Sunday, December 23, 2012

LOTR (furniture-less) Party & "The Hobbit" Review

If you remember in this post, that is what our living room looks like.  Couch and chair-less.

2 weeks ago we proved that you don't need a finished living room, let alone furniture to have a party.  ;)  we hosted a Lord of the Rings movie trilogy that lasted 3 days, one day for each movie, as a precursor to the premiere of The Hobbit a week later.  We were hoping that our couch would arrive in time for the party, but alas, we found it wouldn't even be shipped until the 19th (which means it's on it's way as I type this!).

So I wrote this on the event page:

"...just to make things more interesting, we have learned that we will NOT have our couch arriving in time for the party (we're currently using lawn chairs in our living room). we have some dining chairs, but in case more people show up than we have chairs for, we can do a "BYOC" (bring your own chair) with a cloth travel chair if y'all are willing. it'll help give you a feeling of camping right along with the Fellowship, right? maybe we should get a fire pit going in the middle of the living room for the full effect? :-P "

Everyone was a super-good sport about it, some adding jokes.  We had a great time and made some good memories, even without a proper living room (go figure, right?  ;-P)

As of last week, we went to see The Hobbit with friends - here's us outside the theater after the movie:

What did we think of the movie?  (Spoiler alert ahead!)

General consensus was that we felt conflicted.  There were some good scenes and a great cast, but too many unnecessary things were added - having Galadriel appear at Rivendell, bringing back Azog/the white orc, etc.

The Good: 
It was a relief that we were given a sense throughout the movie that Bilbo was becoming less timid and finding his own source of courage and camaraderie with the dwarves, which is an important aspect of the book.

Whittling it down to scenes now, scenes we liked were all that took place at Bag End (both with Frodo & Bilbo before the party, as well as younger Bilbo being invaded by the dwarves and making the decision to join them), the history of the dwarves from the Lonely Mountain, and the encounter with the Trolls and the finding of Sting.  After that the film seemed to go downhill, slowing in pace and stumbling around a bit for a storyline until the "riddles in the dark" between Bilbo and Gollum.  It felt like they're really trying to stretch out the money-making ability of the story by having 3 films, versus 3 for the purpose of fulfilling the storytelling and fleshing out the characters of the book as they claimed, which is a big disappointment and makes me have less faith towards the next two movies.

The Bad:
The subtitles seemed overused and were very distracting. For example, did we really need to have subtitles for the orcs? We could have gathered that they were calling for an attack without the subtitles. By the way, they spoke english in LOTR, so why the sudden use of their dialect versus the common tongue of the land??

The Ugly:
We had a big problem with the CGI: SO many characters were animated versus having real actors in costume/makeup (such as the orcs).  It took away from the textile "real" feel to the world of Middle Earth that LOTR had provided. In fact, we were commenting during the LOTR trilogy party about how even a decade later, the CGI stands up brilliantly. But in The Hobbit, a lot of the CGI felt unfinished or forced.

Oh...and the giant stone men who throw boulders at each other, and the poorly animated non-threatening necromancer.  Nuff said there. 

Frames per second: Jackson has been talking about the 48-fps technology in this film for awhile now, so as most, we were curious to see how it'd look.  After seeing it, I'd say the 48-fps worked better in the action sequences and should have only been used there, and used the 24-fps for the rest of the film.  The film, again, looked especially artificial in the non-action sequences.

Characters (or lack there-of):  I never got to know each of the dwarves, let alone by name - they all seem to melt into one massive blur.  There was no emotional attachment to any of them except the dwarf we did get to know, Thorin.  I went into the movie with the expectation that'd I'd walk out knowing each of the dwarves, but alas, they remain an unindividuated lot.  All I had to go on when referring to a dwarf after the movie was "the long white bearded one", "the two young good-looking ones", and the "monkish one". (plus, you shouldn't need a flow-chart to figure them out).  That makes me sad.  One of the great things about LOTR was that despite a party of nine in the Fellowship, you got to know each of them and their personalities, and then additional characters in the story besides.

...Overall, we were disappointed in the movie.  We wanted to like it, truly did, but we felt it could have been so much better, and that Jackson was wasting the talents of his cast in exchange for blow-your-mind CGI and 3D.  I'm glad he's taking this revolutionary approach to filmmaking, because it is amazing technology when used correctly, but it shouldn't have been used in The Hobbit.  We lose all tangibility of the world of Middle Earth, and lose out on a great cast's ability.  I give it a 6.5/10.


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