Thursday, December 20, 2012

Episode 1550: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Just got back from seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and I liked it well enough. I actually have yet to see all three films of The Lord Of The Rings, despite owning the extended editions on DVD for a couple of years now, but I did see enough of it here and there to note that this first film of the prequel trilogy (yes, I think three is pretty excessive for an adaptation of The Hobbit) is quite shameless about re-presenting moments from the earlier trilogy. Think perilous scene on a mountainside, the One Ring twirling in mid-air to land on a hobbit's finger, summoning of giant eagles, etc. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it means that visually speaking, there's a big sense of been-there-done-that. There's a good post up at Sidekick Books by Andrea, discussing what's fundamentally missing from Peter Jackson's film adaptations, although part of me also feels like expecting anything more than explosions and CGI from what was always going to end up as a blockbuster, source material notwithstanding, is perhaps being overly optimistic to begin with. I don't actually have an issue with the bloated running time of the film, since it was partly down to interpolating material from Tolkien's wider mythos. In a way, this new trilogy is going to share the same fate as that of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, since they both have to tell stories that already have larger narrative endgames in mind. It's just what happens when you decide to make prequels. What I kind of didn't like was the great pains An Unexpected Journey took to connect itself to the events that kicked off The Fellowship Of The Ring. I'm not sure if this could've been done more subtly, to be honest. Ah well. There's still two more films to go, and at least Martin Freeman is actually likeable as Bilbo. The dwarves, on the other hand, are largely interchangeable, if you ask me.

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