Har. Har har. Don’t you live a good literary pun? Don’t worry, I hate myself for it too.
BUT. It is so very timely. Whilst I know that The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey hasn’t yet arrived in cinemas over much of the globe, we here in New Zealand, AKA the backdrop of Middle Earth, were lucky enough to get the film on December 12th. I would have, in hindsight, loved to have gone to the midnight screening (hell, I would have especially loved to have hit up Wellington for the premiere), but alas, my 8-5 work schedule doesn’t really permit such things. So instead, I patiently waited through the work day… and to be honest, it wasn’t really the top thing on my mind. I have an odd relationship with the story of The Hobbit, I suppose – in that despite my mad rapturous LotR devotion as a (pre-)teen, I could never get into The Hobbit, and didn’t actually get around to reading it until the past year or so. Which seems ridiculous, both to myself, and so many. How can an eleven year old happily gorge herself on the full LotR trilogy, and in the ensuing year or so, teach herself Tengwar and Tolkein’s Dwarvish runes? How can one take a stab at the Silmarillion, but plead ‘meh’ in the face of ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit’?
I just don’t know. But, in some ways, I think that this has set me up perfectly to enjoy the film as Jackson and co. have presented it. I do agree that stretching it out to three films is somewhat absurd. And I did have a few moments of ‘…they must be getting to an end point soon’. But the film was, nonetheless, spectacular. The extra time that the 3 film structure allows means that we get a chance to really get a feel for what’s going on everywhere (love the inclusion of more Radagast et al), and, more’s the point, we get a feel for the darkness building that connects it all the better to the LotR film trilogy. Obviously this isn’t the way it happened in the book, but it really helps give it the more ‘epic’ edge that the film would probably lack if it stuck solely to the goings on and pacing of the novel.
The CGI, by and large, is unquestionably awesome. There were a couple of moments of ‘mmmhmm green screen’, but for the most part, you can really see the leaps and bounds that the amazing folks at WETA have made – Gollum was phenomenal, for one. The scenery was, of course, spectacular – and really reminded me that I really need another road trip around my fair nation some time soon – and the Howard Shore score (one of the things that really never gets old for me) was pretty damn perfect – themes and motifs from LotR throughout, but it still has its own Hobbity sound – Song of the Lonely Mountain, as performed both by the dwarves during the film proper, and by Neil Finn during the credits, was very much representative of that unique sound.
I saw it in old-school 2D, partly because the boyfriend wished to do so for a very sensible reason – after seeing having first seen Avatar in IMAX, he’s been unable to enjoy it in other formats, because the format was so integral to it. So rather than go straight in for full-bore 48 fps 3D, we went the old-fashioned route first, but sometime in the coming days, we will almost certainly check it out in all it’s high-tech glory. Because I definitely want to check out this film again. And slightly shake my fist at the fact that there won’t be another one for a year.