LOTR movies, and is a great prologue to the trilogy. Half of me wants them to release a “book version” (basically, cut out all the extra scenes, change some of the changes slightly to better fit the book, etc.). I realize this is improbable, but I still think it’d be cool. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, and I’m sure I’ll love the extended edition, too. I just think it’d be awesome to have both; a “book version” and a “movie version.” But yeah, that’s not going to happen. =P Anyway, it's also obviously a lot darker, but that's to be expected -- I wasn't disappointed with that bit. 
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is the absolute perfect choice. He was completely fantastic, and is the perfect, perfect Bilbo (and Watson, for that matter). His whole part was extremely well-done, and I loved every one of his scenes. Ian McKellen, too, did a supurb job. Of course all of the other actors did too, but I thought that they, particularly, did an outstanding job.
But of course that list of “outstanding jobs” would not be complete if I didn’t include Andrew Serkis in that list. His performance as Gollum was absolutely amazing, and was one of the best parts about the whole movie. The Riddles scene was very well-done (sure, some slight inconsistencies like there being more light than there should be, but again…this is the movie, so that didn’t really bother me. And the riddles themselves were fantastically done – I’m really hoping all of them are included in the extended edition).
Back to the movie itself, the beginning was absolutely fantastic. Yes, I’ve probably said “absolutely fantastic” or some variation of a dozen times already, but I don’t care – because it’s true. The history of the Lonely Mountain was done extremely well, and I loved how you saw Smaug but at the same time…you didn’t (if you saw the movie you’ll understand what I’m saying =P). On that note, everything about Smaug was well-done. Sure, I wish we could’ve seen him in this movie, but at the same time, I think they built him up spectacularly, and I’m sure the second part of the trilogy will be amazing with him.
The very beginning narration with Ian Holm and the tie-in to LOTR was also extremely well-done. I really, really enjoyed this, and the first…30 minutes or so all together, with Bilbo and Frodo and later Bilbo the Younger. As implied, I really liked how they tied this movie into Ian Holm telling Frodo about his adventure, the switching to Martin Freeman. And I liked how for the first part with Martin Freeman, some lines were copied directly from the book. I had just read the book a few days before, so it was cool seeing that.
The dwarves were over-all well-done. I had some concerns about them at first, but after seeing the movie I was pleased with their performance. I do wish they could’ve had their instruments and their coloured hoods, but their “That’s What Bilbo Baggins Hates!” song was very well done. Even more so was the Misty Mountains song – that was just simply fantastic, and one of the best parts of the movie. Which, speaking of, the whole soundtrack was extremely well-done. Of course, that was expected with Howard Shore, but still. I can’t wait to buy the Deluxe Version at some point.
As for the Azog inclusion…I guess I both liked and disliked that. Obviously it’s not true to the book, but I liked how there was a single antagonistic character for the dwarves and Bilbo. I also thought that Azog was very well-done, himself, and seemed to be a cool character. At the same time, I think they could’ve gone slightly more in-depth with him. Sometimes it seemed like he was placed in simply so there was an “enemy” for the company. The inclusion of the Necromancer, too, was cool, and I definitely look forward to Cumberbatch playing him in future films (who is, of course, a perfect Sherlock as well). And I thought most of Rivendell was well-done. I also liked Radagast for the most part. 
The troll scene was obviously different from the book, which I both liked and disliked. The personalities were very well done, but I kind of wish Gandalf would have done his voices trick. At the same time, I understand having to introduce Bilbo as the “hero” early on, since they’re dragging it out to three, three-hour-long movies.
I was very pleased with the portrayal of the goblin king. I was interested to see how they would do that, and I think they pulled it off well. His death, however, not so much. In fact, it was rather lame, unfortunately. Which is really too bad, considering I liked the rest of him. Oh well. But on that note, I didn’t like the front porch scene. I really wish they would’ve kept truer to the book here (I liked how there was a crack in the wall, and the ponies disappeared, etc., rather than the movie version). Oh, well.
The stone giants, too, was a little over-done. I really liked it, up until the point that they were stuck on the giant’s legs. That just went overboard, and wasn’t necessary. I wish they would’ve kept it off to the distance – have them dodging boulders, sure, but to be actually on a giant was a little much. 
And lastly, the ending could’ve been done better. The very, very end was done well, I think, in the sense that it was a good way/place to stop it (I hope that the eagles speak in the second movie, though). But the tree scene was…disappointing. Of course you had to have the dramatic Thorin and Azog (which wasn’t even done all that well, unfortunately). The idea itself wouldn’t’ve been too bad if it were done a little differently, I think. Even Bilbo saving him, I can see how that’d be useful to develop Bilbo’s character. But it just wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been. And the falling trees and domino effect was even worse. I have to say I was disappointed with that. Oh, well. 
This was the first time I had seen a 3D movie, and I think it worked well here. Also the sped-up frames-per-minute was kind of cool. I didn’t really notice it all that much, but coupled with the 3D at times it definitely worked well. I’ve heard some people say that the movie seemed too long, but personally I didn’t think so, and I was happy with the length (in fact, I was surprised it was over all ready when it was – didn’t seem like nearly three hours).
Overall, The Hobbit was a great movie, and I’d highly recommend it. Sure, there were other small little problem I had with it (mostly from differences between the movie and book), but overall it was amazing, especially if it’s looked at as a prologue to the movies more than an exact movie-version of the book. Peter Jackson did well, and I look forward to the Extended Edition and the next two movies. 
~ Velox

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Jan 07 2013 06:11 PM
The very beginning narration with Ian Holm and the tie-in to LOTR was also extremely well-done. 


