A bullet-point review of/ thought collection on yesterday's movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:
It's a comforting movie, and that's a quality I like. Yeah, that's the word: I like being in this world, or at least the interpretation of it that Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and now Guillermo Del Toro (plus many others) have given us. I went in knowing that the film was partly awkward: while the first trilogy of films was telling the most important story in Middle Earth's history, this version of The Hobbit is telling about part of a thing that will become the most important story in Middle Earth's history, so it's not as epic -- and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien's source material is simpler, more kid-friendly and more episodic than what he later wrote in The Lord of the Rings. But the filmmaking language Jackson et al are using is the same language used for their version of the epic part. That (and the length since they're expanding this relatively slight novel into three films) has been awkward for some viewers, but I tried to be prepared for that. And I just appreciated seeing the world again, going through it at a mostly slower pace.
So I smiled a lot. And got worried at times, appropriate to the more dramatic moments. I wasn't as moved by this film as I was by moments in the earlier films -- keep in mind, I choked up at the Ents marching to war in The Two Towers -- but I accepted that as a consequence of this being a smaller story. And it still works lots better than Jackson's version of King Kong, but I'm not sure that's a high bar. (I also haven't seen Jackson's adaptation of The Lovely Bones.)
By the way, was it good or bad that none of the trees Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves got caught in were Ents? They may have been able to more easily get away, but also, OH NO ENTS BURNING AND AT RISK OF FALLING...
One of the dwarves seemed like Dwarf Karl Urban. Wonder if terri_osborne agrees or disagrees with that comparison. I know she doesn't mind being reminded of Karl Urban.
"Oh good, that's not real bird s***." -- actual thought I had after first seeing Sylvester McCoy as the wizard Radagast.
No surprise, the technology that creates the image of Gollum is incredibly well-done -- and definitely advanced from The Return of the King, which is good and to be expected since that film's almost 10 years old. (Whoa.) And I'd been impressed with how they'd done Gollum back then; I was even more impressed now. (I've been impressed with Andy Serkis's performance from the start.)
I waited to see this because I didn't want to get too wrapped up in my fellow geeks' "ZOMG WE ALL MUST SEE THIS" reaction when it came out -- and honestly, I wasn't sold on making the story into three films, though I sort of understood why they'd first wanted to make it into two films. So I'm keeping a slight distance from it. In fact, I'd initially thought that I'd wait until the film was playing in one of Portland's many second-run theaters. I'm stil glad I saw it, but I don't know if I'll revisit this trilogy the way I revisit the LotR films. It'll have to do with how well the filmmakers stick the landing on this trilogy. I'll hope, but not with baited breath. Besides, I like breathing.