Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief: The Hobbit

A couple of weeks ago, in preparation for the release of this movie, I watched the extended version of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. That actually may have been a bad idea… Don’t go into this movie expecting to see LOTR, because I did and it made me massively disappointed.

Name: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

The plot of The Hobbit is… a hobbit going on a journey to do something with dwarves.  I’m not entirely sure, just from the movie, why Bilbo is important or why this group of dwarves isn’t larger but anyway… The movie is about this group of 13 dwarves that have come together to go and fight a dragon that has taken over their home mountain. That’s actually… the entire plot of the movie.

No, really… there is nothing more. They come together and start to go to the mountain and that’s basically it. Is that a plot ruin-er? I don’t know. I don’t think so. You figure that all out in the first 15 minutes, I guess.

So I think the first couple of obvious questions that come up are:

Question 1: Is it like the books?

I actually haven’t read The Hobbit but I saw it with 3 other people who have read The Hobbit and they were all pretty disappointed with a few major deviations the movie took. They also said that the there had been a few additions that completely didn’t happen in the book and made them fairly central to the story. I’ve never really been someone to get upset when movies deviate from books but I know some people care about this.

Apparently the plot of the book was stretched pretty thin. I can see this being true. It took a really long time for stuff to happen (sometimes). It was like they really wanted a) a long movie and b) 3 movies, but it wasn’t entirely necessary.

Question 2: Is it like LOTRs movies?

Sort of, but not really. It took itself much less seriously than the LOTRs movies. It is a lot lighter and funnier and the quest isn’t as epic. So it is much more fun to watch and probably more kid friendly. But it starts in the shire and all the same characters are there. It has the same feel as LOTRs just less awesome.

What was good?

It was a funny movie, especially Gollum. There is a section where Bilbo gets into a game of riddles with Gollum and it’s just absolutely adorable. The dwarves are also mildly comical and the trolls, too. I also like that they didn’t make a HUGE deal out of Bilbo finding the ring. It just sort of happened, had its moment and then moved on. It set up Gollum’s character in LOTRs pretty well, too.

The visuals were stunning. It was shot in a higher frame rate than all other movies (so you see 48 frames per second instead of the usual 24). This had some definitely downfalls but for landscape scenes it was incredible. There are a couple shots of the mountains that are just breathtaking. Also the shots of the shire are pretty beautiful, too. Any animated character looked absolutely incredible. Gollum and the trolls looked super real! But the humanoids…….. More on them later.

It is super long but it doesn’t get really boring. I only got bored like… once… I think. And I have a super short attention span in movies. I thought it was pretty interesting the whole time but it could have gone on a bit faster. It seemed to dwell on the parts that didn’t need dwelling and rushed through the parts that needed some dwelling.

Martin Freeman did an amazing job playing young Bilbo! He’s so awesome.

What was bad?

I’d like to talk for a moment about the dwarves… Aren’t dwarves supposed to be like a bit frumpy and not super attractive? Because a couple of them were definitely attractive, such as the guy who plays the vampire in Being Human (Aidan Turner). Was this just to make the movie better for girls like me, who like to have something pretty to look at? I don’t know, but it was weird.

Getting back to the higher frame rate. While it made the landscape incredible to look at it completely detracts from watching the real emotion in people’s faces when they are talking because it looks like they are on fast-forward. I kept asking my friends “are you sure it’s supposed to look like that?” It’s really really bizarre to watch. I also found myself getting super nauseous while watching high action and fighting shots.

It’s a super long movie, and a lot happens but I feel like it didn’t add up to an overall interesting plot line. I think the overall plot advanced very little. I was really surprised when the movie ended where it did because nothing really happened. I feel like in the first LOTRs a bunch of crap happened that was way more important than the stuff that happened in this first Hobbit movie.

Overall it feels like what Star Wars 1 was to Star Wars 4 – 6. …Made for a younger audience, less serious, less interesting characters, trying a little too hard to be like the original but still fun and interesting. Definitely something for everyone to see. I highly recommend avoiding the 3D and higher frame rate theaters. It was too distracting…

I’ll give it 3.5 Gollum faces out of 5. I think this would be higher if I didn’t see it in the higher frame rate. It really was *that* distracting. I enjoy watching people really act and get into character but it was almost impossible to do that when it looked like everything was happening just a little bit on fast forward. I look forward to seeing it again on regular DVD or whatever.


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Katie is a graduate student from Canada studying the environment and systems theory. She also loves dinosaurs and baking cupcakes. Follow her on twitter @katiekish

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