Lets just cut straight to the chase. Peter Jackson, the director behind the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, is not known for being concise. The Lord of the Rings consisted of three three hour-long movies. While they were all fantastic, sitting through them almost always required a few bathroom breaks. And now there is the Hobbit. What easily could have been a cash-in of the original trilogy’s popularity, is instead being cut into multiple movies. Now, if you’ve read the book, you know that this decision is understandable. While not long per-se, the story is action-packed, and full of narrative. That being said, the movie, instead of being cut in half as many of us expected, is being made into its own fully-fledged trilogy.
Now, if you haven’t read the book, then shame on you. The story is much more accessible than the Lord of The Rings trilogy, and is really an awful lot of fun to read. The story is a prequel to The Lord of The Rings, detailing an adventure had by Bilbo, Frodo’s uncle and guardian, before Frodo was even born. This first movie in the trilogy starts with the beginning of the journey, and follows Bilbo as he encounters dwarves, trolls, goblins, and orcs. Bilbo also finds the One Ring, and, in probably the single best scene in the whole movie, has a duel of riddles with Smeagol/Gollum.
Since this is to be a trilogy, Peter Jackson had a lot of time to fill. In an attempt to make a two movie long book into a three movie long one, Jackson added many elements that were not a part of the story. This would be fine, if the additions were not done the way they were. One of the things that made The Hobbit such a successful book was that it was so accessible. Instead of long discussions on every characters lineage, The Hobbit was a very easy to read, plot oriented novel. The movie however, adds certain elements that are baffling for the uninitiated. For example, there are many instances of orcs and wargs being shown in the movie. In the book, there were no orcs to be seen at all. The addition of the orcs is difficult to understand, because it makes the movie more difficult to understand. There are also a few to many cameos and inclusions of topics and characters from the original Lord of the Rings movies. I don’t want to spoil too much, but a few characters cameos are unnecessary and left me wondering why they were included at all.
However, the Hobbit overall is a fun, epic movie. The CGI is even better than it was in the original Lord of the Rings, and the action sequences are intense and fun. Martin Freeman makes for a great Bilbo, equal parts awkward, courageous, and entertaining. As stated previously the scene between Bilbo and Smeagol in the cave is amazing, with Martin Freeman proving he has excellent chemistry with Andy Serkis, the genius behind Gollum. Ian Mckellen is amazing as ever as Gandalf. Mckellen seems to be having more fun in the Hobbit than he ever did in The Lord Of The Rings, which is equal parts refreshing and disturbing, as Gandalf is not primarily known as a fun character. Yet he does an admirable job, and holds the actors together, as the cast of dwarves features far too many nameless faces.
The Hobbit is a good movie. However, it is Peter Jackson’s over-achieving that is the movies undoing. If the movie was about a half hour to forty-five minutes shorter, it would be great. Yet Jackson has the movie stuffed with so much unnecessary baggage that it drags in numerous places. While definitely still a movie I would recommend, The Hobbit is a movie with a few flaws that bring it down significantly.