2012, Movies

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, Peter Jackson)

This nearly 3 hour film is the first part of a preposterous adaptation of a 310-page novel. I have no idea why anyone thought a novel this short needed to be adapted into three films, none of which are less than 2 hours and twenty minutes in length. It’s one thing to make an epic-length film based on each of the novels of The Lord of the Rings, it’s another thing to make its shorter prequel into three films.

It’s hard to get around how long this film is, especially given that it basically functions as scene-setting for the next two films. Yes, it’s structured better than that, there are set pieces that move the action along and there is a proper climax, which there likely isn’t in the novel, but it’s still about setting us up for what’s next. In some ways it’s just a preposterously long cliff-hanger TV episode.

The production values are obviously excellent though because of the cast being last famous it feels a little like a low rent version of The Lord of the Rings until the cameos of the cast from those other films.

I just don’t think there’s anywhere near enough material here to sustain the length of the film. Though I’ve never read the novel, it feels like each section is stretched out longer than it needs to be. The major impression of the film, despite its high production values, is the sheer length of it.

I just don’t really know why it exists. Why not try to tell the story in a conventional way? Is there even enough in The Hobbit to sustain a 3 hour film? One of the sillier things about these extended universes that we’ve started to experience is nobody knows any restraint. So what if Tolkien wrote additional material about the backstory of The Hobbit? Does it really need to be included.

Just kind of absurdly large for what it is.

5/10 for the production values.

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