With little more than a week to go before ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ goes on general release the critics’ opinions are hitting the streets worldwide. From tabloid newspaper, to respected literary journal, everyone wants to say something following the recent preview. Now that they are firing off in all directions, we thought it time to pull together the most important points so that the fans can take stock.
You are a fan, right? Thought so, this brings up the first issue. Some critics have found the film overly long. And this is a criticism? OK, the end of the Rings Trilogy did, for me at least, contain one meaningful glance too many that could, maybe, have been cut, but it was not overly long on content. Variety has the film down as having a,
“mythologically dense, CG-heavy prologue”.
For which read: a very complicated opening section that uses a lot of modern cinematic techniques. On the other hand, The Hollywood Reporter says,
“Jackson and his colleagues have created a purist’s delight”,
For which read, equally of the same section: a film written by a fan for fans, from a fan’s perspective.
Initially, I’d be tempted to think, were I not someone versed in the back stories of the Hobbit myth that the film is shaping up into an overblown flop. Well…possibly from a purist film buff’s perspective they want to imply that there are flaws in the cinematography and storytelling style, I don’t know. I have this theory though, that anyone who is prepared to sit through thousands of pages of literature with the specific intent of getting immersed in a fantasy world of labyrinthine proportions, isn’t going to be too bothered that a film is very long and contains great levels of detail; just the opposite.
That said I get the point. It is always difficult to translate books into film in such a way that you do not lose the essence of the read, (or possibly in this case, get so much of it).
What else? Entertainmentwise raises the 48 FPS issue, once more, saying the:
“…format is making cinema goers dizzy.”
This may actually prove a problem in the end. There’s certainly been much comment about it, some of it reported on this site, but none of us will know one way or the other until we meet someone, retching as they fall through the cinema doors! This one does remind me a bit when they released ‘The Excorcist’ in 1973, as we got reports then, most of it over-hyped, of people fainting in the aisles through fright and having to undergo psychological trauma therapy.
“Don’t watch the Hobbit”,
But only because the book’s too good to spoil! Seems like a fair point, but I think we all agree about how good the book is already. As far as I can see, the critics are probably stumped generally by the intricacy of Jackson’s vision. Richard Corliss makes the point in Time Entertainment, incidentally while also giving us an interesting graphic of how Gollum is filmed, (take a look), that:
“Jackson has brought the same capacious vision and maniacal attention to detail [that he did to The Rings Trilogy]”
Hmm…after all that, I was rather expecting to be able to say to everyone reading this, please do / do not bother seeing the film, since the critics have summed it up perfectly as being brilliant / rubbish. Looks like we’ll all have to go and see for ourselves, so that we can make our own minds up. Whatever next?