SPOILER ALERTS. You’ve been warned.
You may hear more about this on my Hobbit Broadcast, but I could not believe the film that I saw last night.
I still hold to the reasons why I was excited, giddy event, to watch a master story-teller at work once again.
All of those factors, however, rely on a good story. I took for granted that The Hobbit would be, at the very least, good.
That was not my experience. A few years ago, after the first 30 minutes of Jackson’s King Kong, I had to turn it off. I blamed it on attempting a distinct style, and failing. I inserted the LotR extended editions back into my player and called it a night.
Apparently it was LotR that was a fluke. [UPDATE 6:23pm: I have yet to see Heavenly Creatures, which I’ve also heard is very good.]
My opinions have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with story. Rather, the pitiful lack thereof. For the record, plot is what happens and story is the meat, story is character development, story is what makes the world go round.
Story is the why.
When you tell us why, when you wink at everything related to the trilogy, when you tell us everything instead of show us (#1 rule of story-telling), you insult the audience.
If you think the material should have been treated differently because it’s aimed for a younger audience, then you insult the intelligence of children.
Let’s start with the spoon-feeding.
Why on earth should we care about the dwarves we haven’t met yet? Why weren’t we introduced to the characters whose journeys we are supposedly following first, given reasons to care about them, questions to ask of them, then shown their history while we learn of their mission?
The Frodo part of the story might have been a good idea if they never talked, or in this case, narrated and telegraphed to the audience exactly what anyone who saw Fellowship gets immediately. Here’s a unique thought: if members of your audience don’t understand the exact reference you’re making as you’re making it (and repeating it, and repeating it, and beating the dead horse), maybe that’s okay. Maybe they’ll watch it again and get it, or maybe they won’t. Strange, that’s a lesson I continue to learn from re-watching the original trilogy.
I could give more examples, at least three hours worth. But here is where I gave up on the movie:
The first camera shot that was completely lifted from The Lord of the Rings. Beginning with the prologue battle and re-creating shot for shot Isildur slicing the ring off Sauron’s finger in Fellowship, to some aerials that I swear were replicas of Aragorn, Gimli & Legolas running, the exact same pull out to Gandalf smoking….these were simply lazy. If Jackson tried to make a statement about cycles of life and death and war, there were better ways.
I am not a purist. I’ve read The Hobbit a few times, and dreamed of Jackson’s interpretation from a jolly good book to exciting adventure.
There is more, and the Broadcast today should be interesting, but this is just a start to my reaction.
UPDATE 6:23pm: I do not even have the energy to discuss the wargs.