Guest Blogger Joseph Batcagan Reviews 'The Hobbit'

Dec 18, 2012 by

The Hobbit has Unexpectedly Regressed

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You do have to admire Hollywood’s propensity for milking a beloved franchise for all its worth. Unfortunately, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has become the latest victim in its bid to rob Middle-Earth of its soul. Yes, this may be the nerd in me talking, but if it wasn’t for the fact that the three films which preceded The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey still hold up more than a decade after The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring initially came out, then the product would have been more disappointing.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the stuff of cinematic legend befitting of its source material: overbudgeted and underplanned, the saving grace of the film was Peter Jackson—who was then largely unproven as a box-office draw—and his eff-it insistence in finishing the film up to the very end, no matter the costs (and make no mistake, they were costly). It also doesn’t help that the first film came head-to-head against the debuting Harry Potter film franchise in 2001, ensuring that the next two films will be dead in the water come next year. Of course, that didn’t happen: it was a smashing success, proving to Hollywood that there’s an existing market for filmic serial fantasy epics.

And here we are now, more than ten years later. The LOTR template was so successful that almost every movie franchise utilized this with varying degrees of success: Spider Man, Transformers, The Pirates of the Caribbean, and many more of its bloated ilk. It’s not coincidental that Peter Jackson et al —along with the help of Guillermo del Toro’s pen—finally came in and tried reining the monster they created in the first place.  Unfortunately, they now have completely lost control of it.

Let’s start with the most obvious fault: The Hobbit isn’t that terribly long; it doesn’t span even more than 400 pages; and lastly, it’s a book drawn in the vein of classic children’s fairy-tales. It certainly takes a lot of creativity to stretch a short book into three 150 -minute films, but that doesn’t mean the results will turn out great. Secondly, it seems like the film doesn’t know what “kind” of epic it wants to be: it starts off with a somber and serious retelling of how the party of Dwarves lost their home under the mountain to an Orcs-and–Dragon attack combo (and even then, it felt unnecessarily long); less than twenty minutes later, we’re suddenly treated to a screwball comedy concerning Bilbo (Martin Freeman) unsuccessfully trying to impose his polite country manners to Thorin Oakenshield’s (Richard Armitage, looking diminutively Aragorn-like) rowdy band of Dwarves . Combine this with the frequent pans, zooms, and craning shots which are even more abused than the whole LOTR trilogy combined, and you’ve got a schizophrenic experience that can only be rivaled by how Gollum feels on his wet hole in the ground.

Even when you have no knowledge of the book in question, it’s obvious how com – official web : explains how Omacor works, how omacor is different, etcOmacor Prescribing informationOmacor general informationSearch scientific papers on OmacorPravachol (pravastatin sodium;Bristol-Myers Squibb)- statin; HMG-COA reductase inhibitorPrescribing Info medline searchGeneral InformationCompare Prices Questran Light (Cholestyramine Resin; Bristol-Myers Squibb)- bile acid sequestrantPrescribing Info  medline searchGeneral InformationCompare PricesTricor (fenofibrate capsules; Abbott); – fibrate; generic availableTricor Official Web Prescribing Infomedline searchGeneral InformationCompare Tricor Prices  Vytorin (combination of simvistatin + ezetimibe; Merck, Schering Plough)statin + absorption inhibitorVytorin is an interesting drug because it is composed of two medicines mixed into the same pill. the film pads its paper-thin plot with flashbacks, backstories, and expositions galore—most of which can be even explained in two short statements, at most. The LOTR trilogy may have been long, but at least it knew enough to restrain from glorifying nostalgia and focusing its energies to the present-day events at hand; The Hobbit feels like it’s celebrating the past, although this is certainly not its intention.

But still, a Tolkienite just can’t hate this film through and through: it’s really neat to finally see Rivendell through a 3D perspective, for one. And as always, the film does its darndest to act as one long tourism ad for New Zealand. Some set-pieces, on the other hand, are so flat-out ridiculous that it makes you wonder why Jackson wasn’t this self-aware before on his previous films: when The Great Goblin (Barry Humphries) dares Thorin to cut off his double-chin of a ballsac (yes, seriously) just as he was about to be dealt with the penultimate death-blow, he just echoed what everyone else in the theater was unconsciously thinking throughout the whole fight—the sort of levity another “epic” seriously needs before it ends on another cliffhanger.

The technology may have improved after a decade, but Jackson’s storytelling regressed so far back that it unintentionally mimicked every stuffy movie “trilogy” which came after his landmark trilogy.  This is precisely the sort of thing that The Hobbit is not. Even if you haven’t read the book, the film is supposed to be a lighthearted adventure through Middle-Earth; if people wanted more serious fare, then they can always go back to The Lord of the Rings.Fortunately, they’ve casted the right lead for the role of Bilbo: Martin Freeman, who is almost always perfect at playing the bemused Everyman, from 2005’s The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy right to his recurring role as ‘Watson’ in BBC’s Sherlock, so all hope isn’t exactly lost yet.

Of course, the darkest moments are right before the dawn, so it’s not entirely foolish to hope for a better Hobbit follow-up to come out at about the same time next year. But as of now, consider this a more condensed alternative to WoW, The Witcher, Elder Scrolls, Dark Souls or any just about computer roleplaying game you’re readying to bunk in for the Holidays.

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