Films and That: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Alright, before I get cracking with this review it should be said: I’m not a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. I’ve never been able to read the books (despite multiple attempts) and I’ve only ever been able to sit through each film once. It’s not that I think they’re bad, they’re just not my cup of tea. But I read The Hobbit when I was little and loved it (God, I’m really fickle when I stop to think about it) so I approached this with some hope.

And… well, my thoughts are mixed. Again, this is not a bad film, not by any stretch of the imagination. I honestly think there is an absolutely fantastic two film in here somewhere. Sadly, this is a three hour film.

Apparently it was originally only supposed to be two films, but you know what film producers are like when they can smell a quick buck to be made and sure enough, here we are at the start of a trilogy. When the original LotR saga was three parts that made sense since, you know, it was actually in three fucking parts to begin with. When the last Harry Potter was split in two, that actually made sense since every film after “Goblet of Fire” could have done with being split in two, there was just too much story. But now, they just do it to make more money, It’s obvious, desperate and it makes the films worse. Plus, it inflicted even more Twilight on the world, and for that there is no defence.

Yeah, so that’s my big thought on this film. WAY TOO LONG AND SLOW. Every single sequence could do with about 10 mins being shaved off it. I mean, they’re sitting around chatting in Bag End for about half an hour! Half a bloody hour saying “There’s a dragon, it took our home, let’s go kill it.”!

And it’s so frustrating since there’s so much done right. All the action sequences (most of them flashbacks, but there’s a great bit with a couple of fighting mountains which…. makes sense in context) are done amazingly and really pick up the film when they arrive. And obviously, as with the first trilogy, the scenery is still jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Then there’s the acting which is always flawless, not particularly surprising when you consider the cast. It’s ridiculous that I’ve seen Martin Freeman in so much stuff, each time he’s turned in essentially the same performance whether he’s an office worker in Slough, a sidekick of a famous sleuth or a bloody hobbit, and yet I still adore him. Very strange.

But I really do think that maybe, as someone who’s not especially enamoured with the Middle Earth thing, I’m not the target audience for this. I have friends who were practically jizzing themselves about the whole thing, so I’m sure the thrill of seeing all the old characters and locations is more than enough compensation of the slow pace.

The big signpost for me for that thought is Gollum. I bloody love Gollum(/Smeagol). Andy Serkis is beyond amazing, the CGI is fantastic and just the character itself is so well thought up and then executed, there’s no way you can’t adore him. And when the big scene between him and Bilbo is going on, I wasn’t bored. I knew full well it was WAY too long, as with the rest of the film, but I didn’t care, because the longer the scene went on, the more Gollum I had. And that’s the way I reckon fans will see it, except extrapolated to everything in the damn film.

So I have two conclusions to this review. If you’re not that fussed about the whole she-bang, then yeah, it’s OK. Good fun, but prepare to have to walk around a lot afterwards to un-numb your buttcheeks. If you’re a “Rings” fan (LOL) then you’re going to BLOODY LOVE IT, but if you have any critical skills at all, you’ll also realise it could do with quite a bit edited out.

So, if you don’t particularly like J.R.R.:

But if you wank off thinking about Orcs:

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About rmdbutler

2007 Brit Award nominee for Best International Female
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