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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  THE HOBBIT - AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012) « previous next »
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Author Topic: THE HOBBIT - AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012)  (Read 2879 times)
indianasmith
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« on: December 15, 2012, 12:22:11 AM »

My wife and I had already planned to go out tonight, but after the devastating news from Connecticut today - it hit home with both of us, as teachers - losing ourselves to Middle Earth for a few hours seemed all the more appealing.  So off to the local multiplex we went.

I have been a Tolkien fan since I was in 7th grade.  I have read The Hobbit many, many times.  On the one hand, I desperately wanted to like this movie.  On the other hand, I am also something of a purist, and was somewhat afraid they would mess the story up - especially since I found out they were turning this single novel into a trilogy.

So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the story, even though there were some significant departures from the book.  There are some mild spoilers below, but I'll try not to give away any of the good stuff.

The story actually begins with Bilbo, shortly before his 111th birthday party, writing the "real story" of his unexpected journey and the acquisition of the Ring for his nephew Frodo.  He begins by giving the back story of how the Dwarves were driven from the Lonely Mountain by the dragon Smaug many years before, and then moves into the familiar territory of the book's first chapters: his surprise encounter with the wandering wizard Gandalf and the absolutely unplanned dinner party for the 13 dwarves.  The dwarves are wonderfully well-cast, and give just the right combination of silliness and seriousness that the book balanced so perfectly.

The dangers of the road and the encounter with the trolls follow the book closely, but the account of Thorin's role in the Goblin Wars is inserted as a bit of backstory here.  There is a major departure from the book in this story, but I will let you see for yourself what it is.

The visit to Rivendell is quite wonderful, and Hugo Weaving is still brilliant as Elrond Halfelven, master of the Last Homely House west of the Sea.  The meeting of the White Council is a lovely addition, consistent with Tolkien's works, but not detailed in the original book THE HOBBIT.  Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchett return in their roles as Saruman and Galadriel.

The disastrous encounter with the goblins in the mountains is marvelously depicted, with only slight departures from the storyline, and Bilbo's encounter with Gollum is excellent too. They did add some things to the story near the end of the movie, which brings Thorin and Company safely past the Goblins and to the edge of Mirkwood.

All in all, this is a beautifully filmed and thoroughly entertaining movie.  I give it my highest recommendation.
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Zapranoth
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 08:51:45 PM »

Our reaction was that the film had great material and acting, but that it needed editing in a severe way.
The movie would have benefited greatly from the James Cameron reductionism.   Would have been a much better movie that way.

Could have completely lopped off about 45 minutes of travel and excess... much of the GCI fighting could have been truncated...  The strong parts were in the Shire, in Rivendell, and under the earth (Gollum and Bilbo -- easily the show-stealing scene of the film, as it should have been).     But too much added orc enemy stuff... Too much Radagast, way too much Radagast. 

A good movie that could have been great.  Someone on teh Internetz will probably do his own cut of it down to 2 hours and 5 min or so... and that version I'd watch again!

I hope that Jackson and company see enough feedback like this on the internet and decide to pare it down for parts 2 and 3.

Don't get me wrong.  Did like the movie.  But bloated like a Microsoft product!
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indianasmith
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 09:40:51 PM »

I can see where you are coming from, but frankly I am such a Tolkien junkie that I soak up every extra second of film I can!  I didn't even buy the DVD's until the extended edition director's cut came out!
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 09:56:10 AM »

Had a bit of luck yesterday. My wife needed a sewing machine repaired immediately, but was too busy herself. So, she sent me to town with it yesterday morning. Well, the guy said the machine would be ready at 3, and it was just past 11, and I was about an hour from home, so I popped over to the multiplex and there just happened to be a showing at 11:30 that ended around 2:30. Seemed like it was meant to be. Being that it was late Saturday morning, there was hardly anybody else in the theatre, so I got a nice seat in just the right location, with nobody near me. Perfect.

Anyway, I liked it. Didn't seem too long to me at all. It's not often you see a movie that retains everything in the book, and even rarer that it should expand on things that the book only mentioned. It never once felt too long to me. I did notice a few changes to the story, which didn't really hurt it any. In truth, if The Hobbit is to be shown in a style similar to the earlier Lord of the Rings movies, it needs this. There is a lot happening in The Hobbit, but it is a much tighter book than Lord of the Rings. I see how it can be expanded to more than one movie without feeling padded, while LOTR fit nicely into one film per volume after being cut down a bit and restructured.

It was good to see the actors from LOTR playing their parts again. Seeing Gollum again made me smile, although after seeing the mostly pathetic Gollum of the later stories, it was something to see him at the top of his game, when he actually felt powerful and in control.

Of the new cast, it was great seeing Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown. Have not seen him in anything since the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, so having him turn up in an important role in a movie this big was a treat.

