The Hobbit: TBOTFA

A quick review with not too many spoilers…

Proviso: I have not read the Tolkien series and have zero background to draw from except for my viewings of the previous Peter Jackson movies.

The Hobbit trilogy could have easily been condensed into two, arguably, even one movie. While the movie’s run time was 2hrs 20 mins it didn’t, on the whole, seem quite as lengthy or dragged out as Into the Woods. I’d have to say my favourite part of TBOTFA was the dragon sequence that took up about 10 mins at the beginning of the movie but could have just as easily been tagged on to the end of The Desolation of Smaug. Once that segment was over came the epiphany that Smaug would not be around for the entire film and I would be stuck waiting for the inevitable ‘battle of the five armies’ climaxing with a woefully long 45 minute or so battle scene (ok I may be exaggerating but it certainly seemed that long). The plot turns seemed to echo the original LOTR series far too much – another ‘surprise’ arrival by yet an army and/or saviour you had supposedly forgot about – MEH, been there, done that. The movied did end reasonably well and loose ends were tied up for the most part to offer closure on the series. However, there were far too many characters killed off unnecessarily but I guess I'm a sucker for happy endings.

Luke Evans, Lee Pace and Richard Armitage were distractingly beautiful in this…but the best (and most underused) actor in the series has to be Martin Freeman. He commanded your attention with his understated effort representing the every man both dealing with and thriving in overwhelming and uncontrollable circumstances. Enjoyed the brief cameos by the usual suspects (I’m looking at you Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee). A few annoying characters I could have done without…in particular, Alfrid, an anaemic reincarnation of Grima Wormtongue. While the movie’s visuals were sumptuous they still appeared far too CGI and dreadfully unrealistic at times.  And while I did enjoy the occasional homage to the original movie trilogy, as a Tolkien neophyte I often felt that I was missing something – a key reference, a thought-provoking analogy or a reason to knowingly nod and state ‘a-ha, that explains it’. In this instance I do wish I had read the books first. However, does it make me want to read the books and find out just what I’m missing? Not really. The Hobbit was a pleasure to watch but I don’t think it grips me in the way that ASOIAF does.
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As much as we love Middle Earth.....the similarities between The Hobbit and LOTR trilogy was a bit much....

I need an icon of Lee Pace as Thanduil...just sayin'
Oooh i've seen tons of really nice ones of Lee Pace as Thranduil...i'd have to search again for them though.