Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Hobbit: A mostly coherent account

I just noticed that I'm using the cover for the OST instead of a movie poster. But who pays attention, really?
This being one of the most anticipated movies of the year, at this point, what's there to say about "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" that hasn't already been said? With this in mind, I won't force you to go through yet another movie review- what you'll get instead is a fan of the book's random babbling as I extrapolate- postulate- discombobulate- confound it for the life of me I can't recall the right word, but you get the picture.
I was introduced to Bilbo and Co. during primary school- or elementary school, depending on where you live- by my father, which in retrospect was probably a regrettable move by the former English teacher, as the book knocked Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, and Roald Dahl out of my 'to be reread list', and got me hooked on genres that he doesn't think much of: fantasy and science fiction.

That being said, Hobbit remains one of my favorite books- I actually prefer it to Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion, depending on my temperament at the time. It's no understatement to say that many other fans would be screaming for Peter Jackson's head if he screwed up the movie adaptation. Oddly enough- I liked the movie without liking it very much. Not something I say very often, despite how confusing I often sound. I'm confusing myself with that statement (Only momentarily, mind you).

To sum it up: Jackson took some liberties with the flow of events- which I don't really mind. I don't think I watched the movie for the sake of watching the movie- I simply watched it to see how he'd handle the important scenes- and perhaps grin in recollection. In short, I turned it into a chore- an pleasant one, at least.

Points I was shocked at: The stone giants. I'd forgotten they existed- that comes with rereading LOTR too much (appendix included). I would have laughed out loud in the cinema if my default expression wasn't always set to stone cold. And Kili- nine hells but that dwarve is a looker. Galadriel's appearance was a shocker too- so was the the surprise gathering of the White Council, really.

Points I was pleased with: Martin Freeman playing Bilbo- and of course Benedict Cumberbatch as the Necromancer and Smaug. Having just watched the excellent BBC mini-series Sherlock, I am very, very pleased. I wonder if they'll bring in Moriarty for the other two movies. And of course even the brief glimpse of Smaug is enough to render the puny Nazgul as nothing but slimy black lizards.

Points I'm rather divided over: Gandalf acting like a pushover. I get that in his Grey role he was generally subordinate to Saruman- and of course polite to Galadriel and Elrond, but why did he have to act like a mischievous schoolboy? If I recall correctly- in the book he was forceful enough to force the White Council into attacking the fortress in Mirkwood. And while we're at it, I think Jackson is head over heels with Galadriel. Or Cate Blanchett. Whatever.

Points I'm not really that concerned over but would have liked to see fixed, somehow: the dwarves don't seem to have much personality. Who's who? Kili's the handsome one. Wait, was it Fili? Bombur's fat. Well yeah. I wish the eagles would have talked. Would have been interesting to see how they talk with beaks like theirs. Do they screech their sentences?

Points I'm not happy with: "Fifteen birds in five fir trees..." I wanted to hear that song. Why did the cave troll wear an apron? Radagast the Brown being a tad too crackpot for my taste. Oh and let's not forget the ridiculous Malay translation: Radagast si Coklat. Proof that the language is indeed in need of new words.

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