Yesterday my wife and I went to see THE HOBBIT. My expectation was to see a continuation of the Ring trilogy.
What a disappointment!
The movie was advertised as an action/adventure; and that was a true billing. They forgot to mention that there was no story involved…just action, special effects and adventure.
The movie was two hours and forty five minutes long; which at my age means that even in a good movie, somewhere near the end I need to pee like crazy.
The premise of the movie was that a Dwarf kingdom, under a mountain, amassed a huge fortune in gold from mining operations. A gold loving dragon attacked the kingdom, routed the dwarfs, occupied the mountain and claimed the gold. As the dwarfs vacated the mountain, they were attacked by orcs. A monstrous hand-to-hand battle ensued resulting in the defeat of the orcs, but leaving only thirteen dwarfs alive. These thirteen dwarfs scattered throughout the world of man.
Sixty years later the thirteen dwarfs gather at Frodo’s Hobbit house, at the request of Gandalf, to plan an attack on the dragon and liberate the dwarf’s hereditary home.
That was the first thirty minutes of the movie; at that point the story ends – the rest was action/adventure. (I use the word story loosely: if you can accept a fragmented background without thinking too hard about it.)
The 13 dwarfs, Gandalf and Frodo leave for the dwarf’s mountain and are immediately attacked by trolls. After a fifteen minute scrimmage with trolls (perhaps the best part of the movie) the dwarfs move on and are straight away attacked by orcs riding giant wolves. A battle ensues.
The dwarf party retreat into a cave for safety, but the floor gives way and they are dropped into the underworld of goblins. The dwarfs, Frodo and Gandalf fight thousands of goblins for about thirty minutes. They kill hundreds of goblins without sustaining a single injury, not so much as an arrow nick. They retreat on to a bridge that collapses and they fall at least a thousand feet into the abyss landing on a stone floor: miraculously no one is injured or even scratched. They all recover laughing and continue on their journey.
The intrepid heroes move into a high, snowy, mountain pass that requires them to slink along narrow outcroppings on the face of a shear cliff. Suddenly the mountains come to life and transmogrify into mile high stone combatants that rip off the top of other peaks and hurling them at each other - leaving the dwarfs (and company) hanging on for dear life. This went on for about fifteen minutes. It was totally out of context, and seemed like something cut from a transformer movie that was included in the ‘adventure’ as an afterthought.
The stone fighters turned back into mountains without explanation and the dwarfs move on – unscarred.
As they leave the mountain pass they are attacked by orcs. By now, this doesn't come to any surprise. The battle rages for a good twenty minutes and finally the head Dwarf is injured. At this point Gandalf whispers to a butterfly which summons a flock of eagles. The orcs are routed by the eagles, and the dwarfs, Frodo and Gandalf fly away on the birds.
The eagles drop off the dwarf’s and company on a plateau where the dwarf’s mountain is visible in the far distance. At this point Gandalf uses magic to bring the dwarf leader back to life.
The scene changes to a view of the gold vault underneath the dwarf’s mountain: Suddenly, from beneath one of the massive hills of gold there is movement…and a reptilian eye appears…The End.
I am not usually critical of adventure movies: I like blood and guts and fight scenes, and I don’t demand too much of a story – but The Hobbit made no sense, and after a while the fight scenes were not even exciting.
I think Gandalf should have summoned the eagles to Frodo’s Hobbit house at the very beginning of the movie and the whole group flown to the mountain. This would have made the movie about two hours shorter, and the audience would not have had to sit through back to back and belly to belly fight scenes loosely tied together. That would have given us time to eat our popcorn, drink our cokes, return home and watch the Lord of the Ring’s DVD with a glass of wine.