Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit

Well, of course it's good.

But there are a few quirks. One is the expanded role of Azog. I suppose Jackson put him in in order to "amp up" the "danger" of the piece AND to give gravitas to Thorin but I don't know how necessary he is. If anything it makes it harder for one to take small children to the film because, in general, it's not terribly "scary" without Azog. Again, that's perhaps the reason for his inclusion but I'm suspect of the overall benefit to the story.

The second is the increased role Radagast plays. Not that I mind Radagast, but I find it hard to believe that Jackson would deliberately skip over Tom Bombadil and then come back with a very Bombadilian Radagast.

The other complaints/oddities make sense within character improvement and Jackson's reframing, such as Bilbo's advice to the trolls on cooking dwarfs. I would have very much enjoyed seeing Gandalf ape their voices but part of Jackson's "drama" in this piece is tension between Thorin and Bilbo (which I assume will come to a head with the discovery and theft of the Arkenstone) and having Bilbo save the company a few more times than in the novel is important to that.

However, it is odd that Gandalf sort of more or less pops in when needed (rather than being around more) but oh well, he's a wizard, right? The real deus ex machina problem is that the eagles don't speak at all. Coupled with their double appearance in saving people in LOTR, Jackson appears to simply make them into salvation engines--which is sad specifically because their appearance in The Hobbit and their conversations with Thorin & Co provides so much more explanation for their behavior in the subsequent events.

Anyway, it's a great 3 hour romp. Looking forward to the others.

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