This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
-Gollum’s riddle in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Last night, I celebrated the end of the world by getting together with friends for dinner. They came here, and they brought dinner because while I am more settled by the day and finally cooking again, I’m mostly baking and actual meals are as spotty as my posts have been here the last couple weeks. I was at least together enough to have wine on hand (and freshly baked shortbread with whipped cream for dessert–mmmmm, who needs meals with nutritional value anyway?), and the evening was as noisy as this apartment has been, with talking and laughing and more talking.
The talking eventually turned to the first Hobbit movie, which we’d all seen and had some emotional investment in, and it was a conversation full of raised voices and talking over each other and exclaiming.
I offer you the correct opinion about this film.
I really enjoyed Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve seen each of the films at least a couple of times, and I found they captured a lot of things that I love about that story, so I had expectations that Jackson would do well with another of my favorite books. The Hobbit opens with promise. Martin Freeman makes a good Bilbo, and the scenes where he comes to terms with the dwarfs invading his home and begins to internalize their story are engaging and entertaining and have some seriousness to them, too.
Then I was bored for about an hour.
To me, there’s a lot of added backstory that felt like added backstory. There were far, far too many flashbacks. I also started to feel like if another character started in with a ridiculous cliched set of lines while sappy music started soaring in the background, I was maybe going to throw something.
Then there was the riddle scene, which I know so, so well, but found riveting even so–well-acted, well-paced, well-shot.
Then, you know, tired backstory and add-ons started ruining my life again.
My disappointment was not utter, but it was significant. One saving grace is that my godson Maxwell loved the film, and I am very eager to bring another LotR fan into the fold. Of course, he knew nothing of The Hobbit before we went to see the movie, and none of us thought to mention that this was just part one of the story, so when the credits started rolling, he got all, “We’re watching the next movie after the credits, right?” Then when no one answered–we were all trying to figure out how to break the truth to him–he raised his voice and almost shouted, “WE’RE WATCHING THE NEXT MOVIE AFTER THE CREDITS, RIGHT? WHAT HAPPENS WITH THAT MOUNTAIN?”
Which, come to think of it, may have been the real best part of the film.