Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hobbit Hobbles: An Unexpected Journey Reviewed

When I was about ten years old on several cold, blustery evenings before a crackling fire, my Dad read me The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved the story. I was intent on my Dad's every word and urged him to read it every night until he finished the tale of Bilbo's adventures. 

Needless to say, I was excited to see the first movie in what is to be a trilogy based on the book. I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy and was hoping for something that would match that standard of tale-weaving onscreen. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. 

My disappointment had nothing to do with the much talked about 48 frames per second issue. I watched the movie in 2D. No, for me, the problems in this movie are much more basic. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had all of the exterior trappings of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, (gorgeous sets, sweeping landscapes, excellent costume design, and good acting), but without the same plot pacing and character development. 

Simply said, the movie dragged. I would say that I have a pretty good attention span, but I was looking at my watch after just an hour and fifteen minutes. I never looked at my watch during the Lord of the Rings movies.

The first part of the movie, in which the dwarves invade Bilbo's home, goes on for what seems like an interminable amount of time, (it turns out it was around forty minutes). I quickly tired of watching the dwarves endlessly cavort around Bilbo's house, and sing two musical numbers. (Yes, two!)

Why Peter Jackson chose to spend this much time on what is only the first chapter of a nineteen chapter book is really baffling to me. But actually, it is not surprising when one realizes that The Hobbit is only a three hundred page book, being made into three movies. The Lord of the Rings movies were three books made into three movies. 

I could write a long-winded analysis of what failed in this movie but I think it boils down to one thing: The Hobbit merited one movie, perhaps two, but three movies at three hours a pop is just asking for tedium and toe tapping in the theaters, (people were literally squirming in their seats in the theater I was in).

So, why did this happen? Did movie execs simply see dollar signs? Did Peter Jackson become too obsessed with the material and lose touch with the base of his audience - people who have never read Tolkien and are hoping for something more along the lines of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: a movie that entrances and entertains, with themes that transcend?

Is there a possibility that after these three movies come out, Peter Jackson can release a trimmed down version for the normal folks out there who do not want to see a whole book played out paragraph by paragraph, (or appendices by appendices)?

Hey, a girl can dream. In the meantime, I am saving my pocket money and plan to watch the next two movies on DVD.

Some other reviews of the movie from various perspectives:

Sr. Rose Pacatte's Review: "The story is complicated but smooth, and not so complex that I felt lost. There is quite a bit of humor, some of the adolescent male dwarf variety, so the peril, though intense, is not heavy and dark."

Sr. Helena Burn's Review: "There are many, many action scenes and battles and one perilous predicament after another. However, the scenes are so carefully planned out, easy-to-follow, and truly interesting that our attention is held."

The Artful Critic: "Stories/movies usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is all beginning with climaxes galore."

The Rolling Stone:  "Part One of director Peter Jackson's planned film trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit forces audiences to run an obstacle course before the fun kicks in."

Sr. Rebecca's Reflection on the Spiritual Themes of the Movie: "In the LOR, so many are chosen to carry out tasks that they would have preferred not to have been chosen for. They feel too weak, too insignificant... but they choose to say yes."

I would love to hear what my readers thought of the movie, I have talked to a lot of people about it and there are many differing opinions.

Peace & Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea!

I am interrupting my blogging fast to share my latest article on Ignitum Today with a last minute Christmas gift idea!

The Daughters of St. Paul are praying our Christmas novena now as we approach the day we celebrate Jesus' birth. I lift all of the intentions of my blog readers up to our good Lord who listens to all of our needs.

May you have a blessed Christmas.

To read the article on Ignitum Today click here.