Let me start this review off by saying I am so very glad Guilermo Del Torro didn't get to ruin the Hobbit film and god bless the saving grace of Peter Jackson (save the nails and the cross Rygar).
I had very publically defended PJ in the weeks leading up to the release of the Hobbit and I entered the theatre somewhat worried that I was horrendously wrong and that the Hobbit would destroy my passion for anything LOTR and Tolkien related. Luckily I was very wrong! Now there will defintely be naysayers to this film, those who made up their mind before hand that it's going to suck and will look for any little thing to descredit PJ and dislike the film. I'm here to tell you those people are wrong, for various reasons that I will discuss at length.
Let me start off with the story, the reason why we all love the Hobbit. I am happy to report that the plot of the film follows the book immensely closely, from start to finish. In fact I would be justified in likening it to GOT's first season on screen. The prologue fits in so seamlessly with LOTR that one could cut out and edit it into Fellowship and not miss a beat. In fact it explains one or two things about the beginning of Fellowship. Bilbo, in a very nice nod to all fans of the book, starts out writing his story with some very famous words that began the story for all of us and indeed Tolkien himself. "Once upon a time there lived a hobbit in a hole in the ground."
To my knowledge and counting (for all book purists out there) there are only three changes from the book to the film and they all make a lot of sense from a story perspective. The biggest change is my favourite as it gives Conan Stevens more chances to show the production team of GOT just why they were such idiots to let him go. If you are wondering where the savage Mountain from ASOIAF went to, look no farther than the Hobbit. He delivers a stunning performance as Azog and might I just say the way he speaks the Black Speech of Mordor sounds very much like Dothraki.
The story is much more lighthearted than the LOTR and it is evident in the way PJ filmed it. I laughed out loud many a time in the cinema with the dwarves entertaining me to no end. Indeed the unexpected dinner scene is even funnier than in the book. The dwarves are very distinct with very different personalities and this is also an improvement on the book where it was just Thorin and his 12 side kicks.
PJ doesn't take the film too seriously which is a very good thing as the story isn't meant to be told this way. I was somewhat afraid that PJ would try to outdo himself but this is to no fear. LOTR is still much bigger in terms of scale and story. The Hobbit does not outdo it in any way and that is the point of this fun adventure. Fun is in fact the best word to describe this film.
Some may complain about the length of this film at nearly three hours, but I did not even notice it. The story telling is quite brisk and at a good pace, in fact the pacing is better than Fellowship. The prologue seqence is stunning with an amazing look at the Kingdom of Erebor and an appearance by a fan favourite that I did not expect until much later on. Yet it made a great deal of sense.
Let me say this about the visuals, they are stunning! The new 48fps take some getting used to, but not to fear. Ever seen the difference between a DVD on a traditional box tv and blue ray on a giant flatscreen? That's what it is like! The amount of detail is unbelievable though it can be a bit overwhelming! During the battle of Moria flashback (something that occured in the LOTR appendices, but works brilliantly here) we are treated to a widescreen shot of hundreds of orcs and dwarves battling it out. Not once does the screen blur or obscure the thousands of fighting movements! This is the future of filming technology! I do not say this often, screw that, I have never said it before, watch this film in 3d! Along with the 48fps the 3d does something no other film before it has done, it adds depth, weight and realism to the objects within the film.
I have one complaint though, there was an overuse of CGI. I am a stickler for realism and I am sorry but the orcs within Hobbit that comprise of actors within blue suits do not hold a patch to the extras in LOTR within make up and rubber suits. The CGI although done very well, do not match up to LOTR. For instance the pack of Uruk-Hai in Fellowship looks much more realistic than the pack of warg riders in the Hobbit. While we are on the subject of wargs, Guilermo Del Torro walked out after all the sets and creatures were designed and his hand is quite clear within the design of the orcs, goblins and wargs and I can only say thank goodness he did not make this film. I prefer the wargs of Two Towers a great deal more than the Twilight looking wargs of the Hobbit.
But moving on, the acting within this film is brilliant and expect more than one oscar nomination. Martin Freeman is beyond brilliant as Bilbo, Andy Serkis (Gollum is stunningly created btw) delivers his finest performance as the dual personality of Smeagol, handsome Thorin grows on you and each of the dwarves magnificently play their part in a way that reminds me of the casting choices of Nina Gold. My favourite dwarf was James Nesbitt as Bofur, though I'm sure each one will have their own favourites.
