It’s easy to have high hopes for The Hobbit, no doubt about that. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was met with massive success, and I have no doubt that The Hobbit will be equally successful in the box office, no matter how good or bad the film may be. The franchise is much more modern than its predecessors, and that is both a good and a bad thing.
First off, Middle Earth has never looked this good. The Hobbit is a visually striking experience that has a very vast and dynamic environment that is ever changing, and is truly an artistic marvel. From the rolling hills of the shire, to the ever so gorgeous Rivendell, the film is visually striking in all aspects. I can safely say that no movie environment has looked this good, or had so much character since James Cameron’s Avatar. Unfortunately, the subtle 3D effect left much to be desired, adding little depth to the world.
For the most part characters are also very well done, and portrayed well by their actors. The star of the show was easily Ian McKellen, able to portray the great wizard Gandalf, but still keeping a witty sense of humor. Every one of the dwarfs had a distinct character to them, making them distinguishable from the rest. Unfortunately, not all characters were likable. I was not personally a fan of Radagast and his acting; I found the character to be portrayed in a very negative manner and was generally unlikable.
Going into the plot is where I started to have problems with the film but let me first make this clear; I loved the book and the plot within. My problems are less with the actual plot of the film, but rather with how the movie portrayed the plot. The movie is very clearly an action movie. I have no problems with action movies by themselves, but in the case of The Hobbit the movie was so focused on the action that important plot pieces were overshadowed.
This is a shame mostly due to the fact I loved the movie all the way up till Rivendell, after that the movie lost almost all essence from the plot and turned into action scene after action scene. It’s not only a problem with the quantity of the action scenes, but also both the length and the cliché nature of the scenes. Each action scene was at least 10 minutes long, with some going north of that number.
This is what bring forward the question, does The Hobbit really need multiple movies? Throughout the whole film I kept thinking each action scene was intentionally stretched to make for a longer film. If each action scene was cut down by a few minutes each, I feel that they could have easily finished the whole book in one movie.
Overall, The Hobbit is a great movie with astonishing acting and visuals, but portrayal of the plot along with the modernization of the franchise is what hurts it. I wanted to love The Hobbit, but all I was left with is an overly long action movie that should have been over a lot sooner.