The Trilogized Hobbit

Hobbit Movie Poster BilboWe were glad when The Hobbit was rescued from the hands of Guillermo del Toro and returned safely to the trustworthy Peter Jackson.

We were glad when we learned that our favorites from The Lord of the Rings movies would be returning to play Gandalf and Gollum and even Frodo.

And we were delighted to make the acquaintance of Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson… I mean Bilbo Baggins. A perfect hobbit he seems to be.

But we were stunned to hear that the story would be spread over three films, and further surprised to see that the first, no doubt foretelling the whole, was to be nearly three hours long.

Nevertheless, we dutifully bought our tickets and watched the movie, and indeed we were entertained. Freeman’s Bilbo is perfect. The fairy-tale and comic opening scenes delightful. The dark brooding and therefore foreshadowing of Thorin’s passion proper. I sat through a three hour movie and only a time or two wondered how much time was left. And I’ll most likely suck it up (and cave into Jackson’s money grab) and pay to see the remaining two films.

But I am begrudgingly saying that the movie was good. Much of it was very good. And yet I often thought during the movie of the advice to writers (which I first read from Stephen King): “kill your darlings”. Just because you have a great idea or a great line or a great turn of phrase, or in this case, a great scene or a great visual effect, does not mean you should use it. However, in King’s case, and now in Jackson’s, they are both so big and their resumes so overwhelming that no editor has the courage to make them kill their darlings. So everything goes in and it is not all good.

In the case of The Hobbit, all the essential encounters of the first three books – oops, I mean book – are there. But they are too much there. The scenes of peril are so contrived that even our fantasy-softened reality expectations are shattered. That a group of 14 could battle their way through a goblin infested mountain, falling multiple times many stories, and all of them emerge unscathed makes a Mission Impossible movie look believable.

A wee bit of restraint would have made the movie far better. We hope for better. As Bilbo says at the end of this installment, “Well, I think the worst is behind us.” Yes, Bilbo, I hope you are right.

3 thoughts on “The Trilogized Hobbit

  1. Gail Brightbill

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. At one point in the movie I traitorously toyed with the idea of leaving the movie early, but being the loyal hobbit fan that I am, I soon quashed my fool hardy thought. Freeman is perfect for the part of Bilbo and it was good to see old friends from the past.

  2. You said what I felt. I loved the movie, except for the horribly long goblin and orc scenes. I really enjoyed the ways they echoed and paid homage to the LOTR trilogy movies – but I already saw a company of companions fight their way out of The Mines of Moria, I didn’t need to see an extended remake featuring goblins! Casting was spot-on; my particular favorite is the actor who plays Thorin Oakenshield – don’t know who he is, but I LIKED him 🙂

  3. tulipgrrl

    We just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I both liked it and was disappointed. Thankful they kept a lot of the musical themes. Felt happy just hearing the opening score of the Shire music.

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