I also watched The Hobbit over Christmas (in 2D, if that makes any difference).
And I feel like I'd be doing this blog and myself an injustice if I didn't talk about it here so...
Click the cut for some rather unstructured rambling, complete with possible spoilers.
Right, so, can I just say that I've embarked on a massive Tolkien bender since watching the new film? Because, aah! It's so much fun to jump into it again.
But. First things first. Back to the film.
Overall, the film was fun and I enjoyed it a lot. But. I'd use one word to describe it, and that word is indulgent.
Do you remember back when we heard they were turning the already confusingly two films of The Hobbit into three? Do you remember? And we all said. But that's mad! There's just about enough material in that book for one film, not three!
Guys, we were right. I got the same feeling from this film that I got when I watched the trailers and the 'making of' teaser videos. And that is that The Lord of the Rings films were so successful that Peter Jackson and co have decided to rest on their laurels. They knew that The Hobbit films would be popular and so they made them exactly as they wanted, without worrying too much about how it comes across to the paying audience.
Hear me out though. I'm not saying that The Hobbit is bad. There's not any part of it that's sloppy or poorly done. Money and talent and buckets of enthusiasm have been thrown at it and it shows. So it's not bad, no, but what it is, is indulgent.
What this means in real terms is that when you're watching the film, you're already (what feels like) an hour in and they're still in bloody Bag End! It means that about 15 minutes are given over to the plight of a sick hedgehog! Peter Jackson, PJ, man, is this really a thing that we need to be watching? A hedgehog? Really? Really?
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, hedgehog and all. But then, I am already a major fan. What I'm worried about is that someone who is only just coming to the stories for the first time may be less lenient.
I just get the feeling that the crew and the cast were having so much fun that they kinda forgot about the basics of pacing and 'telling a story' and that the film suffers for it. Sorry, PJ.
My disclaimer here is that I've never been so keen on The Hobbit as a book because it has always struck me as a little silly against Tolkien's other stuff. So I may be biased. Also, I've not read the book in years, and there may well be hedgehogs in there that I've just forgotten.
Right! That's all the negative stuff out of the way. Is it time for me to gush forth praise now? Because I did enjoy it. I'm already a massive Tolkien fan so I was quite willing to lap up every moment of the film, indulgent or no.
And, God, watching the film is like slipping on an old, comfortable pair of slippers. It's everything you expect it to be. It's Middle Earth, right there through your eyeholes and earholes, again. I didn't even realise how much I'd enjoyed getting back into it until I found myself unreasonably happy for the entirety of the next few days.
The best part is that the continuity with the previous Lord of the Rings films is superb. They look the same, they sound the same and (aside from an extra bit of humour, which is to be expected from the both the source material and Martin Freeman) they feel the same. If you enjoyed the old films back in the day you will enjoy the new film now. I guarantee it.
That's enough coherent prose. It's been almost a couple of weeks since I've seen it, so I'm going to bullet point the rest of the stuff I can remember.
- Well done to the cast. Martin Freeman, despite once again seeming to play the same character that he always does, came across very well. If I've not praised the man's comic timing before, I'll do it here. Martin Freeman has a knack for humour and it works very well in this film. Another special mention goes to Ian McKellen who is just great as Gandalf. He's so twinkly and mysterious that I had a great urge to hug him and had to restrain myself from running up and cuddling the screen.
- I spent most of the film thinking, 'Do I know that actor?' about almost all the characters. It was only at the end and after a quick Google that I discovered some of them were played by Sylvester McCoy and Barry Humphries (who was really good in the film, btw). Also, I am ashamed that it took me 3/4 of the film to work out which dwarf was played by James Nesbitt.
- Lisa, who I watched the film with, admitted to being a big fan of Kili (as is half of the internet, apparently). Personally, on the dwarvish dish-o-meter, I preferred Thorin with his distinguished hair and mournful longing for the home of his forefathers (as do the other half of the internet, apparently). Clearly, we were are loggerheads on that one. I also managed to stun Lisa into silence by stating that I was rather fond of Azog, the big badguy. I know. But there's just something compelling about his makeup!
- A massive round of applause needs to go to Andy Serkis and the rest of the team that make Gollum. Because the part with Gollum was hands down the best part of the whole film. It was creepy and funny and almost cute in places. A joy to watch.
- Oh God, and when we see the ring for the first time and then the ring's theme tune starts up... I got chills. It was very well done.
- THRANDUIL RIDES ON A STAG. IT'S A STAG HE'S ON A STAG. Oh, man, I don't know if that's funny or amazing. All characters who ride on stags are automatically BAMFs; that's a fact. I found myself thinking: Muzzlehatch, is that you? But Thranduil wasn't riding the stag naked, which was a shame.
- More internal screaming happened when they reached Rivendell. I was just thinking 'hay, that elf is rather...' and then the penny dropped. 'OMG it's Figwit, isn't it? It's actually Figwit! They've actually gone and done it!' What a lovely nod to a crazy part of the fandom from 10 years ago. I could hardly concentrate on the rest of Rivendell afterwards. Figwit is always the best elf, especially when he pretends he's a kiwi and does singing. If only Jemaine could be an elf too. Oh, and apparently Figwit has an actual name now, which is Lindir or something. w/e
- So, the film was super enjoyable and the folks down in New Zealand are clearly still well up for it. Does this mean they're going to make a film of The Silmarillion at some point too? It wouldn't be easy to put a plot together out of all of it but, by God, it would be pretty. So pretty. I just want to see a film Fëanor. Is that too much to ask? Is it?
- And it's so nice to see the rest of the internet excited about this stuff again. The amount of good fanart that is being pumped out is amazing. I just want to wallow in it and pretend it's the year 2000 again (only with even better and prettier Silmarillion fanart) :D :D :D As soon as I take a crash course to remind myself who's who and what it's all about again (because I used to be super-nerdy with all this stuff and but have forgotten tonnes of it) I'll be out there getting excited with the rest of them.
- Incoherent screaming.
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