Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Hobbit

Finally saw The Hobbit: an Unexpectedly Long, Plodding, Expository, and at Times Boring Journey. It wasn't bad but definitely could've used some editing. The last hour or so was amazing.

I went to a 3D HFR showing- I had heard the HFR takes a little getting used to, and it does. But after maybe 10 minutes you adapt. There were a couple scenes where the movement of the characters seemed artificially sped up, almost Benny Hill style; not sure if that was an effect of the HFR or was just some other post-production issue. The biggest distraction from the HFR was that it looked almost too real. Like watching a play as opposed to a movie. But again, you get used to it.

As for the 3D, it didn't necessarily add anything to the movie but it was kind of cool to watch it that way. 3D has evolved quite a bit since its heyday in the 80's (and subsequent obsolescence). It is no longer a gimmick of the Comin' At Ya! variety, meant to startle or jolt the audience. It's become more of an immersive experience, letting you feel more engaged, more drawn into the story. Although I've never seen Avatar (and at times I feel like I'm the lone holdout) I credit it with this particular function of the effect.

As for the movie itself, I knew it would drag in parts because Peter Jackson felt the need to take a single book and break it into 3 movies. I think he's a great director, but the whole Middle Earth thing seems to be taking root in his ego- many of the scenes seemed to be included just for the sake of him impressing us with his Tolkien knowledge. Some of the scenes also seemed like they were there solely to impress himself.

I'll bet if the studio let him, he would've made the beginning dinner scene with the Dwarves a full hour, if only to showcase how funny and irreverent and crazy and courteous and skilled and zany... you get the point. I found it ironic that during this scene Bilbo himself said, to no one in particular, "A bit excessive." Mere moments later, Gandalf virtually came to Jackson's defense by telling Bilbo "All great stories deserve embellishment." Jackson had come under fire for his crew's apparent mistreatment of some of the animals on set during filming. While those charges have not been fully substantiated, here he *clearly* beat a dead horse. BOOM!

Overall, good movie. Definitely recommend it, although it does drag a bit. Oh, and one final comment to Mr Jackson directly: your Tolkien movies are built on impressive CGI, presenting to us all manner of creatures and worlds so visually stunning that you deservedly won many awards for them. You have firmly established yourself as a visual storyteller and a pioneer in presenting to us things that we could never even dream of- trolls, orcs, ents, giant eagles, necromancers, ghosts... So fuck you for not showing us the dragon, you arrogant prick.