Greg reviews ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

I’ll be the first one to admit it- I don’t have a good track record when it comes to fantasy films. The only one I ever liked was WILLOW, and that was only because I thought Val Kilmer was awesome as Mad Mardigan. When New Line Films announced that they were producing THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, all of my geek buddies simultaneously went into orgasm mode. Believe you, me- it was not a pretty sight. You never wanna see that many pairs of Batman underwear with a wet spot in the crotch. But that is neither here nor there.

Poster via EW

Poster via EW

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.

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Posted by on December 16, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to Greg reviews ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

  1. Michael John Scott

    December 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I’m a huge LOTR fan, and have been ever since I read Tolkien’s wonderful books about 50 years ago. When the movies were released I was delighted and never once disappointed. I loved these movies and bought the DVD’s so I could watch them time and again. As to The Hobbit…I can’t hardly wait, despite some cranky reviews 🙂

  2. Bill Formby

    December 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Greg, I’m not sure I would use your review of a movie to determine its worth. No offense to you, but your description leaves something to be desired, plus you are the guy that likes the zombie stories and I don’t. I think I will wait for my son’s review when he sees it next week. He thought the LOTR was pretty good. Great cinematography and special effects but not very true to the original storyline line. I just could not get into the whole concept. Of course I was not a fan of Harry Potter either. That makes me pretty strange these days. But, I do appreciate your efforts and I like your style of trying to keep the reader engaged.

  3. lincoln82

    December 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Big LOTR fan and just saw The Hobbit. It was too long and the first 30-40 minutes were a killer, just like Greg says. They should have thrown a Mount Doom sequence, or Orc sequence in there. What about those cool flying Nazgul? Yep. Could have done better, but it was still a kick in iMax and 3D and I would see it again.

    • greg gonzalez

      December 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks for backing me up, Linc! Yeah, I think it was a mistake for New Line to want to turn THE HOBBIT into a trilogy. I think they could have covered the novel in two films instead of stretching it into three. A lot of it just seemed to be filler and not enough meat. I still enjoyed it, though.

  4. greg gonzalez

    December 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    @Bill- I never said I was a legitimate movie critic, just a fan. I write this stuff mostly because I want to, and because Mike doesn’t have anyone else doing it. I like to be funny and entertaining with people, so my stuff needs to be taken with just a tiny grain of salt. I probably offended some people with my comments about the ‘unrequited love between hobbits’, but like they say- screw them if they can’t take a joke. Beyond that, it’s up to the person reading the review if they wanna take me seriously or not. Opinions are like assholes- everybody has one. Also, I never said I hated the LOTR trilogy- I just don’t treat it like the landmark film franchise that most geeks do. But I will say this, Peter Jackson totally deserved to win best director for THE RETURN OF THE KING.

    By the way, what exactly does my love of zombies have to do with this, anyway?