Some Thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Everyone is reviewing The Hobbit, and as much as we planned on reviewing it too – we think it would be more fun to break the traditional structure in favour of some cheeky little bullet points about what we liked and disliked about Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel. Aren’t we awful?

The Good

  • Sir Ian McKellen is allowed to free Gandalf from the shackles of Gandalf the White, resulting in a cheekier, saucier wizard. One sequence sees the Wizard give a naughty little wink to Galadriel, which is set to get some laughs. McKellen is truly the driving force of The Hobbit, whilst other elements may falter and disappoint, the actor remains a constant source of entertainment and gravitas.
  • Jackson’s direction sticks with the same aesthetic of the Lord of the Rings trilogy – something we were concerned would not happen if Guilmero Del Toro was directing. Locations, sets and characters feel completely consistent with the previous series – providing a nice companion piece.
  • Even the 2D screening captured the sheer visual splendor of Jackson’s epic – huge gaping rocky mountains look as crisp and clear as the shires of Hobbiton. This is a real visual delight.
  • It is a pleasure to be reunited with so many much-loved supporting characters from the series. Opening with Sir Ian Holm’s Bilbo and Elijah Wood as Frodo, is likely to bring a huge smile to your face – one cannot deny audiences were hungry for more of them after Jackson’s first trilogy had finished. Reunions with Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel and Hugo Weaving also provide some nostalgic value.
  • However, none of these reappearances were as welcome as Sir Christopher Lee as Saruman. We’ve been desperate to see more of the character since his scenes were unjustly cut from the theatrical release of Return of the King. Lee fits back into the role with ease, remaining a truly commanding screen presence at the age of ninety – we hope we will be seeing plenty more of the character throughout the remaining entries.
  • Sylvester McCoy’s comeback! Sylvester McCoy will always be the most underrated Doctor Who, so it was a sheer delight to see that the actor landed a three-film part in Jackson’s epic, as another dirty wizard. McCoy literally does play a dirty wizard, so dirty in fact, that he has dried bird shit running down his face – we’re not sure if that was a necessary move from the creative team
  • Once again, Howard Shore’s soundtrack is a thing of beauty (see below).

The Bad

  • We don’t have anything in particular against dwarves – more so, with producers using them as comic fodder which always inherently fails. The Hobbit’s dwarves are only likely to provide viewers with a feeling of irateness as opposed to joy, with their burping, shouting and awful dialogue.
  • After being promised musical numbers in The Hobbit, we were excited with the prospect – Gandalf and Saruman doing a slutty, high-NRG Dirty Dancing routine to Time of My Life? Galadriel re-enacting Demi Moore’s Little Bird sequence from Striptease? Or maybe an older Bilbo belting out a heartfelt rendition of Samantha Fox’s Touch Me (I Want Your Body)? The possibilities were endless – our excitement came crashing down as we suffered under dwarf songs- from ballads about cleaning to torturous dwarf hymns. Not acceptable, Peter Jackson. Not acceptable at all.
  • Possibly the biggest problem with The Hobbit is just simply a lack of investment in the plot. It is a struggle to really care about a group of dwarves, that we have just been introduced to. They are not the most likeable characters, so again, that does not particularly help matters.
  • Many of the action scenes, whilst they do look terrific, lack the dramatic impact they should have. The Hobbit tries too hard to extend its’ run-time by any means necessary – queue irrelevant action scenes featuring trolls making broth. 

Overall Thoughts

The Hobbit is a well-made and entertaining trip back to a world that so many of us love. Jackson’s direction is packed with visual awe from capturing the splendor of the landscapes to the powerful scale of the battle sequences. However, The Hobbit is at its strongest when it reunites us with the iconic characters from the Lord of the Rings series – the characters we really want to see, not uninspired comic fodder dwarves. More slutty dance numbers for The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again please.

Rating: 3.5/5

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