“The Hobbit” disappoints

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In spite of the excitement and expectations leading up to its release, "The Hobbit" disappointed viewers with its lack of character development.

In spite of the excitement and expectations leading up to its release, “The Hobbit” disappointed viewers with its lack of character development.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” continues a universally acclaimed series, but ultimately cannot stand on its own as a film.

Following the huge success of director Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings (LOTR) Trilogy, which netted nearly three billion dollars worldwide, the production of a prequel appealed to the Tolkien-loving public as well as to Hollywood.

The movie is the first in a trilogy that will cover the not-so-vast expanse of Tolkein’s novel “The Hobbit,” which is notably shorter than any other book regarding Middle Earth. It covers the beginnings of the adventure that Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the Dwarvish leader Thorin (Richard Armitage) along with his troop of raucous dwarves take across Middle Earth to recapture the Dwarves’ lost kingdom of Erebor from the vicious dragon Smaug.

Along the way, the merry band battles trolls, orcs and goblins, and Bilbo departs from his troupe to grapple with Gollum (Andy Serkis) to win the One Ring, which caused much conflict in the previous LOTR films.

The Hobbit matches its predecessors in its bold, beautiful cinematography. The film brought the matchless milieu of Middle-Earth to life with breathtaking visuals of Rivendale and the countryside and fear-inducing CGI representations of goblins and Gollum. The cinematography is simultaneously realistic and fantastical, bringing the audience into the fictional world.

But the film is lacking in the character development that earned Ian McKellen (Gandalf) his Oscar nomination for the first LOTR movie in 2002. The original trilogy featured characters that brought a range of emotions to the audience: you cheered for some, booed for others, and sighed for the star-crossed lovers Aragorn and Arwen. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” lacks the same emotional appeal.

While the movie attempts to pull at heartstrings with the plight of the displaced dwarves, real substance is traded for cartoonish villains and dwarvish antics that bring cheap laughs. Granted, Smaug, the novel’s most terrifying malefactor, has yet to make an appearance, so hopefully the next two films will improve upon their predecessor in this area.

The movie’s exaggerations and departures from the original novel’s plot (designed to fill the space of a trilogy) prove to be cringe-worthy for both LOTR aficionados and casual moviegoers. The appearance of the wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) may only astound major Hobbit devotees (he is mentioned only once in the novel), but his sled drawn by giant, nimble rabbits is laughably senseless for all audience members.

Overall, “The Hobbit” is a strong film, but deserves its Oscar snubs. Hopefully the next installment (“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”) will exceed the low expectations set by its precursor and bring the charm of Middle Earth and the depth of the original novel back to the silver screen.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” runs 2 hours and 46 minutes, and is rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and frightening images.

Megan Routbort
Staff Writer

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5 Responses to “The Hobbit” disappoints

  1. Hiro says:

    1. “The movie is the first in a trilogy that will cover the not-so-vast expanse of Tolkein’s novel “The Hobbit,” which is notably shorter than any other book regarding Middle Earth.” The Hobbit is not noticeably shorter than any book regarding middle-earth. The Silmarillion is only 50 pages longer. The Children of Húrin is just as long as the Hobbit. Each volume of Lord of the Rings isn’t even that much longer than the Hobbit.

    2. “Bilbo departs from his troupe to grapple with Gollum (Andy Serkis) to win the One Ring, which caused much conflict in the previous LOTR films.” Bilbo does not win the one ring, he steals it. Also, the way this sentence is phrased makes it seem as though Bilbo intentionally left his group for the purpose of fighting Gollum.

    3.”The film brought the matchless milieu of Middle-Earth to life with breathtaking visuals of Rivendale.” Rivendale? RIVENDALE?!?!?!? IT’S RIVENDELL.

    4. “But the film is lacking in the character development that earned Ian McKellen (Gandalf) his Oscar nomination for the first LOTR movie in 2002. The original trilogy featured characters that brought a range of emotions to the audience: you cheered for some, booed for others, and sighed for the star-crossed lovers Aragorn and Arwen. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” lacks the same emotional appeal.” Please stop comparing the Hobbit to Lord of the Rings. They’re not on the same scale of epic-ness. They’re not the same story. The Hobbit isn’t supposed to reach the heights of Lord of the Rings in character development. It’s a simple story.

    5. It doesn’t say in what frame rate the reviewer saw the movie. People tend of have different opinions of this movie depending solely on the frame rate.

    6. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” continues a universally acclaimed series, but ultimately cannot stand on its own as a film.” The Hobbit is not part of the Lord of the Rings series.

    7. “In spite of the excitement and expectations leading up to its release, “The Hobbit” disappointed viewers with its lack of character development.” I’m sorry that they don’t give extensive amounts of dialogue to all 13 dwarves, many of who don’t serve much of a purpose except as filler for now. I feel as though they very much so developed the necessary characters. Most viewers of the Hobbit have already seen LOTR, so they already know what Gandalf and Gollum are like (maybe even a bit of Bilbo). Thorin has been given a very distinctive personality.

    The only thing I can really think of that brings down The Hobbit is Azog because his character doesn’t seem well developed and his CGI is very animated-looking.

  2. Ethan says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with this review. The Hobbit is SUPPOSED to be more childish and funny than LOTR. That’s the whole point! Also there are dozens of short stories that Tolkien wrote that deal with Middle-Earth that are significantly shorter than The Hobbit. The point of The Hobbit isn’t to get an emotional appeal for Bilbo or Thorin, it is to show their journey to reclaim Erebor. The Hobbit is only important to the whole of Middle-Earth history because of the One Ring. Defeating Smaug and taking back Erebor literally means nothing to the rest of Tolkien’s work because he wrote The Hobbit originally as a stand alone story. Peter Jackson had to tie in LOTR because fans wanted him to and obviously it is set in the same region of Arda only about 60 years later, but it isn’t supposed to insight the same appeals as LOTR. Trying to compare this movie to any of the LOTR movies is like comparing Harry Potter to Twilight. One is clearly more developed and complicated and intended for an older and more mature audience while the other is more childish and is less complex. Now this comparasion doesn’t mean that The Hobbit is bad. On the contrary it is a very good story but I only want to emphasize the point that The Hobbit as a movie should not be compared to LOTR in any way but in the CGI and landscape shots which were better in The Hobbit than in any of the LOTR movies.

  3. Steve says:

    I too saw the movie, and while I share a different perspective, I enjoyed another persons opinion. Unfortunately this author seems to have spent more time on LOTR Wikipedia page than they did analyzing the movie. As an alum I enjoy reading The Review, however Editors please push for more analysis, and less IMDB profiles!

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