From a literary point of view, according to most Tolkien fans, “The Lord of the Rings” is not quite as good as the jovial story of “The Hobbit.” The original trilogy was overlaid with a serious demeanor whereas its prequel illustrated the positive and almost humorous life of Bilbo Baggins, the not-so-adventurous hobbit.
So when it was announced that the Hobbit would soon appear in theaters, fans were predictably enthusiastic. The plan was that after delivering the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the silver screen, Peter Jackson would leave to recreate King Kong and then return to work on “The Hobbit.” However, because of earnings disputes with New Line Cinema, “The Hobbit” was delayed multiple times. Then, once it finally got going, director Guillermo del Toro suddenly stepped down from his position within a year of production and was soon replaced by Jackson. The announcement of Jackson’s return spurred a flurry of fantastic ideas of a return to Middle-earth headed by Jackson’s amazing vision.
While the proverbial bar was set very high for Peter Jackson, he managed to fall far short. The movie begins quite well and is almost seamlessly accurate to the early chapters of the novel, but soon, miscellaneous, minor characters are developed and begin to play a major role. For example, in the film Radagast the Brown played a tremendous role, and his involvement in the storyline was blown completely out of proportion. While this was done to tie the stories of “The Lord of the Rings” to this movie, the completely unnecessary amounts of allusion to Sauron’s rise removed the happy nature that the novel founded itself upon. Why Jackson took this approach made little sense.
The story was a bit lackluster and contained too much juvenile humor. The scenes with the obese goblin king only sought to instill anger and portray an unnecessary amount of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Looking back at the original “Lord of the Rings” films made by Jackson, he relied mostly upon good cinematography and filming know-how to create stunning scenes with water effects and realistic fights. However, in this film most of the scenes use CGI, and they take away from the beauty that his films once had. The best example of this is a falling scaffold scene where the entire party of dwarves and Bilbo are holding on for dear life. The scaffolding changes shape, contorts, and expands as if the wood could elastically stretch and compress at will. At the bottom of the drop, after one of the dwarves says, “Well, that could not have gotten any worse,” the fat goblin manages to fall on top of everyone. Examples like this deteriorated the overall quality of the film.
While “The Hobbit” began as only one movie, it ballooned to two films and now to three. It is likely that this movie and its sequels are going to be a cash cow for Jackson and his posse. Sadly, this movie has only earned a not-so-thrilling 6.2 out of 10 and is not worth three hours of sitting to watch. Hopefully, the future holds a better follow up to this terrible start.