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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I took the kids to an afternoon showing. They were anxious for the adverts to end and for the film begin. Having been terrified by trailers when I was young (I vividly remember seeing trailers for The Terminator and The Elephant Man) I was a bit worried about what would be shown. I wasn't concerned so much about the actual content of the trailers, but rather the suggestion of horror. The trailer for Beautiful Creatures frightened Youngest Child, and he didn't seem keen on the look of Jack Reacher either. I don't know much about the former (though I have trouble with the idea of a character turning 'good' or 'evil' at a certain age) but I'm sure Tom Cruise ain't no Jack Reacher. Mind you, Keanu Reeves was no John Constantine, and I enjoyed Constantine more than I thought I would when I saw it years after release.

The Hobbit was good, but I'm not sure it was as good as The Lord of the Rings. My issue is I think The Hobbit is a much better book. There's a lovely tone of writing, which you just don't get in a film version. Plus, the film tied itself in knots to establish its connection with The Lord of the Rings. This probably made more sense to movie goers, rather than my two who are familiar with The Hobbit, but who have only read the first couple of chapters of LOTR. Eldest Child got so upset about Frodo selling Bag End that we had to stop reading. Apart from this I liked the changes that were made to the plot. The dwarves had greater depth, I could tell them apart, and they were more heroic.

Both children were excellently behaved despite the long running time. No-one needed to be taken to the toilet. I guess in my mind I still see them as they used to be rather than as they are now. Youngest Child figited a bit, but not excessively so. I felt all fatherly when they were scared. Eldest Child found the goblins much less frightening than she had when she'd imagined them in the book. There were hints of giant spiders, which sent chills, but in a good way. I was right to think carefully about whether to take them, but I was also right to book the tickets. I think children deserve 'good scares' which this film provided. It's hard to predict what children will frightening anyway.

Light spoilers follow. I'm not sure how much Radagast the Brown added to the story, though the fanboy in me wanted to see him. Maybe he'll play a bigger part in later films. Plus, while not my favourite Doctor, I look upon the McCoy era of Doctor Who with more fondness than some. While it was fun to revisit places and meet old friends again, it did mean we lost the excitement of the new. Oh look, it's Rivendell again. Like it was last time. While there were cameos by certain people, because they weren't in The Hobbit they had limited effect on the action. The opening scenes, in which we see Erebor before the coming of Smaug, were thrilling, as was the dragon's attack.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
it's good to hear that the children enjoyed it. We haven't got 3 hours where we are all free this weekend, so we'll probably go next Sunday. I've read and seen reviews which have put me off really. The children like LOTR films (they've seen the extended versions on DVD), so I don't thin they'd be scared but it does sound very long, especially as it doesn't cover that much of the book. Will ponder.
Dec. 16th, 2012 10:19 am (UTC)
It was good - and not scary, unless you are arachnophobic. And if your two enjoyed the extended versions of LOTR then they'll like this. It's not that the diversions aren't, erm, diverting - it's just they felt like diversions. Interesting for fans, but there's part of me that always wants to make a story tighter, more lean. It's OK if the films are sold to me as 'extended versions' but sometimes The Hobbit felt like one of those clip shows when characters go. 'Do you remember the time when...' and then we'd have a new mini story.
Dec. 16th, 2012 11:29 am (UTC)
We will definitely see it, may have to take food and drink though, haven't seen a 3 hour film at the cinema for ages. Our local cinema is a Vue so we'll get the special 48 frames, hope it's not sick inducing.
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Dec. 16th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
Yes, you're quite right. And while it felt superfluous in the context of this film, it will make more sense when Gandalf, Radagast et al go to Dol Goldor to deal with the Necromancer.
Jan. 7th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
Now I've seen it I wanted to read your review again. We had rather grown up trailers too, mostly about the American Civil War, but not too scary. We saw the film in the HFR 48 frames per second and in extremely big 3D. I'm not usually very critical of the technical bits of films, but there were some close up scenes that looked actually weird and I felt nauseous during the arial shots of the hidden valley and another fast moving bit. The whole 3D experience was kind of hyper real, like a dream, very bright and odd, but I liked it.

I must re-read the book, it's been a year or so, I was worried that Peter Jackson's visions of the book might take away my personal mental images as I read it at an impressionable age and feel very attached to it. Did you feel that way? Whilst I wouldn't have envisaged some of the scenes the same, the whole Gollum and Bilbo sequence was perfect and none of it jarred for me. What did the children think of it? Ours were very happy.
Jan. 8th, 2013 07:23 am (UTC)
The kids enjoyed it. Eldest Child said the goblins were much less scary than she'd imagined them to be when reading the book.

I've lived with the book for so long that I'll always see Bilbo as I first imagined him. Gandalf however will now always be played by Ian McKellen, which I'm not complaining about. Plus, my introduction to the book was through the ZX Spectrum game anyway so it's always been a multi media experience for me.
Jan. 8th, 2013 09:15 am (UTC)
I found the whole mountain storm and goblin bit less scary than I had imagined, but that may say more about the negative strength of my imagination that the book! Looking forward to the spider.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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