4 out of 5 stars
I waited until the last possible moment to decide to watch The Hobbit ~ An Unexpected Journey this past weekend. If I plan to spend the money to watch a movie in a theater, I do it opening weekend, because then most of the money goes back to the studio, which in turns means more movies that I like being produced. In other words, I vote with my money. And, Terry and I prefer to watch movies from the VIP seating on the balcony of Theater 7 at the Legends. Well worth the climb up the stairs to the third floor Saturday afternoon. We arrived with eight minutes to spare and sat through an amazing number of previews, but not any advertisements, which was a change for the better.
My most recent reading of The Hobbit occurred three years ago, when it was chosen as the book of the month for November 2009 for the Fantasy Book Club at GoodReads. While I like The Hobbit, I’m not really the target audience for the book, since Tolkien wrote it for children. But as with most well written children’s tales, there is much to be gleaned and learned by the adult reader. I’m excited to re-read The Silmarillion next month for the same book club. In fact, I may read it as an ebook and also listen to it as an audiobook.
I loved the increased frame rate speed used to film The Hobbit. I’ve been screaming for smoother sharper filming for years. Really, there’s no excuse not to. My eyes can drink in more than just 24 frames per second so please flood me with clean, crisp imaging.
I felt the focus of the story shifted away from Bilbo almost too much, and became Thorin’s story with Bilbo relegated to comedic sidekick. My foggy memory of reading The Hobbit three years ago recalls an older Thorin, still prideful to the point of arrogance, but not this brooding barely middle-aged dwarf, a veteran of many hard-fought battles. I came away thinking Peter Jackson tried to turn Thorin into a darker, shorter Aragorn.
And the whole albino orc and warg subplot is just a bit much. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t conceived in Tolkien’s mind.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the first installment of the drawn-out film trilogy adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d encourage you to catch it on a big screen near you soon.