Tuesday, January 15, 2013

“The Hobbit” is Fun


Three and a half stars

Some people are accusing director Peter Jackson of cashing in on “Lord of the Rings”, and yes, I understand, you might roll your eyes at I-HOP’s Hobbit breakfast menu, or the fact that he took a 300 page children’s novel and turned it into three films. Even as I watched, a part of me kept saying, couldn’t he have done this all in one film? It does run for two hours and forty six minutes. So, yes, he is milking Lord of the Rings a bit. However, I really enjoyed Peter Jackson’s film, and it didn’t feel like three hours. It moves along really nicely. As you know, (if you are a J.R.R. Tolkien fan) it’s the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a hobbit who lives in Middle Earth. One day, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) drops by and tells him that he needs him for an adventure. At first, Bilbo doesn’t want to go. He’s a quiet hobbit, living a hobbit life in middle earth.  However, he comes to his senses after Gandalf’s merry band of men invade his house, eat his food and ask him to sign a contract to join them as their burglar (funeral costs covered!) Hobbits are short, and he would be sure to be able to get past their enemies. So, Bilbo runs out of his house, yelling “I’m going to go on a adventure!” and joins the band of dwarves, who need him so they defeat the dragon which keeps the valley in fear, as he sleeps in the mountain, surrounded by gold.
Okay, so this isn’t really a film you go into, with your critic’s gloves on. Even describing the plot sounds like a total fantasy fiacre, and you know what? It is. There are a lot of chase scenes and mystical creatures and wizards and evil doers and dwarves. In one scene, they are captured by trolls that Bilbo outsmarts because they could eat the band of men. There’s capturing by evil creatures, chase scenes, battle scenes, and whatnot. There’s the first appearance of the Ring and Gollum (Andy Serkis). After all, this is the prequel to Lord of the Rings, so if you are a new comer to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, you are in luck. This is what happens before The Lord of the Rings. The visuals, no surprise, are really good, and it’s always beautiful watching them walk New Zealand, and it's really stunning seeing New Zeland in 3-D.

There are some great warm moments, like when one of the dwarves says to Bilbo that he was sure he shouldn’t have come, and that he knew it was a bad idea but then hugs him and says he was wrong. So, “The Hobbit” is a lot of fun, and Peter Jackson is really good at directing a fantasy epic. So, while splitting up “The Hobbit” only seems to make economic sense, as this stuff has a built in audience, on the other hand, I had a lot more fun seeing this than I did seeing “Les Miserables”. The story is great, and the acting is good. Its fun watching all these Shakespearian British actors recites lines about wizards and dwarves and defeating dragons and trolls.

So, in conclusion, go see “The Hobbit”. It’s a really fun way to spend your afternoon, and sometimes that’s what the movies are good for. I would say, even ignore my earlier criticisms about how he could of done this all in one movie. Just see it, because you know you want to, it’s visually nice, and it’s simply a good story with a lot of fantasy and adventure. So, don’t be a hobbit yourself, and set out to the theater. As Bilbo says, “I’m going on an adventure”. Good advice. I like this better than the messy “Les Miserables”, which was this year’s other big epic. I mean, you can’t really compare them but “Les Miserables” can be really upsetting in places, and this one you can bring your kids to. Your kids probably will sit spellbound through all three hours. Oh, and my spell check has all of the proper names for J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. How cool is that.

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