The Hobbit: An Unexpected Meh

This week the new trailer for the first part in the Hobbit trilogy was released. While it’s not bad, I can’t help but feel, so what?

I remember being fascinated with this book as a child, adoring the tale of a reluctant adventurer. It was almost marketed for young boys who I’m sure all thought the same as me, “I’ll go Bilbo, I’ll go on this trip to see the dragon’s treasure.” I not only read it but listened to the BBC radio adaptation, along with that of the Lord of the Rings.

What I particularly loved was what I’ve always thought the point of fantasy writing; using your own imagination. I didn’t have the elaborate illustrated copies so had to visualise hobbits myself, which was the way I preferred it. The whole fun of fantasy was picturing the world the author was describing and coming up with your own interpretation of it.

This is is why I believe I’m not excited about the films, just as I wasn’t about the Lord of the Rings. After seeing this trailer, all I can think of is Radagast, who is completely different from how I imagined him. That is the main difficulty I have with fantasy films, that of comparing the characters I remember with those new creations the film-maker has shot. It takes all the fun out of the genre and is probably why although I think they are good (but not great) I very rarely have an urge to watch the Lord of the Rings films.

One of the other reasons I have for disinterest is the fact that Peter Jackson is turning one book into a trilogy. I think Jackson is a great filmmaker, but he has a tendency to make his films overlong. His King Kong remake was over double the length of the original, and although it was good, it was also forgettable. I think he did so well with the Lord of the Rings because there was so much material to condense that he was forced to edit against his wishes.

I will still go to see it, as it could well prove me wrong and there is one aspect that piques my interest. It only mentions it in a very small subtitle at the end, but this will be shown in 3D. While normally I wouldn’t be interested, the reason Jackson believes this will work intrigues me.

He has shot the film at a faster rate of 48 frames per second, double that of normal cameras, which he hopes will give a smoother finish and will be less jerky on the eyes. When he unveiled ten minutes of footage at comic con in April earlier this year, the reaction was, at best, mixed. Some praised the level of detail in the images, while others said that when this level of clarity was applied to the sets and make up the result looked like a made-for-TV-movie. Jackson admitted that it takes a while to get used to, which given that James Cameron is considering using either 48 or 60 frames a second for the Avatar sequels, is something we may just have to accept.


One thought on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Meh

  1. Chris P

    The Hobbit is certainly a very detailed book, I think I read it about 10 years ago. Although it’s not one I’m very excited too see (the book was very good though) I’ll probably go and see it anyway.

    One quote that came to mind when something gets too long or too big is ‘Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction – Albert Einstein’. Then again the proof is in the pudding and Peter Jackson is a very successful film maker.

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