Pictured: the chief protagonist from THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. Bilbo is featured, of course. He’s even introduced as the film’s narrator, but I was shocked by how little the story was told from his perspective. Rather the filmmakers opt for Gandalf or Thorin, the characters already versed in adventuring. This, unfortunately, strips the story of most of the book’s humor and sense of wonder (something far more present in the LOTR trilogy).
Many bits of the book are re-written to completely change the nature of the adventure into something less charming and more… over-the-top. With such epic source material, Jackson has always had to walk a fine line to prevent going overboard. In LOTR, he only occasionally faltered. Now, there’s melodrama to spare, as well as at least 30 minutes of plotlines that have no relevance to this chapter’s story. While the adventure is entertaining, it regularly comes to a grinding halt, shifting gears to some new plot or some other character’s perspective.
THE HOBBIT is a fun movie. It’s well cast, has great special effects, and is ultimately an enjoyable return to Middle Earth. It’s just disappointing how many opportunities were missed and how far it falls short of the original trilogy. It concerns me that perhaps Jackson has gotten a bit overconfident, and stopped paying attention to his overindulgences. While I can recommend THE HOBBIT to any fan of LOTR, I would advise them to lower their expectations.
A quick note about the film’s much debated 48 fps (HFR) presentation: It’s godawful. Everything bad you’ve heard about it is true. And this is coming from a huge supporter of HD and 3D.