If only I had as much writing talent as Peter Jackson has filmmaking talent. Then I could make all you readers sit through a three part review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and love almost every minute of it. Even if it was bloated, meandering and perhaps a little pointless splitting it into three parts.
I finally saw The Hobbit last night at the cinema and I must say I was a bit fidgety, particularly in the first forty minutes before the unexpected journey actually begins. Despite this, it has made me want to re-read the book if not just to see how much Jackson has added in himself.
I’m still angry with Tarantino for what he did to Kill Bill. I really didn’t think Kill Bill Vol 2 worked very well whereas I loved every minute of Vol 1. If he had just kept it as one film, I would probably have loved the whole a hell of a lot more than I loved these two separate parts. As soon as I heard about Jackson splitting The Hobbit in two I was very dubious but then to hear he was splitting it into three seemed laughable.
I loved the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions as much as the next Tolkein fan but that was after I had fallen in love with the original well-paced films in the cinema. Watching The Hobbit felt a bit like watching an extended edition that we hadn’t asked for yet. There were many scenes that felt like they belonged on the cutting room floor and that perhaps one day in the future it would be enjoyable to see on a special edition DVD.
That said it’s still a brilliant piece of filmmaking and there is no doubt I’ll be seeing the next two. But I do wish Peter Jackson had gone for a leaner version. The Hobbit would make an excellent single film I’m sure. And I wonder how kids have managed to sit through this first part of the journey. I read reviews saying it was more kiddy-friendly with all the dwarves making it comical. But that running time was making my mind wander. There were so many scenes that will take all three films to realize their true meaning and value I suspect.
Without a doubt, the most brilliant thing about the Hobbit was the return of Gollum. To all the people I hear slagging off Lord of the Rings, I would argue that no matter what they think about the endless battles, the endless walking and the infinite characters with confusing names, Gollum is the reason to love these stories. He is the character that stands above them all; utterly tragic, convincing and played to absolute perfection by Andy Serkis and the incredible effects work of WETA.
The riddles in the dark scene was perfection. The genesis of all Gollum’s troubles and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is here. Like the scene that opened The Return of the King where we leaned how Smeagol found the ring in the first place, this was completely devastating and immediately made me want to re-watch the LOTR trilogy. Gollum is completely sympathetic and the tragedy of his story all came flooding back when he appeared out of the darkness. Martin Freeman and the dwarves never had a chance of stealing this film from the real star. Although I must mention Cate Blanchett as Galadriel who managed to give a potentially dull scene more spark.
The Hobbit Parts 2 and 3 will have a huge task in making me forget Gollum and I only hope that Smaug will be a memorable villain who might be able to do the trick.
Let me know what you thought in the comments below.