Things to Do In Your Free Time – January 2013

For the January edition of our “Things To Do In Your Free Time” blog I have asked my daughter and resident movie critic, Janie, to review the latest blockbuster film, “The Hobbit”. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the movie too.

I should begin this review with first stating that I did read The Hobbit in high school, but that I have very little memory of it. What I do remember is that I enjoyed the story, even with the mass amount of pages describing the scenery. I get it, its green on the Shire. Going into the theater, I expected the film to be a fun (in my opinion) improvement of the book; cutting out the long descriptions and instead upping the action. I walked out of the theater 3 hours later with mixed reactions.

It is hard to write a review without comparing this film to The Lord of the Rings. One thing I loved so much about the trilogy was the world that was brought to life. The showdown between Aragorn and Lurtz, the leader or the Orcs, in the Fellowship was so amazing because it was obviously a real person playing Lurtz, with some outstanding makeup. Using a live person added so much realism to the story. With The Hobbit, however, I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the amount of CGI used. I understand that to produce a Goblin-king or an albino Orc one would need to use computers, however the feeling it created was that of a children’s movie. Yes, I do realize that when J.R.R. Tolkien first wrote the book it was supposed to be for children, but the LOTR films seemed so adult in certain aspects that I expected The Hobbit to be the same. Good news for parents.

As always the cast was excellent. The return of certain characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that were not featured in The Hobbit book was a pleasant surprise. What I learned post viewing experience was that the filmmakers made several changes to the story to provide a few clarifications between The Hobbit and the LOTR. The appearance of these characters helped connect the stories. Martin Freeman was wonderful as a younger Bilbo, a less emotional hobbit than his nephew Frodo, and Ian McKellen is the perfect Gandalf. While I enjoyed the Dwarves we only get any real character development from Thorin, their rightful king. I could not name any other dwarf of the 13. Hopefully, this changes as the films continue.

My favorite scene in the film was the game of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum (who is as creepy as ever!). Tense and dark, the scene features a battle of wits between the hobbit and the creature, played by Andy Serkis. Can someone please give this man an award? His portrayal of the mad Gollum is so brilliantly frightening and sad at the same time; switching from friendly and playful to evil and, well, hungry. Even though the audience knows how the scene will eventually end due to the LOTR, it was still one of the best in the film, followed by a great fight scene between the Dwarves and the goblins.

As you know while The Lord of the Rings was a trilogy of books, made into a movie trilogy, The Hobbit is just one book, also made into a trilogy of movies. Therefore I understand that the first Hobbit film may not have the same amount of excitement as the other two to follow should. This movie has in no way made me reconsider seeing the next two films in the trilogy, however, I find myself not as eager as I was before. The Hobbit is in no way a bad movie, just not as epic as I was hoping for.