Monday, 31 December 2012

Review of The Hobbit

Imagine a small furry bloke throwing a party and nobody coming. Now imagine a small furry bloke not throwing a party and the world and his dog turning up because Gandalf’s bored. Okay, now imagine a small furry bloke being sent on a quest without a) having the charm of the small furry bloke in The Lord of the Rings and b) having three distinctive and generally likeable companions. Instead he’s lumped together with a bunch of dwarfs (or dwarves as Tolkien called them), three of which don’t look like dwarfs at all – they look like Hollywood leading men. The others are distinguished by having different coloured beards and different ways of tying the beard under the chin, except for the wise one, who looks and talks like a dwarfish Gandalf. Right, this lot go on a very long journey during which, as with all journeys in Middle Earth in those days, they meet Gollum. (You know that The Hobbit is set before LOTR because Gollum has just a little more flesh on him. Not a lot, but it’s there if you look carefully.) At some point they go to Elfland, where they get particularly grumpy because they were expecting to see Legolas and the woman with the lips but all they get to meet is that nondescript Australian bloke who was in The Matrix and bloody Cate Blanchett doing her “Eschew Evil, Little Hobbit” stuff. There are a few skirmishes with plenty of swing-bridges collapsing just in time for the goodies (dwarfs goddamit) to escape and the baddies (orcs, goblins, special effects men) to plunge into the abyss, but no rousing set pieces like Helm’s Deep or Pelennor Fields. After two and three quarter hours, the director, aware that you can only carry over so much goodwill from your previous effort to conceal the fact that nothing much is happening, cries “Cut!” and tells the joke about the fat Kiwi who had the nerve to make three films totalling eight hours from a 200-page kiddies book.

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