Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Hobbit

Saw the Hobbit yesterday. It was beautiful to look at, the acting was great (especially Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis), and visiting Middle Earth again was wonderful. All in all, I am glad I saw it.

That said, the movie was dreadful. Peter Jackson should be flogged. He tried to make the story as epic as LotR (going so far as to steal whole scenes - the ring falling onto Bilbo's finger, the storm in the mountains, the race across the narrow bridge underground, the hero cutting off the evil leader's hand), and it simply isn't. It's about some greedy dwarves that want to steal some gold.

Jackson tried to pump up the drama, but he can't; we already know all 13 dwarves have to survive, for instance, so every battle scene not played for laughs is just silly. You can't make an adventure into an epic without changing the story, and Jackson didn't do that, he merely added to the story.

And this is where the flogging comes in. Of the scenes Jackson added, two of them are so unforgivably bad Hollywood cliches as to make me question Jackson's sanity.

The least objectionable is Thorin giving his unnecessarily contentious speech only to reverse it by announcing how wrong he was and then hugging a hobbit. Not only is this unnecessary, but no. Thorin does not hug hobbits.

The worst was the absolute bog-standard cop show stupidity, "We have your friend! We'll kill him unless you throw down your weapons and let us kill all of you! Then we'll kill him anyway." Real life cops never fall for this; movie cops falling for it is unbelievable; making medieval warriors fall for it is absurd. Seriously, Jackson must have been high when he wrote that scene, and every single person on the entire set must have been oxygen-deprived or something to not have pointed out just how freaking idiotic it was.

And the lines given to Saruman (magic mushrooms?!!) are a freaking insult to the character and the actor. Wasting Christopher Lee's voice on those idiotic words is a crime against nature. Honestly, I almost walked out of the theater at point, out of a fear that this one scene would taint the majesty that is LotR.

I will undoubtedly see the remaining films, for the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph. However, I don't know if I'll ever see another Jackson film; it is clear now that he had one and only one story to tell, and that the majesty of LotR was due entirely to his slavish adherence to a creative vision that was not his own.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I would have to reread the book to answer your complaints properly. That said I did like the movie despite the errors you mentioned. I think maybe you are being overly critical.

MCPlanck said...

My complaints were only about things that weren't in the book.

I'm not being overly critical; on any objective level of critical theory, the movie was a disaster. It only seems like anything else because we all love the source material so much.

I have some faint dream that someday Jackson cuts all 3 films down to one 90 minute movie that has only scenes from the books, and is thus rendered brilliant. Sort of a reverse-Lucas thing. :D

Anonymous said...

I was suprised the film was to be in two parts to
begin with and floored when I learned after
seeing it that in fact it is in three parts.

I can understand the addition in the beginning of
the movie to set the stage for the history of the
mountain for those who have not read the book and
needed to understand the strong personal ties of
Thorin to it.

I completely agree with you about the mushroom
comment. The halfings weed comment in the
LOTR's was funny, but the mushroom comment was
unwarranted and I even gringed
when it was spoken.

Clearly too much has been added for sake of the
dollar, but none the less, like you, I will go
and see the other three.

Last point though......King Kong was great,
I still love to watch it occasionally
on my 82 inch screen, that one, LOTR and
Avatar just look fantastic !

Your friend,
Steve

MCPlanck said...

You're right - King Kong got a lot of flack for being too long, but I thought it was pretty dang good. So I guess I was too harsh on Jackson. Just makes this weirdness all the more mystifying.

I actually liked the whole dwarf history lesson; basically anything Tolkien wrote was worth including in the film.

As for TVs... they are advertising 90 inch LEDs here. I keep playing ball with the baby in the living room, hoping an "accident" sends me back to the store for a new TV. :D