I wonder what type of movie we would have gotten had The Hobbit been made before The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I can only imagine that the movies would have much shorter, much closer related to the books they are based on and subsequently much better because of it. Instead, what we have is a film that is drawn out beyond belief and not for a casual Tolkien fan.
I mentioned in my first review for this movie that it was too long and over-indulgent but even on a second viewing, you can’t get away from it. I love the moments including Bilbo and the Dwarfs and their actual journey but feel loathed to sit through sections about swords or pre-shadowing moments to a trilogy that already exists.
I think that is the issue I have; we have already seen the story that is being hinted at. This isn’t a movie that is pre-cursing one that hasn’t occurred yet, drip-feeding moments for the fans and beginning to preview a much bigger (and in some places better) story. Peter Jackson is trying to fill gaps in a story that nobody was looking for or had noticed.
It’s testament to Peter Jackson that he has this much respect and knowledge of the Middle Earth saga and wants to do it justice but it means that the first movie in this sequence misses some great set-pieces that it could have benefited from.
That is not to say that the set-pieces in this movie aren’t great but if you know the book, you know there is better. For example, the goblin chase is well-realised but the battles with the spiders would be better. Gollum is going to take some beating but I’m sure the first moments with Smaug will manage that.
The other positive of the movie is definitely the cast. Whenever Martin Freeman is on-screen, the movie is better because of it. He is perfectly cast as Bilbo Baggins and manages to transform the character in the almost three-hour running time. Its his character that is going to keep the trilogy interesting, but seeing as the movie series is called The Hobbit, that is how it should be.
Overall, my view of what Peter Jackson is doing with the Hobbit trilogy hasn’t changed. I still believe it is too long and still think that he is being over-indulgent. There are some great moments in this movie but I feel like its missing the better parts of the book because it is trying too hard to bridge a gap nobody really needs bridging.
Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)