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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Date Posted: 2013-02-23
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No

The Hobbit movie was rather disappointing for me. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was still hoping to see a nice film. True, compared to other movies currently in cinemas, The Hobbit was fairly good, but it has one substantial flaw – it is in no way ‘Tolkien’; thus calling the movie the same as the book is rather far-fetched in my opinion.

I don’t mind movies not being carbon copies of their respective books; but I do mind when the tone of the narrative is deformed, when morals are absent (save a few exceptions), and I mind characterisation distortions that lead to illogiocalities in the storyline.

The level of vulgarity is also unacceptable; it’s there perhaps to make the movie appealing to modern audience. Gone is what is typical for Tolkien’s tales – nobility, manners, gentle humour, and a strong moral message. In the movie, these are substituted by crude earthiness provided by Mr. Jackson and his scriptwriters. Gentle and light humour is substituted by incivility and grossness. I only liked a few scenes in the movie: the prologue with the Shire and Erebor, Elrond and Lindir in Rivendell, the scenes with Gollum, and Bilbo’s pity for Gollum.
The Unexpected Party scene was utterly destroyed for me. The Dwarves were portrayed as boorish hooligans of appalling visage (what difference is there between Dwalin and a corsair of Umbar?) who made me almost nauseous at times (burping – Mr. Jackson seems to have a special fondness for this kind of ‘table manners’; unfortunately this does not fit with the book quote ‘At your service’ at all.) Another stomach-churning scene for me was the troll scene – the three trolls were just repulsive, as was the snot-covered Bilbo (or should I say Mr. Freeman – I don’t see much of book-Bilbo in him).

Sadly, the three main characters did not resemble their book counterparts at all. Movie-Bilbo lacks eagerness, inquisitiveness, warmth, kindness and politeness. Movie-Gandalf lacks wisdom (he’s a Maia!), nobility, warmth and wit. Movie-Thorin is portrayed as a noble hero who only longs for his home instead of gold, unlike his book counterpart who is relatable and for me likeable in his imperfectness.

All Radagast scenes were plain ridiculous. Poor Radagast. I was also bothered by all of the Azog scenes, not as much because he has no place in the story, as because he resembles Lord Voldemort quite a bit. He didn’t look scary either, but actually rather ridiculous, as did the Great Goblin and all Goblin Town scenes: those were bordering on old slapstick movies. If I wish to see Tolkienesque Orcs, I prefer watching Bakshi’s take on them: it’s nice to see orcs and goblins who resemble people, wear clothes, and sing war songs, instead of squawking like animals.

The eagle scene was spoiled for me by Azog and his liger showing up yet again, and by the eagles’ presence being unexplained. Why couldn’t they have spoken as they did in the book, and explain that the Misty Mountains are their home? In place of that, we were offered the old overused moth yet again. And then there was Thorin almost getting killed by Azog, who after a while gets up sporting hardly a scratch… His healing by Gandalf unpleasantly reminds me of the scene in RotK after Pippin looks into the palantir. Then there was Mr. Freeman who apparently doesn’t get scared by anything, and Azog can be grateful to have escaped unscathed. That at least was the impression I got. The bittersweet, exaggerated final scene topped it all: all the worse because of the underlining Destruction of the Ring music. To choose this particular tune for the journey of Dwarves reclaiming their home and gold, and the miraculous newfound camaraderie between Thorin and Bilbo, sounds highly inappropriate to me – one cannot equal their story to that of the Ringbearers.

The Ratings
The Other Ratings
Martin Freeman 's performance as Bilbo Baggins?
Richard Armitage 's performance as Thorin?
The Overall representation of The Dwarves ?
Andy Serkis' performance as Gollum?
Ian McKellen's performance as Gandalf?
Bilbo's retelling of the history of Erebor and of Thror/Thrain/Thorin
The Eagles rescue sequence?
The Goblin King ?
Initial impression of Thranduil?
Hugo Weaving's performance as Elrond?
Radagast's portrayal in the movie?
The representation of Goblintown?
Cate Blanchett's performance as Galadriel?
The Bag End Supper scene?
The scene of the Trolls?
The representation of the Arkenstone?
The Stone Giants?
Escape from the Goblin cave?
Riddles in the Dark scene?
The return to Rivendell?
The attack on the party by the Wargs
The first glimpses of Smaug?
The ending of the movie; in regards to leading well into the next film, and serving as a good ending point.
The overall pace of the film
Peter Jackson's vision in bringing the Hobbit to the big screen.

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