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Customer Review

49 of 182 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Unwelcome Gross-Out, 5 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (DVD + UV Copy( [2013] (DVD)
The owners of the film rights of Tolkien's legacy naturally hope that each new instalment they provide will satisfy every demographically analysed sub-section of the massive potential cash cow (I mean audience).

So, in the case of the gentle children's volume "The Hobbit", what's it to be guys? A basically faithful-to-the-book rendition for old-fashioned types - like yours truly - who really only want its look and feel translated into visual format?

A lavish family-friendly epic for casual admirers of the Tolkien 'franchise', with enough easy reference points to this 'back material' for the new 'product entry' to fit seamlessly into the whole?

A 3-D Wide-Screen Tom-and-Jerry-cartoon-writ-large for the Video Game Generation, not overly concerned with plot, character, dialogue, coherence, dramatic tension, authenticity, or anything else save 'awesome' special effects and bespoke cartoon violence?

The sad answer: a mishmash of all the above. This handsome looking, unevenly paced, garishly sensationalist dog's dinner is much more of a nightmare than a dream come true for any real lover of Tolkien. Even those of them, such as me, who liked the LOTR films.

Received wisdom has made us aware of the book's supposed shortcomings for modern adaptation. But has the hectic beefing-up of story, action scenes, back plot, character arcs/motivations etc. made things any better? Quite the reverse. Excessive tinkering has actually only served to show how well engineered the book was/is.

To be scrupulously fair, there are still some traces of wit, beauty, a sense of wonder, not completely trampled into the mud. But enough of the structure and, crucially, feel of the book is annihilated, leaving an admirer of the original feeling depressed, angry and manipulated. And this syndrome unfortunately gets ever worse as the film progresses, meaning that, despite the occasional good bits, the final impression when leaving the cinema is very negative indeed.

One senses a frantic, and toxic, combination of no risk taking combined with throwing in every possible kitchen sink throughout. Any previously commercially successful star in the fantasy movie universe has to be referenced at all costs. Boyish knockabout slapstick; check "Pirates of the Caribbean". CGI superbeings slugging it out: check "Transformers". Simplistic racial conflict plot structure; check "Avatar". Generic quest narrative; check, er, "Lord of the Rings".

Examples of manipulation, all periodically evident throughout the film's entire run time, include: crude signposting of every plot twist; every being's inner feelings and motivations exaggerated and rammed home; every dangerous situation amplified beyond rhyme or reason into the completely absurd, thereby destroying rather than enhancing dramatic tension; totally generic 'stirring' fantasy soundtrack music unsubtly underpinning the action to further stupefy the senses.

Allotting specific blame on the director, or script writers, or producers, or backers of this pumped-up product for its artistic failure is futile. ALL the above, plus others, whatever their intentions at the outset, have combined in some unholy reverse alchemy to foist upon the world not a thing of beauty to be cherished forever (like the book), but rather a tasteless assault course for the senses, a crass base-metal reinvention of a golden literary creation.

And - no, please, no - we're still only a third of the way through!

Thoughtful fans of Tolkien, beware. Do not trust the positive reactions to this artefact from the sensation addicts who are evidently blinded by their dependence on cheap thrills. This 'Hobbit' is NOT the Baggins you know and love.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 44 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Feb 2013 16:54:19 GMT
Dear God get a life - its enterntainment as all storytelling is , not a religous text where no alteration can be acceptable

Posted on 6 Feb 2013 15:06:40 GMT
Loveel says:
Yes it IS the Baggins I know and love. Now even more ;)

Posted on 6 Feb 2013 20:08:12 GMT
Honest joe1 says:
We must have been watching a different film being a Tolkien fan for around 25 years I found the film good( not perfect) and if you take the hobbit in its proper place in the timeline of middle earth a lot of this film makes sense. Also Tolkien himself said the hobbit was too simple for adults and was only a children's book and he himself would have written it differently had he written it after lord of the rings, sure the film has its flaws but very few films don't . I can understand if you disliked the film this is entirely your opinion and there are films I don't like(avatar) that others do it does not mean the film is poor it just means you don't like it.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2013 07:43:28 GMT
Dev says:
I agree honest Joe...I read The Hobbit and all the LOTR books as a child...I was imagination ran wild...I used to wonder what dwarfs really looked like, what orc was if I saw one, what Middle Earth was like...Tolkien was writing legends that the disappeared from England by the onslaught of Christianity...when I was older I saw Troll statues on a visit to Norway...I always thought Trolls looked like the dolls you can buy in Norway Gift Shops...I have some and then the troll toys came to the UK...whenever I watch the LOTR movies and read the books my imagination is satisfied...I am 63 now and went to watch The Hobbit in IMAX 3-D with my grand-son he was he is avidly reading all the LOTR books...wouldn't have happened if I did not take him to see the movie...we have now watched the movies together (I have them all ! and all the books!)...the books and the movies IMHO complement one another ...Jackson never set out to tell the whole story in his him if one child like my grand-son is inspired to read the books would be success...

Posted on 8 Feb 2013 10:20:41 GMT
Perhaps says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 8 Feb 2013 11:19:18 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 9 Feb 2013 22:55:53 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2013 12:00:03 GMT
C. Wise says:
God, please, not another guy with a thesaurus, moaning that's it's not exactly like the book.

Posted on 8 Feb 2013 13:09:42 GMT
M. Hevingham says:
Very intelligent review spoilt by the fact it is supposed to be a review of the home video release that at time of writing is two months away - great how you can review something not even released with such authority!

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2013 14:26:33 GMT
Dev says:
Maybe you haven't heard of the cinema...

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2013 15:23:17 GMT
I am rather disappointing by you little off handed comment. Not least because of the 4 people who agreed with it. You are welcome to disagree with points of view, intelligently. This guy wrote a long and well thought out review. Your response was to blow a raspberry!
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