Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) - Review

I'm about to reveal something that's going to completely destroy what little nerd cred I have:  I don't like The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I really don't.  I haven't read the books, and don't really intend to, but I find the movies incredibly dull.  They're overlong, the mythos isn't interesting, and they couldn't be more bland and unengaging.  But, against my better judgment, I went to see the first installment of the (somehow) new trilogy The Hobbit, and needless to say, I was less than impressed.

Okay, good things first: the Gollum scene is mesmerizing.  Gollum is the single interesting character in LotR and his little amount of screentime is used brilliantly.  Though his appearance comes towards the end of the film, it's easily the highlight of the weighty near three hour running time.  Secondly, Martin Freeman is solid as Bilbo.  That isn't saying a lot since Elijah Wood and Sean Astin were both great in LotR, but it's a start.

And that's where the good times end.  The rest of the film is filled to the brink with dumb Dwarf gags, out of place traditional songs, incredibly standard walk then fight, walk then fight story structure, and unbearably one-dimensional characters (the fantastic Gollum notwithstanding).  Given how ungodly long this film is, all of these flaws add up quickly and make the movie seem even more mired in unnecessary tripe than it already is.  Entire segments could have been cut out without affecting the paper-thin plot.  That's not good storytelling.  It's fine to have tangents; in fact, many filmmakers use them to great effect all the time.  But when the tangent adds absolutely nothing to the film, not in story, not in tone, not in atmosphere, not even in memorability, then it's truly a worthless segment.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey feels like a whole film full of little worthless segments.  But I guess that's what I get for seeing a fourth movie in a series I loathe.

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