Teresa and I dressed up in Renaissance clothes and saw the new Hobbit movie at a company party. It was kind of a chore to get through it. Of course, with so many talented artists and so much money behind it all, there were a lot of good things going on, but the bottom line is that it confirmed my suspicion that Peter Jackson was not the right guy for the job. It really felt like Lord of the Rings … again. The action was so excessive, so over-the-top, so impossible, it literally caused me to yawn. All in all, I prefer the cartoon, which, to me, better captures the childlike tone of the book and the simple magic of the world. This movie was all over the place with intense, in-your-face action juxtaposed with forced drama and sappy monologues that tried to tie it all together. Though there were a few moving moments, such as when Bilbo boldly confronted an ork, the story really wasn’t about good versus evil. It was about good versus stupid, i.e., a hoard of unreasonable, warmongering orks, insanely huge wolves that are always barring their fangs for no reason, and a whole civilization of entirely male goblins who spend their lives making hideous faces while being pointlessly and incessantly murderous and mean. How could these civilizations exist? Who does their laundry? How does their economic system work?
I stopped counting the number of times the good guys were thrown through the air or fell a hundred feet, bouncing off of rocky terrain that would have smashed their skulls, only for the camera to cut away to them suddenly on the ground in perfect health, saying, “Ouch!” There was so much peril, instead of feeling suspense, I began to feel that death wasn’t even a possibility, because the heroes were so obviously impervious to anything and everything. There were times when the film making seemed so gimmicky, I literally felt that my intelligence was being insulted. I didn’t mind many of the creative liberties that were taken (compared to the book), but so many of them were obviously influenced more by business than art. Of course the book had to be a three-part series. Of course the movie had to start with Elijah Wood and Ian Holm so that it would fit right in with the other three movies and a future six part Blueray box set.
If it takes as much action-packed insanity as was in this movie to entertain a modern audience, I can’t even imagine what future movies will be like. Filmmakers will probably cut out the stories altogether, and instead of movies we’ll have ballets for men … with swords and explosions. Again, there were a lot of great moments and elements in the movie, but do I care to see the sequel? No thanks. I’ve already seen four of them. Do yourself a favor and don’t see this movie. Instead, go watch a French naturalist film. You might actually walk away feeling uplifted instead of like a Hollywood statistic.