Christuffer Reviews- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Is 'The Hobbit' really the disgrace that the movie-going masses claim it to be? SPOILERS
By now, most of the people who planned on seeing An Unexpected Journey have seen it and formed an opinion. Audiences are well divided, but the general forecast says that Hobbit's first outing is a good one. That's not dismissing the people who didn't like it, however. Most of the film's criticism is being aimed at it's length, necessity or breadth of content, and the way the material is being "stretched". While some may say that my views on popular cinema are notably rose-tinted, I would like to offer a counter-proposal: Peter Jackson is giving us the adaptation of 'The Hobbit' that we deserve. Here's why, in a duel Editorial/Review.
First off, I want to ask all those reading this review a question. Why in the world are so many people saying that the movie is over-bloated with material? If the movie isn't close enough to the material, nobody is happy. If the movie follows the material virtually verbatim, nobody is happy. So what's the big deal? Just take a look at Zack Snyder's 'Watchmen: Ultimate Cut', that movie practically mirrors the book at every chance. When I read comments about 'An Unexpected Journey' that criticize the movie's length and amount of material, I cannot help but facepalm. I'll be the first to admit that I do have "The Hobbit" sitting on my bookshelf and I've only read about thirty pages of it, but I don't really need to read it to know that Jackson has spared nothing. Most viewers are looking at it from this perspective:
-The movie is long (nearly three hours on the nose)
-Most people don't have a long attention span for this anyway
-It's one book being split into three
-Before the movie even comes out, opinions are influenced by early criticisms.
Add these things together, and before you even see the movie you already have the mindset (subconsciously or otherwise) that you are going to dislike the film altogether. On top of this mental chess game, we shouldn't forget that most of the world is full of people that aren't really LOTR fans to begin with. Are you seeing the cold equations here?
Early shock about three movies from one book + Nerdy material x Long movie(3hrs) = "Didn't like The Hobbit, disappointed."
Do not get me wrong. I'm not trying to dump on anybody's opinion. But it seems to me that most of the criticisms against this movie don't really hold any water. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet that you could walk into an elementary school classroom and hear similar complaints about a number of other things. Peter Jackson puts his heart and soul into his movies, especially LOTR, and there is no good reason why An Unexpected Journey shouldn't be praised. The way I see it, the only legit critiques of this movie is those concerning the 48fps. I only saw the film in 2-D, so I don't know if I got the new fps. I will tell you that I didn't notice a difference. Other than that, you probably don't like "Lord of the Rings" anyway.
Also, I would like to point out that Guillermo Del Toro did warn us before this movie came out. Del Toro did say:
The way we view it, and I think it was Peter who said, “Let’s stop talking about two movies, let’s talk about one story.” I thought “abso-f*cking-lutely.” Then it made sense. I was so worried about this and that. Then all of sudden, seeing it as one narrative, saying, “this is the story” and not only the two movies. When we agreed, “let’s think about the five movies as a single story – a single narrative thread,” it opened up the scope of what we’re doing. You don’t have to try to contain the HOBBIT book in one movie, which I think would be a disservice. People tend to think, “why two movies,” and you go back and take notes of the book. The book you read, is not the book that [you think it is]. The book is such an effortless read and it seems like it goes like a breeze, but there are so many events in THE HOBBIT. Especially if you’re taking into account, ancillary stuff, there’s so much there. It really is barely containable into two movies.
If you were to go back in time, and tell Tolkien's biggest fans that one day there would be a saga of films that detailed every inch of his Rings universe, jaws would drop. 'An Unexpected Journey' is an epic film with heartfelt sequences and thrilling action.
ACCOLADES: *Good start to a new series *Epic fights *Emotional soundtrack *Appealing to fans
Favorite scene: Bilbo spares Gollum's life, as the Shire music cues in the background
Visuals: Stunning as always, if you don't mind CGI animals (and I don't)
Story: I think I covered that.
What I'm Excited About: Jackson has clearly set up this "Necromancer" character as a villain. I'm excited to see what this means for the LOTR universe as a whole.
Least Liked About Movie: Sometimes the set pieces look a little too fancy. It's like somebody animated a high-resolution watercolor painting. Sensory overload!
Least Favorite Scene: The prologue featuring Bilbo and Frodo. While it's necessary and interesting to see, it felt out of place, especially because it literally follows into the very beginning of "Fellowship"
Final Rating: 9.5 / 10
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