The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Ten things I love about The Hobbit

with 39 comments

hobbit4

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was launched in Sweden on December 12.

I was delighted when I learned about the date. You see, it’s my birthday. So as a gift to myself I made sure to get hold on tickets for the whole family.

You see, I’m a Tolkien fan at heart. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve read the LOTR trilogy, but a rough estimation is that I re-read once every three years. I’m almost as big fan of the movies and have watched them many, many times.

I tell you all this to let you know that I’m unashamedly biased regarding The Hobbit movie. I entered the screening with not only 3D glasses, but also rose-coloured glasses, with a mind set to enjoy my birthday present as much as I possibly could.

There are other film bloggers out there who will pick The Hobbit into pieces, who will mock it and hate it for ever so many reasons. Some of them will do it in a very entertaining way. Some will just be whiny and boring. I’ve already seen it happening and I’m sure more will follow in the next few weeks.

To some extent I can agree with the complaints. This is especially true when it comes to the look of the picture. The 3D/48FPS version does indeed sometimes look like a cheap TV production. It’s too bright, too clear and it doesn’t fit well for a fairy tale themed movie. I think a blurrier, veiled picture is helpful when you need to sustain your disbelief. I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong to try it out. Of course the film industry needs to reinvent itself constantly and look for new technologies that can improve the experience. Development comes with a cost: you need to try things out and sometimes it won’t work the way you hoped. This is one of those occasions.

But I’m not going to dwell any further in the nitpicking area. It’s already crowded there and I have other places I’d rather like to explore.

So here give you ten things I love about The Hobbit

 hobbit3
1. Martin Freeman

I couldn’t possibly think of any better choice for the role as Bilbo Baggins.

2. The Score
When I watched the trailer, the dwarf song sent shivers through my spine. I love that melancholic melody and it turned out to be one of the reoccurring musical themes. I love this music and I could easily listen to it outside of watching the film.

3. Ian McKellen
The party is new and all those dwarves are admittedly hard to keep apart, but fortunately Gandalf is still around and Ian McKellen is as good as ever.

hobbit24. The Shire
We only get a short glimpse of it and I would have loved to spend more time there, but I have to say that I think they really made a great job of catching the spirit of the Shire in all of the Peter Jackson movies. And the appreciation that Bilbo has for his home makes me feel more homely as well – even if my home is sadly lacking in the terms of round doors.

5. The words of wisdom
I never grown tired of the words of wisdom that are delivered once in a while, most of the time by Gandalf, lines such as: “true courage is about not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one.” To be fair this feel a bit like repetition from LOTR, but so what? I’m nodding in agreement anyway.

6. The length
I would have preferred if a little bit less of this time had been spent on fighting-and-chasing scenes, which get a bit repetitive after a while. But at the end of the day I’m a Tolkien fan at heart and want to spend as much time as possible with those people on adventure.

7. The sceneries
Unless you weren’t aware before of how beautiful New Zealand is, you’ll know it after watching this film. I went there in 1987, long before the LOTR tourism boomed. After watching this I’m more keen than ever to go back one day.
thehobbit
8. Bilbo and Gollum guessing riddles
This scene is the high point of the movie. I never grow tired of watching Gollum. To be honest the film version has taken over the book version in my mind. I don’t even remember how I pictured Gollum before the movies were made.

9. The message
The theme that runs through this film is the same one as in LOTR, namely that you don’t need to be a strong, rich and famous to make a difference. A small and insignificant person can end up being the one who saves the world before you least know it. Your life can turn out to have a meaning far beyond what you had imagined. All it takes is courage and faith.

10. The video diaries
As much as I loved the LOTR films, I always thought the best about them was the extra material. Equally I think the video diaries of The Hobbit are absolutely wonderful. It brings you into the illusion that you’re a member of the film crew and that Peter Jackson is a good friend. A wonderful place to be.

So that was ten things I loved about The Hobbit. I could easily list 20 things I didn’t like about it, but I won’t because there’s no lack of such lists and they won’t make me any happier.

All in all I was happy at my birthday present to myself and to me that’s all that matters.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson, US/NZ 2012) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

December 13, 2012 at 1:20 am

39 Responses

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  1. Just came back from it (and have put up my review of it), but I think it could have been shorter….it was too long for my liking (although I’ve never read the books and thus don’t consider myself a Tolkien fan). I quite liked the HFR, although it took some time to adjust.

    Nostra

    December 13, 2012 at 1:24 am

    • I like to spend as much time as possible in Hobbit land. But yeah, if I wasn’t such a nerd, I think this film easily could have been cut down half an hour without losing anything. Some of the orch fights are very repetitive.

