I finally got round to watching the Hobbit today. It’s been on Netflix a while, but I’ve not been able to set aside 3 hours to watch a film. Now I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t. How they’ve managed to stretch a children’s book to 9 hours of film is beyond me.
It started off okay. Then the Dwarves started singing. I know it’s in the book, but it was horrible and unnecessary. The whole film is a contraction of childish tomfoolery and high fantasy. You’ve got Dwarves threatening to “Kick his jacksy”, then asking “How came you by this?” within seconds of each other. The tone is all wrong, flip flopping throughout the film.
Martin Freeman as Bilbo is also disconcerting. I’ve got him typecast in my head as Tim from the office. I can’t take him seriously in anything. Which is a real shame, because his acting is splendid, both in The Hobbit and his other ‘serious’ ventures.
And there’s something off about the CGI. The opening scenes, with all of the falling gold and the dwarves wandering the wilderness, look ridiculous. Everything seems to glow around the edges and I don’t like it. The wide shots of vast open space also seem gratuitous. Tolkien’s world is expansive, but it doesn’t transfer well onto the screen here. I don’t know if I failed to suspend belief, or if the CGI makes it difficult to do so. Heaven knows what they’ve done to those poor horses to make them look like ponies, or why the dwarves look like they’re made of plasticine.
Having said that, there are some splendid moments. The ‘stormy Gandalf’ effect is as impressive as it ever was and the flashback narration is pretty well done.
Unfortunately, the pace, odd directorial choices, and unnecessary tomfoolery spoil the whole affair. It feels like a terrible money grab following the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I could go on, but it’s no good for my blood pressure.