Date Posted: 2012-12-14
Tolkien Fan Level: 10
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
If misstepping were an aerobic exercise, Peter Jackson would be in excellent shape. Although I had the highest hopes for this return to Middle-earth, I am sorry to say that it suffers from many serious problems (in spite of some wonderful moments along the way). The bad outweighs the good by far: (1) The editing is inept; the movie lacks coherence, slogging from one bloated action extravaganza to another; (2) the tone is uneven; by trying to link too obviously to the Lord of the Rings films, PJ strains to blend dark undertones with the silly fairy-tale elements characteristic of the book. the result is forced and emotionally unsatisfying; this film needed a much lighter touch and a deft hand;(3) there was too much irrelevant padding that just made no sense: what is Radagast doing on the western side of the Misty Mountains? Even Gandalf asks him this? ReallY? he drove his silly bunny-sled there to somehow find Gandalf and report portentously on the Necromancer? Azog and his quest to behead Thorin was completely unnecessary. It failed to ramp up any tension, and seemed to serve only to fill up space and time. Just make two films instead of three! The White Council makes sense only in the context of the dark hints about the Necromancer. At best, this belongs in the next film (along with Radagast), once the company gets to Mirkwood and Gandalf leaves them; (4) the musical score was much too bombastic (appropriate perhaps only because the action is so overblown), and it was too recycled from LotR. This is another result of trying to link the two film series too overtly; (5) the 3D HFR was spectacular, but I don't see how it served the storytelling at all. Spectacle is not a substitute for character development and emotional resonance. Overall, I can envision a decent film coming out of what's there; but PJ needs to hire someone to say "no" to him, so as to rein in his excesses. He's forgotten all the restraint that led to compelling storytelling in LotR. My overriding impression is that this film was released before it was ready. It seems like a rough cut, not a well constructed film. Peter Jackson has a year to try to fix all this sort of thing in the second film. Hope springs eternal.
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