When the movies came out, I was not overly impressed. I admit that there were some things I liked- the location shots, the fight scenes were bad-ass, and the special effects were something to see. The only downsides were the length of the films and the drawn out exposition. Then there was the unrequited love affair between Frodo and Samwise. At one point, I was like, “Can you just kiss him and get it the Hell over with?”
And for God’s sake- don’t get me started on the twenty thousand endings to THE RETURN OF THE KING. Every time I thought the movie was over, the fricking thing kept going. I think I even turned to my ex-wife and said, “We’re stuck in one of those Twilight Zone time loops that we’re never going escape from, are we?” I shit you not- every single time we walked out from one of the LOTR films, I felt as though I had been paroled from prison.
In fact, I think the courts should start sentencing people convicted of misdemeanor crimes to an LOTR marathon. Now if THAT ain’t cruel and unusual punishment, I don’t know what is! Just throw them in the theater, leave them with nothing but bags of Skittles and black coffee, and chain the doors up until the trilogy is over. Justice is served!
Okay, so from that diatribe, you probably think that I’m an LOTR hater and that I’m going to give THE HOBBIT a horrible review, right? Boy- you guys don’t know me at all, do you?
First of all, I don’t hate THE LORD OF THE RINGS. They’re good films- slightly overrated and long-winded, but good. As for what I thought about THE HOBBIT, I enjoyed it. A lot more than I thought I would, too.
But before I get to that, I gotta give you the gist of the plot, don’t I? Well, here it is in a nutshell: Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is conscripted by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) to join a group of dwarves on a quest to regain their homeland from the dragon who conquered it and drove them away. On their way there, they encounter elves, orcs, trolls, and a particularly nasty goblin-king. Oh, and Bilbo runs into some clown named Gollum and picks up a golden ring as a memento of his trip.
(You may want to keep that last little tidbit in mind, because I think it comes into play later on. But that’s just a guess on my part.)
Martin Freeman plays a great younger version of Bilbo here, more reluctant for a life of adventure than his older counterpart. The dwarves are great comic relief, and you feel a great sense of camaraderie from them; a lot less homoerotic than that of the hobbits in the first trilogy. During one scene of the film, they break into song, and being the dork that I am, I turned to my date and joked, “Boy, those middle-Earth boy-bands really suck, don’t they?”
(Yeah, okay, that might have been a lame joke, but I thought it was hilarious!)
If I have only one complaint about THE HOBBIT, it’s the fact that it took WAY too long to get started. I mean, when you’re thirty minutes in and everybody is still partying at Bilbo’s, then there’s gonna be an audience full of people writhing in their seats and checking their watches. I should know- I was one of them.
Here’s the bottom line: If you are completely burned out on THE LORD OF THE RINGS, you’ll probably wait for this to come out on dvd. If you feel like taking one more romp in the Shire for old time’s sake, then you’ll enjoy THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. If you’re a die-hard fan, then you’ll probably have seen the movie five or six times before this review is published, and my opinion of the film won’t matter to you anyway.
Greg’s rating: three out of four stars.