      The HFR worked better for me towards the end but I still think the film is too bright and sharp for my liking.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 7:39 am

      • Too bright? That’s funny, a common critic on 3D was the dark picture. Or do you think of the image composition, the specular points on anything shiny?

        The sharpness technically is simply a better image quality, but of course it is contrary to our movie experience so far. It was the very same with the digitalization of cinema (stable, sharp images, steady colours – so un-cinema-like…today I don’t want to see a movie in analog projection anymore, other than for nostalgic reasons) so I think we will get accustomed to this too.

        Hauke

        December 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

        • I know. Usually 3D IS too dark. But definitely not in this case. I think it’s got to do with the 48fps thing, if i got it right. It feels very very bright and clear, not at all the gloomy, dark and misty fantasy landscape you’d expect.

          Jessica

          December 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

  2. Great review, I’ve read LOTR and the Hobbit a few times, not as many times as you though. I’m really excited to see this.

    filmhipster

    December 13, 2012 at 2:23 am

    • Thanks! I hope you’re going to like it. Don’t let all the negative reviews you’re going to see drag you down. There are good things about this movie if you’re alread a fan.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 7:44 am

  3. /nitpicks

    you mean Bilbo Baggins, right? 🙂
    sounds like it was an overall good birthday present 🙂

    Leah

    December 13, 2012 at 8:06 am

    • Sigh. Yes. This is what you get when you toss together reviews at 1 AM in the morning. I figured I’d rather write a quick one about this one before people are completely fed up with Hobbit reviews…

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

      • You also wrote it during the night…I did the same thing…got home close to 1 AM and then still wanted to write….it was pretty difficult to get up this morning to go to work 😉

        Nostra

        December 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

  4. So thrilled that you got a happy hobbit-birthday 🙂 Congrats!

    Sofia

    December 13, 2012 at 10:36 am

    • Thank you! I was very pleased. For a real hobbit birthday I suppose I should have been giving away presents rather than receiving them. But I did pay for the tickets for the entire family, so that’s a kind of gift at least.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

  5. Sounds like a very enjoyable birthday present (and really, given the subject matter is there a more appropriate phrase? :=) ).

    Any comment on the adaptation itself? I suppose I am asking is it more like Fellowship, where I felt they tended to miss things out but pretended they stil happened in the background, compared to the other two films where they often changed things or people (ie Farimir).

    stnylan

    December 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    • Well, there are some things added that aren’t in the book. To be honest I’m not familliar with any of Tolkien’s writings outside of The Hobbit and LOTR, so I’m not sure if those elements are completely new additions out of the fantasy of the filmmakers or if they come from some of the lesser known stories by Tolkien.

      There were a couple of things that felt completely inappropriate, just like in the case of LOTR. References to modern things that shouldn’t be there, such as chips and golf.

      Then there are other parts that are pretty faithful to the origin, such as the dwarves arrival at Bilbo’s place, the encounter with the trolls, the riddle-game.

      I wish they had spent a little less time on some very drawn out chasing and fight scenes. But again: they DO have a lot of time to fill this time. In the case of LOTR they had to cut away huge chunks of story to fit it into the time available; here there are oceans of time to fill and they can afford spending time on insignificant little side stories, scenes that normally would belong to an extended version.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  6. Happy Birthday Jessica! Glad you enjoyed your present to yourself…those are always the best kind! 🙂
    I’ll be seeing this tomorrow.

    Karl Kaefer

    December 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    • Thank you! I look forward to see what you and Vicki will make of it since you’re more into sci-fi and fantasy than the average movie goer.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

  7. Was it really good? Fiffi didn’t like it at all.

    Henke

    December 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    • Fiffi and I often find ourselves on the opposite sides of the fence when we rate movies. We just seem to have very different tastes for movies. Frankly I can’t say what you’ll make of it. If you pressed me to make a guess I would think that your opinion would be closer to Fiffi’s than mine. I think I’m a bit biased being such a fan.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      • I want to love it, I really do.

        Henke

        December 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

        • Then I think you shouldn’t let Fiffi’s negative review keep you from watching it. Go and see it and make up your own mind.

          Jessica

          December 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

  8. When I heard that The Hobbit was being released as a trilogy, I was concerned that success had gone to Jackson’s head and the result would be hours and hours of self-indulgent crap. I am pleased to read here and elsewhere that, while it does go over the top in some respects, there is still a lot to like. I think it gets released tonight here in the states, but I probably won’t go see it until the kid is done with her exams next week.

