The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: More Melodramatic Than a Mexican Soap Opera

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: More Melodramatic Than a Mexican Soap Opera

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is part one of Peter Jackson's prelude to The Lord of the Rings. J. R. R. Tolkien's modest book has been split into three movies, the last of which will premier in 2014. It's impossible to gauge at this point how well the trilogy will shape up, but this first installment is about as satisfying as a cross-country road trip that abruptly ends at the Conoco station five blocks down the road.

The key to enjoying it is not getting your hopes up too high (and skipping the 3-D).

You know the story: A young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) joins the great wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Thorin Oakenshield, king of the dwarves, and his 12 followers on a quest to retake Lonely Mountain from the slumbering dragon Smaug. Along the way, the party battles trolls, orcs, and goblins, eats kale with some elves, and is relentlessly hunted by Azog, the unimpressive Avatar-on-'roids-looking orc with a fork for an arm.

Sure, stretching one modest Tolkien book into three loooong films has its advantages: Gollum's introduction to the series becomes a triumph of creepiness and comedy, and Bilbo's courage and ingenuity is given time to develop within the cartoonish battle scenes that take place every half hour or so.

But the movie's flaws are plenty distracting. Gratuitous flashbacks and backstory kill the story's tension and narrative arc, and the film's sets are routinely outed as fakery by Jackson's high-speed filming technique. All three Hobbit films were shot in 3-D high-speed projection (48 frames per second instead of the standard 24). While this will eventually become the industry standard, right now it amounts to a lot of obvious movie sets, freakishly crisp backdrops, and long smoldering stares—all hallmark traits of campy Mexican soap operas.

"I do believe the worst is behind us," Bilbo remarks as An Unexpected Journey comes to an end. I certainly hope he's right. recommended

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Comments (11) RSS

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dwightmoodyforgetsthings 11
@10- You're confusing Galadriel (one of two significant female characters in the LoTR books, the other being Eowyn)with Arwen, who got a lot of extra material inserted in the movies.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on January 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 10
@6- Hence, the addition of Galadriel by Mr Jackson, not to mention the many other plot liberties taken that never existed in the book. The LOTR series was completely true to the author- why he deviated here can only be explained by hunger for $'s.
Disappointing that, but otherwise I was left wondering if Cienna and I saw the same movie. I enjoyed my 2 hours' worth.
Posted by OutInBumF on January 3, 2013 at 11:23 PM · Report this
Big Matt G 9
@8) That's a pretty strong statement, dutchie! Is there any evidence that Mr. Tolkein was any more racist or sexist than any other Oxbridge fellow from the 1930's? Personally, I don't find the absence of women or people of (overt) color (for all that Tolkein goes into such things, nearly everyone in Middle Earth could may well be black, or plaid for that matter) in Tolkein's works to be intentional racism/sexism. He just wasn't writing that kind of story. I'm not sure, but I seem to remember that women/Africans were rather thin on the ground in Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and the Illiad, as well...
Posted by Big Matt G on December 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
@ 6 a. This is explained by Gimli somewhere, female dwarfs have beards too so are often mistaken for males. B. There is no denying Tolkien was as much a sexist as he was a racist. A racist sexist that wrote pretty epic, but also quite racist & sexist books.
Posted by dutchie on December 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
@6: Did you see Return of the King? These are the gayest movies ever.
Posted by redemma on December 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 6
a quibble.. i know it's partially about battles battles and more scrapes than you could toss trolls after, but it's strange that with the exception of the elves and some incidental scenes in the shire, there are no women to speak of in middle earth. at least not in this one. it's particularly noticeable with the dwarves. they fight and eat with a such passion that you can't help but wonder what and when they'd be bonin. of course they've got each other.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on December 19, 2012 at 9:50 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 5
The technology might just take some time to find its proper application. My understanding was that it was meant to make up for the loss in clarity from which 3-D naturally suffers.
Posted by thelyamhound on December 17, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
The Hobbit is being underrated by all the same people who thought that Return of the King deserved every Oscar ever. It's a good movie, it has a lot of flaws, but so did the Lord of the Rings movies.

If it's not as good, it's because The Hobbit was never as good of a story to begin with, and because the 48 fps framerate is really jarring, and that distracts people and they start to notice more of the flaws that were always there in all of the movies.
Posted by redemma on December 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Stops after the eagles rescue them from the trees...
Posted by Bill23382 on December 15, 2012 at 3:21 AM · Report this
Oh look, a hipster hating on something that is going to have record breaking showings. Whodathunk
Posted by Raororar on December 12, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 1
But, where does it stop?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on December 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM · Report this

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