Liked the 3D. I very quickly stopped noticing it, which is probably the best thing I could say for its use. Not distracting, but sometimes quite striking when a scene had sufficient depth.

I will, no doubt, see this again. I got the impression my wife was a little disappointed she did not see it with me, although she's usually more content to wait for the video than I am. And anyway, it's very difficult for both of us to get out to a movie unless the whole family goes, and I wasn't sure it would be appropriate for that.

My daughter was quite envious, in fact, as I've read the book to her, and she's seen the Rankin-Bass animated movie. I didn't say anything, but I had been giving some thought, as I watched, whether it would be too scary for her. Based on what she's seen lately, I think she might be ready when the video comes out.

My only disappointment is that I now have to wait for the rest of it.
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 08:31:54 AM »

I've seen it twice now, once in regular 3D and once in IMAX 3D. Overall, I think it works well. Although it is nearly 3 hours long, it moves along nicely. There are a few spots that could have been edited down, but it all fits with the LotR movies in style and tone. It's been a while since I read the novel, so my memory is hazy as far as what all was added or changed. I didn't really see what the 3D added to the movie; in fact, I didn't really like it as it seemed to muddy up some scenes, most notably the scene in the goblin cavern--the cgi was already motion-blurred, and the addition of the 3D process seemed to make much of that scene just look out of focus. And in the IMAX version, this was multiplied.

I liked most of the epic feeling of the film, and Jackson did a fine job of making it feel and look like the LotR. Because of the darker tone, I'm not sure I fully appreciated the comic touches (most notably Radagast's scenes). They seemed a bit out of place. But the effects, the scenery and the acting was all top notch. I continue to be impressed with the portrayal of Gollum--can cgi characters win best supporting actor academy awards?  TongueOut

I know I sound like I'm complaining about the movie more than praising it, but it is a very enjoyable experience. The casting was good, the acting and directing were great, the effects were amazing. I can't wait to see Smaug in action.
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 12:12:48 PM »

We kicked around seeing it this weekend, but rejected it on the basis on the length...solely on the basis of the length.  Egads, 2 1/2 hours.

We'll probably watch it after theatrical release - either Amazon Instant Video or Netflix DVD.

We went to see RISE OF THE GUARDIANS instead, and that felt long enough.  ;)

(My wife is a pretty big Tolkien fan and my daughter has read "The Hobbit" and the first two LotR books, so "probably" pretty much equals "will").
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 01:27:02 PM »

The dwarves are wonderfully well-cast, and give just the right combination of silliness and seriousness that the book balanced so perfectly.

This is good news, and I was thinking that the interaction between the characters is absolutely essential for the film to be enjoyable.  There is also the very important aspect of Bilbo's reaction and adjustment to everything, which also interests me.  How does Martin Freeman carry it off?

The running time does worry me.  Very few movies need to be more than 2 hours in length unless they are trying to cover a lot of ground, and with this relatively short book broken up into three films, surely they could have edited it some.
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 03:26:37 PM »

I maintain that the film still was too long.

Andrew, the actor who played Bilbo did it just brilliantly.  A+.
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 03:35:04 PM »

I maintain that the film still was too long.

It seems to be a trend for Peter Jackson.  I feel that way about the Lord of the Rings movies and King Kong.  The only LOR movie that didn't seem horribly overlong was The Return of the King, and I still think that it needed editing.


Andrew, the actor who played Bilbo did it just brilliantly.  A+.

Excellent!
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 05:50:41 PM »

I feel like Jackson is getting the "Lucas effect". Once he gets more power and less restrictions from studios, directors tend to go power crazy.
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Zapranoth
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 08:06:16 PM »

That is PRECISELY the comparison my wife and I made.   No one is reining Jackson in and preventing some of his excesses.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2012, 09:11:29 PM »

That's because a lot of us ENJOY those excesses! LOL
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 03:09:50 AM »

There is also the very important aspect of Bilbo's reaction and adjustment to everything, which also interests me.  How does Martin Freeman carry it off?


Freeman does a good job overall, though there are times when he again channels Arthur Dent. I never really thought about these two characters together (Dent and Baggins), but they are similar in a lot of ways, particularly when portrayed by the same actor.
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 01:43:08 PM »

We're all going to see it on Christmas day....though waiting that long is driving my daughter crazy. Just spotted this poster and loved it:

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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 05:11:29 PM »

And after you see the film, you can now visit Hobbitland, and you need not go all the way to New Zealand to see it neither. Director Peter Jackson is in talks with the executives at both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World to create an attraction based on this film and the two upcoming films. The odds on favorite to win the contest as to who gets to create the attraction would at this point seemingly be Universal Orlando, as they have the larger space to do do a bigger attraction. As they want to take out Jurassic Park at the Islands of Adventure and put in something else. But we shall see what we shall see.
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