    Ratshag

    December 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    • There is definitely still a lot to like. Again, which I think is reflected in my review, it’s not the 5/5 movie I rank the LOTR films as. Especially not with the 3D/HFR thingy, which I’m too old and conservative to embrace just like that. But I still enjoyed it a lot. And you’re not prone to hate on movies, so I think you’ll be perfectly fine with it.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm

  9. It’s going to open tomorrow here in the U.S. and I will likely fight the crowds to go see it. I’m skipping the whole “3D/high frame rate” thing and just watching a regular old 2D version, so the biggest knock I’ve heard against the movie will not be affecting my enjoyment of it. This is the movie that I’ve been looking forward to the most this year.

    Chip Lary

    December 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    • I decided not to skip on it, but that’s because I’ll otherwise be forced to see it in a shoe-box sized theatre, which I’m not a fan of. I want screens to be big. But provided you’ve got the chance to see it on 2D on a big screen, I’d say: go for it. Expectations are sometimes not making the experience of a movie any service. It’s so easy to be let down. But I had been looking forward to this the whole year too and while it could have been even better, I was still satisfied enough.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

  10. I haven’t seen this, and I’m not sure if I want to. I saw a trailer and I found the HFR absolutely revolting. I don’t think I could take an entire movie of that.

    Dave Enkosky

    December 14, 2012 at 2:23 am

    • I got used to it after a while. It was worst in the beginning.

      Jessica

      December 14, 2012 at 7:42 am

  11. What a brilliant way to spend your birthday. Watching one of the most anticipated films of the year!

    The Hobbit was a book I read as a teenager and am very fond of it. Think I share most of the same thoughts as yourself on the film. There’s so much to love about it. Peter Jackson’s managed to take me back to Middle Earth, and while I don’t think it’s quite as successful as Fellowship, I’m looking forward to the next two.

    Jaina

    December 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    • The same here! It’s not on par with the previous movies, but there’s enough to love for me to look forward to the next part.

      Jessica

      December 15, 2012 at 9:11 am

  12. Happy bealted birthday, Jessica. I’m glad you liked this movie. I did not. At all 😦

    fernandorafael

    December 17, 2012 at 1:31 am

    • Thanks. This film seems to divide the audience. I’m happy to be in the loving section. Perhaps being such a big Tolkien fan helps a bit.

      Jessica

      December 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

      • Yeah, maybe that’s it. The people I know that have loved it are big fans of the LOTR saga and Tolkien.

        fernandorafael

        December 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

  13. I love your review. “10 things” is clear, succinct and fun to read. I enjoyed your reasons and I enjoyed this film!

    Mark Hobin

    December 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in liking this. I’ve got the feeling that the negativity is dominating the discussion atm.

      Jessica

      December 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

  14. Wonderful post, Jessica!! I saw this before my long vacation and was thinking of doing the same thing (a top 10 list instead of a straight-on review) as I really enjoyed The Hobbit. I’ve actually seen it twice by now and enjoyed the second viewing even more. I didn’t even mind the clarity of HFR though initially I also thought it lost the ethereal quality of the fantasy story, but hey, I was caught up in the journey soon enough so it’s all good! Glad I didn’t read the negative reviews, heh the critics can be such curmudgeons!

    ruth

    December 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    • Thank you Ruth! I’m glad to hear the second viewing was even better. Unlike you I was a bit disturbed by the HFR/3D thing, so I’m tempted to see it again in 2D…
      I’ve tried to stay away from critics, especially certain podcats, which I know are very prone to whining about this kind of “big” movies. I don’t feel as if I’ve missed anything.

      Jessica

      December 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

  15. I also loved The Hobbit, and your list of 10 are easily 10 great things about the movie. I REALLY loved all the villains too. Fantastic character design, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from Peter Jackson. I’d also add a special mention for the Goblin Scribe, who may only have one shot, but boy what a shot it was! I loved him.

    The negativity towards this movie really saddens me, as I loved it so much. It’s exactly what a Hobbit movie should be, and the fact that they’ve been given the go-ahead to do the adaptation over three movies is absolutely unprecedented for a novel adaptation. As someone that almost always thinks “the book was better,” The Hobbit is actually a movie that is allowed to run at a book’s pace. I understand why people don’t like that, but it’s one of the reasons I specifically love it.

    Will

    December 28, 2012 at 1:09 am

    • Yes, whatever problem there is with the Hobbit (there’s no way around that the stakes are much lower) are present already in the book.
      Like you I liked it a lot and I definitely look forward to the sequel.

      Jessica

      December 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

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