A ten-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country aboard a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.
Helena Bonham Carter,
Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever ... Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities ... A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to ... Written by
In the first scene with Galadriel, her tiara is off center. A moment later, it is perfect when you see her again. See more »
My dear Frodo, you asked me once if I had told you everything there was to know about my adventures. And while I can honestly say I've told you the truth, I may not have told you all of it. I am old, Frodo. I am not the same hobbit as I once was. It is time for you to know what really happened.
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There is an advertisement for 'splode soda' at the end. No such product exists. See more »
Okay, so it's not quite as awful as The Phantom Menace was, but it comes damn close to damaging the LOTR franchise in the same way TPM did to the Star Wars franchise.
Let's review here:
1. The story is damaged within the first ten minutes and never recovers at any point in the film. The fact is, simply, that Bilbo's character is never developed. We have no freaking idea why Gandalf chose him or why he's so important. We're given no reason to really care about him, and therefore it makes zero sense why any of the other characters should care about him either. The entire film suffers for this, because Bilbo is, essentially, the lead. And when you don't care about the lead, you pretty much don't care about anything else.
2. The tone is WAY off. Yes, The Hobbit was a children's book. However, the film needs to fit into the already-established LOTR universe, and it struggles to do so. The first half is filled with bizarre slapstick and childish humor more akin to Sesame Street than a LOTR film, while the second half attempts to take a drastic turn for the dark, making everything seem completely disjointed. It just didn't work.
3. CGI disasters. Yep, Peter Jackson seems to have taken a page from the George Lucas 'How To Ruin A Beloved Franchise' playbook, and leaned WAY too hard on CGI for this film. I know there was quite a bit of CGI in the original films, but it was truly abused in this one. Far too many characters were pure CGI creations, and way too many scenes were set entirely on a green screen. CGI is best when its working in support of practical sets and effects, not when it's the only effect being used. Jackson struck a near-perfect balance in LOTR, but The Hobbit just seemed like one big cartoon most of the time. Bad. And made even worse by the fact that we already know what Jackson and his production team are capable of.
4. HFR is as bad, if not worse, than everyone says. Shooting this film in HFR was probably the single worst decision anyone could have made. Everything looks cheap and plastic. You can see the seams on the actors prosthetics, you can tell that the sets are cardboard, and the already-problematic use of CGI is exacerbated tenfold. HFR takes the magic out of films. Period.
5. No attractive, human protagonists. This may sound superficial, but the fact is that without a strong lead that people can relate to, your film is likely going to fail. Especially in a film that is filled with monsters and weird creatures and other oddities. It's really hard for people to empathize with characters that they either aren't attracted to or can't relate to on some basic level. Nobody wants to be a dwarf or a hobbit. LOTR had several strong, attractive human leads, both male and female. And yes, Frodo and Sam were indeed beloved characters, but they were brilliantly written and developed in a way that neither Bilbo nor any of the dwarfs were in The Hobbit. As such, the audience simply cannot emotionally attach itself to anyone in this film.
6. Completely impossible scenarios that don't even make sense within its own universe. This is a big one and it drives directly to the cartoonish nature of the film. There are several scenes, most notably during the escape from the Goblin kingdom, where the characters are put through a series of actions that are laughably absurd. Now, this is a movie and not real life, and nobody expects perfect physics. But everything still needs to work within its own universe, and the fact is that some of these stunts are just dumb and insulting. You'd never have seen this kind of nonsense in the LOTR trilogy, and this film should follow the same rules. Quite frankly some of the action scenes could have been cut out altogether and the film would have been better off for it.
A great scene between Gollum and Bilbo is very much worth watching. Highlight of the entire movie, and almost makes the rest of the nonsense worthwhile.
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