Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit Review: Great Expectations

               The famous Dickens book Great Expectations is quite good.  Possessing great expectation for something, on the other hand, can lead to great disappointment or great reward (a theme in Great Expectations, go figure).  There is no doubt that Peter Jackson's journey back into Middle Earth carries the burden of great anticipation and the weight of, well a ring.  There are not enough positive adjectives to describe the sheer brilliance of his Lord of the Rings interpretation. However, there are not words to describe how misguided Jackson's King Kong film was. Thus, when  approaching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I tried my best to taper my high expectations.  I knew The Hobbit to be a simpler, less apocalyptic story than The Lord of the Rings, but couldn't help but revel in some of the near-nostalgic hype of a new Tolkien movie.
                How then, was the first in the three Hobbit movies?  Well, it's hard to fully answer the question.  Peter Jackson pulled a King Kong in the first 35 minutes (aka he left in unnecessary things that should have just been cut).  I kept wanting to steal Sting from Bilbo and use the blue blade to slice at several scenes.  It took a bit of time to fall into the story because of the first chunk of the movie.  Once I did, I was able to appreciate Thorin the almost Dwarf King (Richard Armitage) and the battles with talking trolls, goblins, and the like.  I wasn't a huge fan of Thorin's almost comical foe The White Orc.  Still, I enjoyed Martin Freeman's hesitant but ultimately brave Bilbo and was grateful to see more of the Middle Earth (and let's face it New Zealand) that I've come to love.  Setting itself up for a battle with a dragon, the possible emergence of a necromancer, and the annoyingly stupid White Orc, The Hobbit featured the truly creepy and inevitable riddles game between Gollum and Bilbo and let us peak into the pre-Rings lives of Gandulf, Bilbo, Elrond, and Galadriel.

             So then, how was the movie?  I still haven't answered the question.  It wasn't the same as the Lord of the Rings.  It isn't the same story though, so really that isn't a fair assessment.  It was entertaining, and featured some lovable dwarfs, wizards, and of course, a hobbit.  With a childlike plot (not necessarily bad, just different), The Hobbit was, by itself, a good film.  Was it great?  No.  Am I still excited about the next two films and incredibly annoyed to wait a year for the second film?  Absolutely.  In fact, I'd say I have rather high expectations for the next films, and only a little trepidation.  After all, to quote Bilbo in the end of the first film.  "I do believe the worst is behind us."  The Hobbit wasn't the worst.  It just wasn't the Lord of the Rings, and could stand to lose 30 minutes, and gain a more interesting villain. From the set up for the next film, it would seem that the stakes are raised and the story will be more action-driven in the sequel. I for one, will still be back next December for another journey.  May it be as worthy of great expectations as Lord of the Rings.

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