Tenshot: The Hobbit
I recently rewatched the Peter Jackson Hobbit series.
- My feelings about The Hobbit is similar to my feelings about the Star Wars prequels: they’re good movies; they could have been great movies.
- That comparison interests me because their failings are opposite of each other. The Hobbit has great acting, decent dialogue and mainly falls down by being bloated and overly long. This contrasts against the Star Wars prequels which have poor dialogue, some lousy acting but almost perfect editing.
- The best thing about the movies is the casting, which is almost note-perfect. Freeman was made for this role. Armitage is great. Cumberbatch voices Smaug deliciously. Evans is solid. And the returning cast — McKellen, Weaving, Bloom, Lee, Blanchett, Serkis — slip into their roles like comfortable slippers.
- The biggest problem is that this is a great four movie squeezed into nine hours. I have not seen the fan edits but I’m told they do a better job, mostly by cutting the Tauriel storyline and the Dol Goldur storyline (which is nice, but takes away the surprise at the Battle of the Five Armies).
- Those plot threads aren’t the biggest problem, though. The biggest problem — one common in movies these days — is Action Movie Bloat: long, endless action scenes filled with impossible silly stunts that resolve nothing and are ultimately of little consequence to the plot. The river chase, the fight with the goblins, the chase with Smaug through Erebor — all could have been excised or severely cut and made for a better film.
- They should have killed off Azog at the end of the first movie.
- You could never make a movie of The Silmarillion. But you could make a great TV series out of it. Maybe HBO will be looking for something now that Game of Thrones is wrapping up.
- Howard Shore’s Wagnerian score is excellent.
- Peter Jackson need to be stopped from indulging his worst instincts (mostly silly action stunts). This was becoming a problem toward the end of Lord of the Rings, to be honest.
- Honestly, I think I kind of prefer the Rankin-Bass version. At least it’s only 78 minutes long.