I've been thinking about Bilbo's opening narration since I saw the movie three weeks ago, and I can't decide if I think him giving it was appropriate or not. Certainly the story is being told through his eyes, but I feel like narration from Thorin would have made more sense given the fact that he was there. I also think his voice just has a more mystical quality to it that would have been more engaging.


But this might just be me wanting an imitation of the Fellowship prologue... which is arguably not what it should be. :shrugs:

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I just

I cannot get over how much I loved riddles in the dark. Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis (and the entire animation team backing him) were absolutely the crowning achievement of the entire film. Any gripe I have with other inconsistencies are absolutely blown away by how well that scene was executed.

oh and the songs

I love how they included most of the songs which were all absolutely great and I'm said that they had neither the jolly singing of the elves nor the chant of the goblins while burning the trees, but I guess neither of that made sense when compared to how they had established both groups withing Peter Jackson's Middle Earth. Oh well.

not to mention the subtle references in lines or song to the chapter titles, which i thought was a nice clever touch to anyone who remembers the book (An Unexpected Party, Roast Mutton, Riddles in the Dark, Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire). Overall, I can sympathise with most of the decisions to cut, include or revise certain material, even if it felt like a little of the story I've known since I was a kid died while watching it.
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Jean Valjean
Jan 07 2013 10:31 PM

:kaukau: Well, I've posted my official disagreement on how Smaug was presented.  I was initially fine with the beginning, until they ended it with his eye and greenlighted the whole peek-a-boo effect.  I was also fine with the execution of the stone giants, since for me it was simple fantasy fun for the heck of it.


On another note, I think that when you said that The Hobbit's greatness as a children's fantasy book as being an "of course" would have gone a little smoother if you had qualified that statement with the additional information that Tolkien also invented many other stories to entertain his children.  That's not exactly a fact he's renowned for; the only other credentials people generally know him for are the Lord of the Rings books, which aren't exactly perfect for children.  They're still fantastic works of fantasy, though.



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It seems as if everyone loved the Riddles in the Dark scene near most.  Andy Serkis was just perfect for Gollum, and all the acting there was really well done.  It's interesting that you thought the movie was darker than the book, I saw it the other way around.  The part where I notice this most is in Goblin town.  I don't mean the physical darkness, but the goblins in the book are much more savage and the movie tries to make them comedic.  I liked the character of the goblin king, but I felt his attempted eloquence took away from the usual goblin's barbaric nature.


I can definitely sympathize with your wish for a book accurate version of the movie.  I understand why they chose to cut and add the things they did (besides perhaps the speaking eagles, why would they cut that?), I do pine for a rendition of the book I know and love.  The issue is that the thoughts and hidden intents of some characters can't be translated to the screen without tampering with the plot.  I don't know how a movie could properly depict the intents of the goblins and wargs to an audience that hasn't read the book; so I'm sure that's the reason for the addition of Azog.  He's a villain that is shallow, but that allows the average audience to pick up on his motives right away.  I would love a version that keeps all the acting the same, in which I could remember the intents just from reading the book. If they added the infamous wallet back to the troll scene, I would be in heaven.  But of course all that is completely far-fetched for Hollywood.  


Speaking of Tolkien being a good author of children's books, I totally agree.  Roverandom remains my favorite fairy tale to this day.  Well, maybe after The Hobbit.

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@ V1P2 ~ Yeah, I get what you mean, but I definitely far prefer Bilbo's to Thorin's. Especially because of the scene in LOTR where Bilbo tells Frodo, and how that is brought back here and expanded upon, I just think that was incredibly well-done, and one of my favorite parts of the movie. Also, I think it just connects The Hobbit to LOTR nicely.


@ Micah ~ I agree, the Riddles were definitely amazing. And yeah, seeing the references to the titles was awesome, especially since I had just re-read the book before seeing the movie. 


@ Kraggh ~ Concerning the stone giants, I get that, but I feel like they did that enough already. There were so many small things that were simple "fantasy fun" and so I think that that scene in particular was just slightly much. 


@ Roablin ~ Ah, yes, there were definitely times where I thought the movie was actually "happier" than the book, which was kind of surprising. Still, I liked it, considering how The Hobbit is a children's book and everything. But yeah, I get what you're saying. And I mean it's important to just remember how this is an adaptation, and like every book-to-movie it shouldn't be expected to be completely accurate, and I personally don't think Jackson went too far. And yeah, Azog did serve that purpose, definitely. That is one of my most-disliked things about movies that were modeled after books, though, in how thoughts and whatnot can't be translated to the screen. Sometimes those are the most amazing parts of some books, so it's slightly frustrating to not have that, but at the same time, obviously understandable. =P 


Anyway, thanks for the comments!

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