It was a gloomy rain-soaked December afternoon in CA (Central Alabama), pretty much ideal weather to lose oneself in a film. And so my husband and I donned our green 3D glasses and watched the film I had long been awaiting–and, as it turned out, in HFR.
I know a lot of my fellow bloggers have been weighing in on their thoughts about The Hobbit after viewing it. I haven’t read most of them because I was waiting to see the film for myself. Not wanting to be a broken record, I decided to do something that’s perhaps a bit different (I still haven’t read all those other reviews): share my viewpoint and my husband’s, the fan versus non-fan, if you will.
First, where each of us is coming from.
Angie’s POV: I first read The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was 14 and I really loved it.I became immersed in that world.
I remember my sister bought me a LOTR calendar with beautiful artwork for Christmas and I kept it for years. I didn’t read The Hobbit until I was an adult, although I do remember reading excerpts from it when I was in elementary school, in a storybook from our school library, featuring whimsical illustrations of Bilbo and the dwarves.
So, I like Tolkien; I am a fan but definitely not an extreme one, just as I am a fan of Star Trek but not a Trekkie. I didn’t see the trilogy in theatres but waited and watched on satellite and I don’t own the DVDs. I’ve never had a desire to dress up as Galadriel or learn to speak Elvish or read LOTR fanfic, not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. I simply save that level of obsession for Mr. Armitage.
He said: In terms of sci-fi fantasy, I definitely prefer the science fiction part of it. I’m just not into wizards and Dungeons and Dragons type stuff. Doesn’t really interest me. I’ve never read any of Tolkien’s books, never seen the movies. I can’t say I’ve been particularly looking forward to this movie. But I know you are, so, hey. Taking one for the team. Because I am that kind of guy.
(Discussion after watching the film)
She said: Thanks for bearing with me. I hope it wasn’t too unpleasant an experience for you. So, let’s get this out of the way– what did you like the least about the film? What scenes would you have changed, maybe deleted?
He said: Well, it was just too long. I think they could have tightened it up a lot. Not necessarily by deleting scenes, but just–shortening them. It’s sort of like, we’ve got all this great CGI and we’ve got this beautiful NZ landscape, let’s keep using it. And the battle scenes started getting repetitive.
She said: Actually, I agree with you. It could have been tightened up in editing. And the fighting did get repetitive after a while. Although I did enjoy that gorgeous NZ scenery quite a lot. And seeing Richard wield a weapon and use it effectively, as opposed to what they did with him in RH, making Guy look a right numpty.
He said: Now they could have left out that whole first dwarf song as far as I’m concerned.
She said: *slightly concerned* “Blunt the Knifes,” right, not “Misty Mountains?”
He said: Yeah, yeah, the one at the table. The other one was fine. They just dragged out the whole thing with the dwarves at Bilbo’s too long.
(She breathes a sigh of relief. Would have hated to argue Misty Mountains with him. One of HER favorite moments).
She said: You mentioned something back at the theatre about being confused about who was who and what and why . . . so you feel as if your lack of familiarity with the books/movies made it more difficult for you to follow the film?
He said: Yeah, even with that prologue with young Thorin and everything, I still felt a bit lost. I was getting all the trolls and orcs and goblins confused, and didn’t understand their place in Middle-Earth. And that–whatchamacallit with Gandalf and the elves–
She said: The White Council.
He said: Yeah, that. It just didn’t seem to add anything to my understanding of what was going on. It seemed like it was just stuck in there so you could have these characters from the original LOTR films to appease the people who loved them.
She said: What about the technology? The 3D, HFR, the CGI?
He said: Well, the 3D was definitely an improvement over what we saw in Captain America. But there were times when I really didn’t notice it that much one way or the other. The HFR–again, I couldn’t really tell a lot. My eyes were watering a little when the film was over but other than that, I didn’t notice any physical effects from it. The CGI–OK, there may have been too much of it at times, but it was very well done. Weta is really good, in some ways better than ILM (Industrial Light and Magic).
She said: I really liked this 3D much better than in CA. It actually did have a dimensional feeling to it. A few times I felt myself jump a little in my seat. In terms of the HFR–I didn’t seem to notice much blur in the movement in the action scenes. I liked that. I had a bit of a headache but I had one before the movie started, so I am not blaming that on the 3D HFR. I think the CGI was excellent, too. Having seen the LOTR trilogy, I have to say Gollum is more realistic-looking than ever. Frightening and pitiable and comical all at the same time.
He said: The Riddles scene was good, but it was too long, too.
She said: I thought Martin and Andy gave strong performances there. I have to admit there were a couple of scenes that got me choked up a bit. When Bilbo reappears and Thorin asks why he did come back and Bilbo says it’s because the dwarves don’t have a home and he does. That got to me.
He said: (a tad sheepishly) Yeah, I have to admit what I liked best were those kinds of scenes. When Thorin’s telling Bilbo he’s never been so wrong and then gives him a big hug, that was an “awwwww” moment for me.
She said: Oh, me, too! We got to see Thorin smile and Richard doesn’t play a lot of roles where he smiles, so that was good to see. And Martin’s expression, feeling as if he’d finally been accepted. I loved that.
He said: The thing is–I thought the dwarves were pretty rude the way they invaded Bilbo’s house. I didn’t blame him for being upset. They seemed like jerks. I don’t think I really care whether they achieve their mission or not, to be honest. I mean, they were just greedy, piling up all that gold. And then the dragon shows up. Sh*t happens. (pauses, smiles slyly) Of course, my favorite thing in the whole movie was the fabulous Richard Armitage . . .
She said: (smirking) OK, I know you’re just saying that to keep me happy. But he was good, you have to admit. I do miss his forehead–the crinkles, the furrows–but it’s amazing how much Richard can express through his eyes alone. You could read a lot about the character through those eyes.
He said: (Nods in agreement)
She said: I do sort of wonder if Sir Peter has a mancrush on Richard. All those close-ups, the noble profile, looking so majestic, so heroic–
He said: But he is the hero! I mean, at least until later in the other films, right?
She said: Yep, and then the gold lust takes over–although he does redeem himself. I did think they ended the film at a good point.
His overall rating for The Hobbit: “Some sort of B. Think it should have stayed two films instead of a trilogy, frankly.”
Her overall rating for The Hobbit: “B+. Strong performances, it’s visually stunning, RA was terrific as I expected–but I feel it was padded, too. Haven’t been won over to the HFR Club yet, either. Sorry, Sir Peter.”
I do plan to see the movie again in 2D at my friendly hometown theatre on a nicer day weather-wise. I confess I was nervous on our drive to the theatre as I knew Benny was not, indeed, looking forward to the film and was only going to placate me.
I had this horrible fear he might absolutely hate it and I’d feel horrible I’d taken half of his only full day off each week to sit in a theatre and suffer. So things turned out better than I thought they might. And it turns out we did see eye to eye on several points. I am sure I will have more to say after it marinates a while in my brain– and especially if I do go back on my own and see it in 2D.