The Hobbled Hobbit

The Hobbit
The Hobbit

Millions will be running out Thursday night and all weekend to catch the midnight showing of The Hobbit. I will not be one of them. The highly produced, much anticipated series prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy is not holding my fancy as a must watch movie of the holiday season. Not because there are other movies I’d rather see, or other things I’d rather do, but I just have no interest in seeing this movie, or the next two scheduled to be released over the next two years. I wish that I had an excuse of, ‘this type of genre of movie is not my cup of tea,’ but that wouldn’t be true. My issues lay with the filmmaker and his previous films, specifically the aforementioned Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unlike a good portion of our population, I was severely disappointed watching the first trilogy so much so that it left a distaste for any related fantasy epics by Peter Jackson. I can’t see any scenario where this new trilogy will change the tide.

When the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released I like many across the country went out for the midnight premiere. While many anticipated the movie, the same crowd probably anticipated the sequel. I wasn’t as thrilled to finally have a feature length version of the Lord of the Rings. A good movie I was expecting, but I didn’t get the pleasure. So much plot and information was jammed into the first part that it was almost impossible to keep up. Followed up with characters who’s back-story had been poorly fleshed out and culminating to an end of the film to where the only resolution requires you to watch the second film. A common response I hear to the criticism is, “you have to read the book.” Well reading a book, or watching another movie shouldn’t be a prerequisite in order for me to enjoy a movie.

So with characters I did not bond with, it was hard to root for them. With a story-line that’s hard to keep track of, I only knew that they had to get a special ring somewhere, but who knows where or why it had to get there. But at the end of the movie (the first movie) they didn’t get there and it ended up with two of the protagonists almost dying trying to get across a river. No conflict resolution at all. So the filmmaker then thrust us into the second film to try to figure this all out. But much less was explained, and instead we just got more action and characters, neither of whom made much sense. So after being disgruntled from the first movie, and the second movie, The Two Towers, failing to impress me any further, I did not see a point in watching the third and final installment. Why should I bother with a whole new let down.

Not for nothin’ but bigger doesn’t mean better. In 2001 a grand production was made after a lot of money was given to a filmmaker who’s previous biggest hit in writing and directing was The Freighteners. I’m all about epic fantasy films. I also think adaptations are a good idea too. But not everything translates well. There’s a reason why filmmakers have certain liberties when basing a film from another source. Everyone can agree that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was written to precisely follow the book. Good books, don’t necessarily make good movies. We hear the line all the time, “the book was better” when comparing a movie to it’s literary counterpart. In this case, and both cases of Peter Jackson’s J.R. Tolkien adaptations, that is absolutely true.

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