By Jack Rico
Finally, the long awaited prequel to “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Hobbit” is finally here. Is it worth going to see? Yes, but… Is it worth paying $20 to see its industry changing 3D? Yes, but… Ok, because of it’s 2hrs and 49 minutes duration will the length make you snore at some point? Maybe… So what’s the deal here!? Bottom line is this: If you like epic fantasy adventure, especially the ones like LOTR, then you will enjoy “The Hobbit”. If you’re not into any of these genre films, you’re going to be annoyed and irate at the experience.
This first of three movies, “The Hobbit” focuses on the life of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a Hobbit who journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.
Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who at one point was directing this movie, is now the co-writer and has gifted us with a fun action-adventure tale full of imagination and ingenuity. Regrettably, there is excessive character developments in the first half hour that are just too mentally fatiguing, but from there, it’s a slow, steady climb to a rousing climax. Helping the proceedings is the action sequences that seem to be relentless, and in certain instances, overwhelming. Fortunately, del Toro writes in some spots to allow “breaks” to catch our wind and re-immerse ourselves in the plot.
On the other side, director Peter Jackson, director of the previous three “The Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) films, has improved the visuals from his former trilogy, but not necessarily the pacing. Nevertheless, his use of special effects is a crowning cinematic achievement of epic proportions worth watching.
The LOTR movies are targeted for everyone, but in particular to young adult men. It seems that the more adult working moviegoer, male or female, are not very attracted to anything these films have to offer, especially its duration. They find it too long and complicated to keep up with them. Unfortunately, they are right and Jackson would do better, in broadening the audience, if he did make these films shorter and subtracted some of the excess characters. I’m sure Tolkien purists would disagree.
“The Hobbit” no longer carries the hype status that it’s predecessors did back in the early 2000’s, much perhaps because this is the fourth go around, as opposed to a new vision for fantasy that the previous LOTR films promised, yet director Peter Jackson does promise some new tricks up his sleeve.
New to the mix is Jackson’s much talked about visuals shot in 48fps and HFR 3D. What does that all mean? It means a higher, clearer resolution of image and a more brighter sharper 3D. This is all true except that the film ceases to look like film and assumes the appearance of television video. Moviegoers are divided on this. Old school cats are not going to like the way “The Hobbit” looks, but the LED TV owners aren’t going to mind it at all, since it is what they’re used to seeing it at home. Ultimately, there is nothing like seeing film as part of the theatrical movie experience (I own a plasma for the purposes of conserving the film aspect).
Despite the new 3D which looks like LED TV imagery, the action is the centerpiece of the film. It is an assault on the senses and it is much more abundant than the previous three.
The movie is a fine collection to the pantheon of the LOTR series and purists will definitely enjoy this prequel.
Rated: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date: 2012-12-14
Screenplay: J.R.R. Tolkien, Fran Walsh
Official Website: http://www.thehobbit.com/index.html