The Hobbit: more is less

Although I am an avid reader, the only books beside the bible that I have read multiple times are J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Ring Trilogy.  I never cease to be amazed by Tolkien’s imagination.  Every time I’ve read his books I find something new I had missed before.  I have the complete set of The Ring Trilogy on DVD which I have also watched multiple times.  So, with glee in my heart I set off to see The Hobbit yesterday afternoon.

During the first half hour of the film, I actually fell asleep.  There was actually no need to introduce the film by referencing the events leading up to The Lord of the Ring.  It has no bearing on the prequel story of Bilbo Baggins.  If that were an attempt to revive interest in The Ring Trilogy, it was at best clumsy.  No attempt was made at hiding the fact that Joshua Wood is now a foot taller than when he played Frodo Baggins, Bilbo’s nephew.

Nevertheless, what kills The Hobbit is the overdone CGI.  In the earlier movies, the special effects were spectacular.  In The Hobbit they are a disaster.  At various times during the film, the proportions between Gandalf and the hobbit and dwarves vary noticeably.  At times Bilbo stands at Gandalf’s waist while at others he appears eyeball to eyeball.  The dwarves size fluctuates like they were made of putty.  The Orks are fairly consistent except in the battle scenes but the hounds suffer from inconsistency of size.  And Gollum fluctuates in size so noticeably that one wonders why his character could not have been portrayed as well as it was in The Ring Trilogy.

The eternal battle between the good guys and the goblins is interminable and too busy with so much going on in the background that the actual fight is lost in the hubbub.  More, in this case, is less.  It is just too confusing to see what is going on and on and on.  Just because it is possible to do incredible things with CGI doesn’t mean it should be done to the extent it was used in making The Hobbit.

The worst part of this movie going experience is the realization that the audience has been had.  This movie is actually the half-hobbit.  It ends abruptly right in the middle of the story which goes on to tell the struggles Bilbo has with managing the power of the ring.  There has to be a sequel planned or this is possibly the worst adaptation from a novel ever put on film.  If the three books of The Ring Trilogy could be put entirely in one movie each, then there is no reason that The Hobbit could not have enjoyed that same treatment.  The problem, it appears, is that too much time was spent on needless special effects and not enough on capturing the essence of the story.  When they come out with the sequel, I may chance wasting another three hours. . .then again, I may just re-read the book.

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