A Fangirl’s Review of The Hobbit
A Fangirl’s Review of
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
By: Terra Clarke Olsen
As I previously wrote, I am a huge Hobbit fan. But it goes beyond The Hobbit, I love all works by Tolkien. So I found myself surprised when I read so many Tolkien fans profusely bashing the new Hobbit movie. I originally wasn’t going to write a review about the film (don’t want to throw Tolkien in your face too much), but I found myself so annoyed by some of the reviews that I decided to offer my two cents.
Note: Please stop reading now if you do not want spoilers. I will try not to elaborate past the first movie.
My first reaction after seeing the film in HFR 3D was I wished I hadn’t seen it in HFR 3D. For that matter, I don’t want to see it in Standard 3D either. I have to agree with Vincent Laforet at Gizmodo that people’s reactions are different depending on the viewing experience they chose. While HFR 3D creates an experience that ‘immerses’ the viewer, the magic is lost … as well as one’s vision. My eyes were hurting after the film. I won’t go into the technicalities of the viewing experience, because Laforet does so nicely (go read it). But for those who saw the film in 3D and couldn’t quite put their finger on why they didn’t love it, they should probably go see it again in 2D. Besides complaining about the strange viewing experience, there were others who freaked out about the movie’s plots and details. And that’s where I became annoyed in reading reviews.
I read that: it is boring and slow; it should not be sooo long; there were too many new and weird elements with new characters; etc. So much outrage! Well folks, I will tell you what I think. I liked it. I thought it was great that Peter Jackson, a Tolkien fan, elaborated on parts of The Hobbit to connected it with The Lord of the Rings, and to give us elements of Tolkien’s world that are found outside of those stories.
For example, I thought the elaboration on the Necromancer was done brilliantly. In the book, we know that Gandalf disappears often to meet with the “great council of the white wizards” and to deal with the Necromancer, which is “an enemy far beyond the power of all the dwarves put together.” Jackson sets up the movie to reveal what is revealed in Tolkien’s other books-that the Necromancer is in fact Sauron. In the Simarillion it is noted that Sauron is “‘the Necromancer’: so he is called as he casts a fleeting shadow and presage on the pages of The Hobbit.” These connections are important to ensure that the story is complete and coherent when viewing the films.
These elaborations ring true for other aspects of the film too. Radagast, for example, was only briefly mentioned in The Hobbit (as Gandalf’s cousin), yet he plays a role in other tales in Tolkien’s elaborate world. Again, the history of Middle Earth is covered in many other books besides The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and I think it is great that Jackson decided to give Tolkien fans snippets of those stories.
With all of that said, there was one change I was unsettled by. Azog, the white Orc, takes on a huge role in the film, while in the book he is mentioned only as “Azog the Goblin,”Son of Azog, who killed Thorin’s grandfather, Thror, in the mines of Moria. Buuuut, even then, it gave an interesting twist to the first film and created more depth. (Still not sure how I feel about it…)*
Besides the new additions/changes to the movie, many people also complained about the slow beginning, and yet again I have a differing opinion. I liked it. It was playful and reminiscent of the children’s book. And I enjoyed hearing the dwarves’ back-story and seeing the simplicity of Bilbo’s life. These details served to create a thorough profile of the characters, which will add to the future films.
Overall I found the movie quite pleasant.** The imagery was beautiful and full of details. The mood was whimsical and good-natured–elements that are fitting for their journey and the time period and location in Middle Earth.
So forget the naysayers and go enjoy a magical experience with Bilbo (in 2D).
*Actually I was also bothered that the film had Bilbo delaying the trolls, when in fact it was Gandalf who kept the trolls bickering until dawn. Buuut, I suppose this change helps Bilbo’s character development as it shows bravery and cleverness.
** I groaned at the drug jokes. Reallyfirstname.lastname@example.org