Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure
My Rating: 3 stars
I always get to see a lot of movies over the holidays. That’s usually because I’m visiting my family, so I’m not stuck in my regular routine at home. That means I usually have a pretty good track record with films released around this time of year. I was pretty eager to see this movie, even though I totally object to stretching such a thin novel out into three (obscenely long) installments. I’m pretty familiar with the book, although it’s been a really long time since I’ve read it. And, I did enjoy all the Lord of the Ring movies, despite their various shortcomings. So, I was interested in seeing how Peter Jackson would interpret the story. As it turns out, there wasn’t much “interpreting” at all. Since he’s got three, three-hour movies to fill, it looks like Mr. Jackson is just shooting the whole book, word for word, including all the ballads that people usually skip over when reading the book. And, he sticks a few more filler scenes in there too!
But of course, the biggest controversy surrounding this particular film is the high frame rate version that is playing as several different locations. People hate this stuff more than 3D! Naturally, this was the version I had to go see. So, I can tell you from personal experience that the high frame rate is pretty awful. Actually I went to see the 3D, HFR version, so it had two things working against it. This style of filming made the whole thing look like a telenovella, and it totally took me out of the experience. Some of the more sweeping, CGI scenes look alright, but any scenes in an intimate, indoor setting, that focus on real life actors just looked super cheesy to me.
Of course, none of these complaints mean that I didn’t enjoy this movie. It’s long, but that doesn’t usuall bother me if the story stays exciting and dynamic. And, I guess this film made the cut, because I really didn’t feel the length. The story isn’t quite as interesting as those in the LOTR trilogy. The stakes are a little lower, and the themes are a little less epic. It’s certainly not in the same league as those films (or the first one anyway). But, I think I still have enough warm feelings left over from that franchise that this movie benefits a little from the halo effect. I’m pretty sure that’s what the movie studio was banking on when they gave this project the green light. Although, I’m fairly certain that those fuzzy feelings will expire well before the third movie rolls around. Of course, by then people will feel invested in the series, and probably go see it anyway. Those movie executives have grown so cynical. They should be ashamed of themselves. But, I guess I enjoyed this movie well enough to go ahead and recommend it to you. But, maybe you shouldn’t go out of your way to see the fancy version. I think it’d be a much more enjoyable experience if you stick to the basics.