“The Hobbit” – A Short Review

Note: There are spoilers below, but not until after the heading that cleverly reads “Spoilers Ahead.” Just so you know.

We caught a matinee showing of the first episode of The Hobbit trilogy today at the Palladium IMAX theater in San Antonio (located at The Rim shopping center, near Fiesta Texas). We elected to see the 3D High Frame Rate (HFR) version of the film. This movie is the first major commercial production to be filmed at 48 frames per second, twice the normal frame rate. It’s supposed to result in the capture of more detail, and also provides a superior 3D experience, for reasons that I can’t explain. Let’s agree to call it magic and leave it at that. For $14 a ticket, we had high expectations. Here’s how it played out:

  • The movie is almost three hours long (and with the extended trailer for the new Star Trek movie – which looks amazing, by the way – we were in the theater for a full three hours. That’s too long. Seriously. The first part of the movie dragged in places, although that was’t an issue at all once things got going.
  • Continuing along this line of thought, the movie adaptation of The Hobbit will be presented in three parts, with the next two coming in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This means that you’ll spend just about as much time watching it in the theater as it takes to read the book.
  • Still more about the length: three hours is too long to wear 3D glasses. Someone needs to design glasses that are more comfortable, that don’t mash into your temples in migraine-inducing fashion. But, perhaps I’m simply unwilling to suffer for someone else’s art.
  • The HFR version of the movie has gotten some knocks for being, well, too realistic. Frankly, we thought it was great, and I recommend trying it if you have the option. The movie was beautifully shot and the special effects benefitted from the increase resolution. We also thought the 3D was very well done, and wasn’t intrusive or contrived.

Overall, I rate the movie 3.5 stars out of 5. Technically, it was a 5, but the adaptation of the literature fell short. Perhaps I’m simply suffering from LOTR Fatigue. Longer is not always better, and I think Peter Jackson is doing the book a disservice with his three-part approach. (And I fully expect to catch grief for this opinion.)

Spoilers Ahead

  • The first part of the movie seemed to drag a little, and the bits where the dwarves sang and put the dishes away seemed like something out of a 1950s Disney animated movie…not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, but it didn’t enhance the film and seemed to be filler.
  • As my blogger pal Jen put it on Facebook, the eagles rocked. Truly.
  • The riddle scene featuring Bilbo and Gollum was great, just the right mixture of manic comedy and suspense.
Categorized as Movies