Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

There's no small irony that the one thing that makes The Hobbit less than the sum of it's parts are the portions added on to tie it more closely to The Lord of The Rings.  Taken as an adventure on its' own merits, it would make a wonderful film to while away the evening.  But the sad truth is that the first hour drags a bit.

That being said, is The Hobbit a bad film?  Not at all!  While it is slow to start, it's quite the treat once the quest gets started and things get moving.  And while the flashback/flash forward of the elder Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) thinking back on his adventures as he starts to write his book and the conversation with his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood) do delay the opening, they are well-shot, well-written and well-acted. 

There's a middle portion that drags as well, where Gandalf (Ian McKellen) seeks the counsel of Lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and suddenly finds himself being questioned by both the Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Saurman (Christopher Lee) about his participation in his current quest.  These scenes feel like what they are - filler to justify the cameos of all the big-name actors that were part of the original trilogy's cast.  Again, they are well-shot, well-written and well-played... but one wonders how necessary they were.

Perhaps it's silly of me to complain that the only flaw of a good movie is that there is too much of it.  But I can't grouse too much as that is my only complaint.  The ensemble cast is amazing, though you'll never be able to tell the dwarves apart without a score-card.  Martin Freeman - who seems to have been eternally typecast as the everyman whose life is upended by the extraordinary- is a perfect Bilbo Baggins.  And Sylvester McCoy steals every scene he's in as Radagast The Brown.  Though The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey may go down as proof that there can be too much of a good thing, it is still a wonder to behold.  Just don't have a big meal before hand and make sure you use the bathroom first.   

No comments:

Post a Comment