What can I say about the returning cast except to say they were astonishing. They succesfully bring their years of experience to the big screen to bear in their short appearances. Elrond, Galadriel, Saruman and Older Bilbo are all very welcome faces and ties the film to LOTR very nicely. Seriously though Andy Serkis needs some recognition from the academy for his appearance. Ian Mckellen further cements himself in the role of Gandalf and never again will I be able to read the books without imagining his voice and likness in the role of Mithrandir
The Hobbit is a brilliant, well paced film showing us that PJ is the right man to handle this film. I would heartily recommend it to anyone, and please don't robb yourself of the chance to see what 3D really was made for. I plan to see it again, simply because there is so much detail in there.
Overall score 8/10 (btw filler material from the LOTR appendices was brilliant!)
Edit: It appears I have made a mistake, Conan Stevens is not playing Azog but his son Bolg who has not yet appeared. Azog is played by Manu Bennet. -- Edited by Aegon the Conqueror on Wednesday 12th of December 2012 03:47:57 PM
-- Edited by Aegon the Conqueror on Wednesday 12th of December 2012 03:53:17 PM
AS private parts we are to the gods, they play with us for their sport.
Still can't wait to see it, your Grace. Is Haldir (sp?) the elf that got killed in Two Towers in it? He was my fav.
“You’re a fool if you thought you were ever rid of Eddard Stark and Stannis Baratheon. They were Robert’s men and even in Robert’s death, they will avenge him. Stannis for the sake of the family name, and Ned for the sake of a friend’s memory.”
"Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld so I can sigh eternally"
This is all i'm gonna say about the hobbit movie until everyone's seen it:
First the good:It's so nice to be back in Middle Earth, the place is so wonderful and magical, and it's been too long.I loved the performances, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and surprisingly Richard Armitage brought soul and heart to their roles, and oddly enough I loved these more than any of the special effects in the feature. Oh, and lets not forget Andy Serkis, I could watch his Gollum/Smeagol bit for days and not get bored, a true highlight of the film.The film looked GORGEOUS, I didn't see it in HFR/3D, but the all digital projection was a sight and such a pleasure to soak in.Howard Shores SCORE! Loved, loved, loved it! Bought the score the moment I got home!The Not-so good:I did feel the languid pace, Peter Jackson has always been tended to bloat his running times, and it always seems the more successfull the film maker, the more their weaknesses go unchecked. Some tighter editing wouldve helped immensely and I am still not sold that they blew up the tiny book into a 9 hour trilogy for "artistic" rather financial reasons.The over reliance of CG for the enemies, not that they looked poor, quality wise they were fine, but I miss the wonderful costumes and make-up from the first trilogy. And I am sorry, Azog did not work as a villian for me, and his CGI silly putty look did not help.Maybe my current impressions are clouded by incredibly high expectations, I always will watch a film like this a second time to find my true opinion of it then.
"Robert was never the same after he put on that crown. Some men are like swords, made for fighting. Hang them up and they go to rust.” -DN
"Loyalty, honour and a willing heart. I shall ask no more of you" - Thorin Oakenshield
Mags Giantsbabe wrote:Ricgard Armitage is one handsome devil. I never expected someone like him to be casted in such a role. I'm sure he will own the role by the third film. Nice review Aegon, agree pretty much with everything, and thanks for seeing it with us :) I'm seeing it again tomorrow.
Ricgard Armitage is one handsome devil. I never expected someone like him to be casted in such a role. I'm sure he will own the role by the third film. Nice review Aegon, agree pretty much with everything, and thanks for seeing it with us :) I'm seeing it again tomorrow.
Armitage as Thorin is a beauty imo, as well, Mags, yum!
"There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man"
"King Stannis is my god."
The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise. - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Aegon the Conqueror wrote:BAS you forgot to say "damn you Del Torro!"
BAS you forgot to say "damn you Del Torro!"
DAMN YOU DEL TORRO!!!!
By the way, your review was excellent. It didn't leave much for me to add. So maybe my enjoyment of the movie didn't come across. I really loved this film. Oh, and Armitage was perfection.