The Hobbit: A Disappointing Journey
With the amount of hype that surrounded the latest movie adaptation of J.R .R Tolkien’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I am not entirely sure the film had any chance to live up to it. Peter Jackson enjoyed directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy so much he could not restrain himself from embarking on another premiering December 14 2013, however the need for one book adaptation to be split into three separate films is debatable. Speaking directly to the content and flow of the narrative as well as lack of motivation, this film left much to be desired. Visual/audio effects as well as acting and composition took the forefront, entertaining the viewer, distracting them from the lackluster skeleton of the story. Obviously it is not the story that is the problem but the pacing that the film takes in stretching out the first 6 chapters of the book, which is just about when the film ends. The fact that the film does not cover enough story, kills any chance for the narrative to develop and resonate with the audience.
The film begins paying homage to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, visiting Bilbo and Frodo about five minutes before, what would be, the first scene of The Fellowship of the Ring. The narrative is in 1st person from the perspective of Bilbo Baggins writing his “unexpected journey” for the first sequence, yet it does not stay this way or reference back to Bilbo writing his story at any other point in the film. Not only did this make the film feel inconsistent, but it gives the beginning a rocky start to flow when the switch is made to Bilbo’s past, the film never recovers its consistence from this point on. There was plenty of time to develop the characters, however, there are 13 dwarfs and I may have left the theater remembering 3 to 4 of their names. There was an abundance of time for action, which there was a fair amount of, but to no avail. It is disappointing to a viewer to invest themselves in a plot with multiple different conflicts that never wrap up or they never see the end result of.
The entertainment value of the film, however, should not be overlooked. The visual effects were astonishing and detailed. Martin Freeman was magnificent and Ian McKellen’s Gandalf was nostalgic and inspired as always. The element of the film that stole my heart was the score by Howard Shore. He nailed the theme song “Misty Mountains (cold)” of which all 13 dwarfs sing a hauntingly beautiful Gregorian chant type version near the beginning of the film. All in all I felt the sound design, visual effects, and acting kept me entertained and almost made up for the overstretched narrative. I think the excitement of the Hobbit was let down by an unnecessary trilogy with enough hype to keep people interested despite the disappointing quality of the film itself.