Monday, 29 April 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I just rewatched the first half of The Hobbit, and it’s quite the mess. Truth be told, I think it does come together by the end, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch it all in one sitting.

It's hard to pin down exactly what'd ruins the early sections of the movie for me. The "wizard" with bird shit in his beard, who drives a sled pulled by rabbits, is a prime choice for the worst bit. But what really did it for me, and made me actually up and rage-quit, was the scene where the trolls are making constant fart and snot jokes, being the dictionary definition of "mild peril" like this is goddamn Ice Age 5 or Madagascar 6 or Cars 4 or whatever cheap hackney kids movie is in theatres now.

The fact it takes forever to get started, and that Martin Freeman makes the exact same reaction face before and after he speaks every line (hesitates, frowns and sighs,) put me in a bad mood, and then that troll scene finally did it.

However, I stand by it being a good movie. Not just a decent one, but a good one. A movie worth watching. And I got to thinking, how can a movie which deliberately wastes so much of the audience’s time be forgiven for such a thing?

After (literally) two hours of wasting time, the movie starts to come together. Gollum shows up, and afterwards there's something of a final set-peice. Those scenes are actually really great to watch, taken on their own, and truth be told they leave me cautiously looking forward to the next film. Call me a sucker and you'll likely not be wrong, but An Unexpected Journey does pick up at the end.

See, I was thinking about it, and here's the thing. The Hobbit assumes it's already won you over. It doesn't feel the need to achieve anything quickly, or really to do anything at all, because it knows you'll put up with its timewasting bullshit. And people like me do, put up with it I mean, and walk out planning to buy a ticket for the sequel. Because I'm happy to watch a band of adventuring misfits walk slowly around New Zealand for a few hours.

If you can suffer through the worst bits, which there's admittedly a constant stream of early on, and can get past the entire enterprise having the feel of the unnecessary prequel to a better movie yet to come, it does honestly start to become something different once the gang leave Rivendell. I'd say it's worth finishing.

It’s just that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is hard to love.

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