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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Hobbit: The slimming of the waist

After being bored rigid by Peter Jackson's first Hobbit movie, I decided to give the second movie a miss on its original cinema run. I wasn't going to sit there again for almost three hours, wondering why I hadn't gone to see the indie movie showing on the other screen. Likely it would have been far more entertaining and made for less than the weekly wage of the average premiership footballer.

And so I didn't catch up with the second movie, The Desolation of Smaug until the DVD release. Once again I wish I hadn't bothered - I'll be selling my Hobbit DVD's and Peter Jackson can stick the third movie where the sun doesn't shine.

Yes the second installment is better than the first but it's still an overlong, often boring slice of self indulgent cinema - what's happened to Peter Jackson? Is it ego that provoked him into stretching out such a slim book into a torturous three movie marathon? Or was it the incentive to get three times the money out of fans? A bit of both I expect and it is obvious that some sequences in the movie, the barrel chase down the river for instance, were designed with the video game in mind. This film is vapid, it's like the celluloid equivalent of a
The original genius Peter Jackson
soulless mega-store - everything under one roof but nothing of any real substance. Watching this movie in the cinema the viewer may come to the conclusion that there is more substance, more nuance and less fat in the popcorn they are eating than what they are seeing on the screen.

Yes the special effects are stunning, the eye candy amazing but then with the money thrown into the movie that  is pretty much a given. What this film, and its immediate predecessor lacks is compelling storytelling which is strange given that its source material is so rich.

The new slim Peter Jackson may have stuffed all those pounds he lost into these bloody movies, which makes them far too much to digest. Jackson looks superb these days but  his creative muse must be missing all those calories - for the sake of movie making Peter Jackson needs to be force fed a few dozen donuts, a brace of burgers and several icky milk shakes on a daily basis. Maybe then we will see a return to the classic movies Jackson churned out on both small and big budgets. And it's not just the length of the movies - I've watched the extended versions of each of the original Lord of the Rings movies and not once did that seem like a hardship, and yet after only twenty minutes with The Hobbit I found myself scratching my ass and daydreaming. The original movies had a storyline that defined the scope of the movies, but the Hobbit, or at least Jackson's Hobbit has as much depth as the X Factor.

The new Peter 'George Lucus' Jackson
Jackson's original Middle Earth trilogy was a lovingly crafted masterpiece but his decision to stretch the Hobbit out to three films has been a creative disaster. Still the movies are bringing in money which is all that really matters in these shallow times. The plot is meandering, the dialogue often cheese flavored and there's a lot of shit to wade through to reach the good bits.

Martin Freeman though is excellent as Bilbo though he really did deserve a better movie than either of the two we've been presented with so far. Some have called Jackson's latter day Middle Earth films bad fan fiction, and I think I'd agree with that assessment - Peter Jackson has become the new George Lucus so prepare to be increasingly disappointed from this point in.


Gregoryno6 said...

Same here. First one bored me rigid, so forget about the others.
The story I read somewhere was that Jackson's backers at New Line were in deep financial trouble and figured that a Tolkien triple hit would bring the gold in once again. So it was that the initial single Hobbit flick became a two and then a three parter.
Well, I guess we'll all know how many raving hardcore Tolkien fans there are by the end of it.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Yeah some people are just praising the movies and I can't see any reason why, other than blind loyalty to the brand. Personally I don't like brands and I think Jackson should have fought to make the film he wanted and not this overly commercial and bloated mess.