Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit is the Great Goblin's Neck Wattle

I mean, look at this fucking thing!
Bloated, sagging and unnecessary, yet animated with care and attention to detail.

So, as you can probably already tell, I was not a fan of the new Hobbit movie.  Which sucks, because I was genuinely excited about this movie.  Hugely excited, since I adored the Lord of the Rings movies, and I've been a Tolkien fan from way back.  

Heck, this BLOG is named after a Tolkien line, and some of my most-read posts have been about Tolkien and his influence on me as a gamer.

Simply put - Peter Jackson was the wrong director for this movie.  He knew that, though, which is why Guillermo del Toro was initially tapped to do it.  Delays and general movie business made del Toro bow out, so Jackson picked up the reigns... and pulled a Lucas - smashing the movie into the bloated hubris of a director who has been so successful that people are no longer able to tell him things that should be self-evident.

Things like:

"Peter, rocket-powered rabbit sleds are FUCKING IDIOTIC."

"No, Peter, you don't need an additional nemesis sub-plot involving an albino orc with a prosthetic arm."

"Personally, I don't think that the bird shit on the side of Radagast's head looks good at all."

"Why do we need a 5-minute scene were an unnecessary minor character brings a HEDGEHOG BACK FROM THE DEAD?"

"Do we really think we have enough material to stretch a short YA book out into 3 3-hour movies?  It sure doesn't seem that way to me."

"Are all these really long CGI fight scenes really necessary?"

"Do we have to come up with a whole new, untested technology for making this movie?"


Things like that.

Ultimately, the movie is neither fish nor fowl, and that is why it fails.  It can't decide if it wants to be big, sprawling, epic Lord of the Rings, or tight, slightly slapstick Hobbit.  It's OK when it's one or the the other, and miserably, execrably bad when it tries to be both.  Which it does in pretty much all the action scenes involving the dwarves.

I wouldn't have minded a harder-edged version.  A group of dwarven warriors heading out to reclaim their kingdom sits just fine with me.  Some of the battle scenes, the early scenes with Smaug, the encounters with Azog, those all fit this sort of movie, and they were fine and good.

I wouldn't have minded a slapstick, slightly comedy Middle-Earth road trip movie.  The party at Bilbo's, the encounter with the trolls, cooking with busted-up elven furniture, Bilbo's arc generally, even the Radaghast the brown (the brown is shit, btw) - those all worked fine for that sort of slightly goofy movie.

But having them all in the same movie was just, schizophrenic.  Some parts weren't even that.  The entire stone giants scene was solid shit from start to finish, as was the entire underground fight with the goblins.  The action was largely Keystone Kops, which clashed horrendously with the faux-epic stuff they tried to cram in.

Jackson, like Tolkien before him, needs a better editor.  And Christopher Tolkien will no doubt hate it and weep himself to sleep atop the vast pile of money his father's work earned him.   


  1. I'm in total agreement with you, I found the film really disappointing for the same reasons.

  2. I guess I was a little less disappointed. The tone didn't bother me so much in trying to be both whimsical and dark, but I agree on the bloat and it needed tighter editing. Though you didn't mention what I saw as the worst of the bloat... the whole first 15 minutes or so of framing story where we have to sit through what looked like crap scenes that were rightfully edited out of the FotR. Cut that and shorten some of the scenes that weren't moving the story forward and the movie is fine. The albino orc antagonist and introducing Radaghast I'm hoping will pay off in the second and third films.

  3. I didn't hate that first 15 minutes. I like dwarves, and seeing cool dwarven cities and dragons attacking towns - I'm pretty much into that. But it was the intro to the epic-version of the Hobbit. If that had been the rest of the movie, that would have been fine, but that wasn't what I got.

    Anyways, there were some good scenes, and the Over the Misty Mountains song had me teared up. Too bad I only got parts of either movie.

  4. I think the poster should read the book more carefully. The rabbit sled is from the book, and when it comed down to it the book is a fairytale written for Tolkein's children. Which is why I agree on one point: that Del Toro should have directed it. You could see Del Toro's hand in the design of the characters and creatures, it just doesn't look right with Jackson putting it together.

  5. Um, I'm pretty sure that there was no extended scene of wargs chasing a rabbit-powered sleigh in the Hobbit. In fact, if the rabbit sleigh is in the book at all, it's a passing mention.

    I'm fairly sure del Toro didn't have anything to do with this movie, but Jackson-spooge is all over the poor thing.

  6. I found this post by googling "hobbit slapstick," and it just so happens to perfectly illustrate my issues with the film. It was right around the time that the producers changed "mountain giants" (i.e. giants that live among mountains) into GIANT ANTHROPOMORPHIC MOUNTAINS THEMSELVES that I turned to my girlfriend and said "well, this is just silly."

  7. They should've just put the entire story into a single epic 4-6 hour movie and cut out all the crap. Cant help thinking that the thing being stretched thin (like too little butter over too much bread) was all about money.

    And the stuff they padded this movie out with were either ridiculous or boring. Rabbit sleds and overly long fighting scenes. Yawn.