The Hobbit: An Unexpected Letdown
The first installment of film ‚??The Hobbit‚?? camouflages itself deep within the placid darkness of ‚??The Lord of the Rings‚?? trilogy‚??s mountainous shadow.
If you read J.R.R Tolkien‚??s ‚??The Hobbit,‚?? Peter Jackson‚??s cinematic interpretation leaves much to be desired and will have you questioning what the hell he was thinking at times.
The novel itself is frivolous, good humored, and told in a colloquial fashion as if the reader was a child, sitting on Tolkien‚??s knee. And I understand that this was not as dark a story as the Lord of the Rings, but at its core, it still needed to coincide with Jackson‚??s three previous films. This wasn‚??t achieved.
For me it wasn‚??t one of those films that you got lost in. Instead of living vicariously through the characters, I couldn‚??t wait to get home and reread the novel to set everything right again. Frustratingly I could not help feeling that Jackson himself was confused where he wanted to go with the story.
(Spoilers in the following)
There were times where Jackson‚??s script followed too closely to the script, where the end product just didn‚??t translate fluid enough between mediums. The first interactions between Gandalf and Bilbo, the songs of the dwarves, and a few other scenes just felt too staged, for me, even though they were directly out of the book. But I cannot fault Jackson on these parts. I respect his intent to stay true to Tolkien‚??s words and so even though I am a little critical of these aspects in his film, I won‚??t let it bring me too down. After all, I was looking for perfection.
But since Jackson portrayed some scenes so similarly to the novel, it was even more flummoxing when he added completely new scenes and characters. It was as if the audience was being lead down a nicely defined trail and then Jackson took out a machete, started cutting, and in the end only achieved a massive detour. This happened a myriad of times and left me boiling.
There was absolutely no need to add the wizard Radagast into the story. I can think of no other excuse for the director than that he had some quizzical need to further establish that fact that this story preluded the LOTR trilogy. As if we already didn‚??t know! And the fact the Radagast was portrayed as this loony furry completely upended the intrinsic antiquity that was previously established in wizards like Gandalf and Saruman. Jackson could have cut out that whole spiel with Radagast, the stupid rabbit bobsled, and the Necromancer; the flick would have stayed linear, been terse, less confusing, and overall better.
The capricious conflict between Thorin and ‚??the Pale-Faced Goblin‚?? was farcical and selfish on Jackson‚??s part. Nowhere in Tolkien‚??s novel did this happen. Were trolls, wargs, goblins, giants, and Gollum not enough antagonists for him (let alone Smaug)? It seemed to me he was creating some sort of parallel with difference between this Pale-Faced Goblin and Lurtz from the Fellowship of the Ring. Pete, you didn‚??t need it; it wasn‚??t that cool; and you expounded upon a story that didn‚??t need any addition.
Now I‚??m a sucker for aesthetics. The LOTR trilogy was brilliant. Every character was expertly cast and I didn‚??t have any qualms. This was not the case in the first ‚??Hobbit‚?? film. I‚??m not going to break down each dwarf, but while reading the story I always pictured these guys as small, but dense and fierce (sort of like variations of Gimli). Maybe its ignorance on my part, but a bunch of dwarves who looked dissimilar and would not exactly inspire fear in an adversary, was not what I was hoping for.
I don‚??t want to know who had the bright idea of making the voices of the trolls and the goblin king sound like an eclectic group of Transformers, but they need to be admonished. I cringed when I heard Megatron talking to Bilbo. Megatron. Are you kidding me? Where was the ingenuity? And one of the trolls sounded like he was having his crotch vice gripped. I haven‚??t the faintness clue how the team of people who came up with the voice of the Nazgul, the Mouth of Sauron, Gollum, and Saruman got the voices in this flick so incredibly wrong.
The made-up sequence, right before the company arrived at Rivendell, where the dwarves (on foot) were being chased by wargs killed me. First of all, how the dwarves never got caught is beyond me. The wargs seemed to get lost in the labyrinth that was an open meadow. An open meadow. Then, if you look back on that scene, the company got chased through what looked to be parts of the Shire, Rohan, Mirkwood, and the Mines of Moria all in about 45 seconds. There was no continuity with the scenery. And those dwarves, who in Gimli‚??s own words ‚??were not meant for long distances,‚?? still didn‚??t get caught! There was also Elrond and the Elves riding, in what looked to be Rohan, to save the dwarves. Not in the book. Not needed. Finally Gandalf and the dwar