The Hobbit 3D HFR (2012) - Peter Jackson

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Back before the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien penned a short (well compared to the LOTR books), quite charming story called The Hobbit, following Bilbo Baggins (a quite ordinary self-satisfied hobbit) who one day is interrupted in his humdrum daily routine by the wizard Gandolf and roped into going on a quest with some unruly dwarfs. Here we have Part 1, running at close to 3 hours with another two films to go and that forms part of the problem with the film.

But before that, I was quite interested in the HFR, especially with the discussion about how it works in conjunction with the 3D. When the film started and we were on the elder Bilbo as he scurried about I was pretty bemused. The sets DID look like something from a BBC HD-TV production, definitely lacking a cinematic feel (which I felt throughout most of the film) but more strikingly it appeared very jerky; However as the film progressed I noticed that less so it may just have been my initial surprise at it. As for the 3D itself it was one of the more competent efforts at it but it added nothing to the film.

As for the film, first off it is far too long. Apparently elements of Tolkien's other books are being integrated into the film as well and you do feel it, with the numerous story strands going on. It's obviously a precursor to the events in LOTR but it has little really to do with the central story being told right then in the film about Bilbo.

Martin Freeman is well cast as Bilbo; having the comic timing needed as well as the ability to portray smug satisfaction/charming bewilderment at the initial dwarf invasion while hinting at something more heroic beneath the surface in the later scenes. McKellen slips into the role of Gandolf like a pair of well worn slippers, exuding warmth and bemusement in equal parts. The problem is with the dwarfs; there are too many of them and they're not very distinct or memorable. Even after the [i]really long [/i]Dwarf dinner scene I still couldn't tell you who was who, apart from Thorin.

In the end I'm probably not the market Jackson is aiming for. I found the LOTR films very long and the story mechanics of travelling from Point A (in picturesque New Zealand Middle Earth) to point B with some chasing/fighting thrown in, did not captivate me. And it's similar in this film, I wasn't overly bored I was just never really invested in the story. I liked Freeman and McKellen but that's slim pickings in a 3 hour film. I felt that technically the HFR robbed the film of a cinematic aesthetic which really I feel is quite effective when telling mythic tales of imaginary goblins and so forth. No doubt they'll be an extended edition to incorporate more in. In the end it's like tarting up a Ferrari with flashing lights and diamond rims; there's nothing wrong with the car itself and it just makes it look bloated and tacky.

3/10

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