On the way home after seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, all three people in the vehicle rated it out of 5 stars. Some scores were around 3, others were 4, mine was right in the middle at 3.5. This seems pretty low for me considering I am the target market for this movie. Loved the books – own all of them in multiple formats, couldn’t get enough of the LOTR movies – stood in line opening day for all three. I couldn’t quite express why I wasn’t satisfied with the movie that night, but after a couple weeks, I finally figured it out. I kept comparing it to Fellowship.
Before I get to my main argument, there are a couple of minor issues that took away from the movie for me as well.
Everyone is safe.
You know Gandalf, Bilbo, all the miscellaneous dwarves and other main characters are not going to die. You have seen all these people (except the dwarves – to be honest I wouldn’t care if the dwarves died anyway) in later versions of themselves in the LOTR trilogy. So we know Bilbo doesn’t fall and die, we know he keeps the ring and Gollum doesn’t eat him, we know Gandalf and Bilbo keep their swords, we know Bilbo and the dwarves don’t get eaten by the trolls (cuz we’ve seen the stone trolls too). All of this takes away from any suspense this movie wants to create. At one point they are on a cliff and almost falling off, first some dwarf almost bites it, then Bilbo is “cliffhanging”. Except you knew they weren’t going down. I actually laughed at that scene, because we needed more ALMOST falling off cliffs. I remember seeing Fellowship in the theater with my wife (who had not read the books), and when Gandalf went down with the Balrog, she actually cried. Simply wasn’t gonna happen this time.
Little known character, mentioned once or twice in the book. Should be pretty excited right? I get that he’s the “Nature Mage”, but did you have to put bird shit in his hair and have him ride a hokey-ass bunny sled? These wizards are among the most powerful beings on the continent, but this guy looks like he belongs under the bridge looking for cigarette butts to smoke and standing around an old rusty trash can with a fire in it.
The Mucinex Booger King (Goblin King)
Not scared at all. Doubt my 2 year old would be. Probably laugh in his face and then pop a cough drop and ask for a tissue to get the “boogies.”
We’ve seen the whole thing before.
This is the main argument. If we break down Fellowship and Hobbit into very basic timelines you get:
And to steal from Kevin Smith – both version are just a bunch of dudes walking.
Really, there is very little difference in major plot points. I get that the books were written in this fashion, but they were also written in order. There’s also the well documented argument about page length. Hobbit? 304 = 3 movies. LOTR? 1,241 = 3 movies, but I’m not going there. Biggest factor I can see is that Fellowship is more adventurous, more exciting and a bit more suspenseful. Whereas The Hobbit is a terrific introduction to something we have already been introduced to.
I hope the second Hobbit is a bit better, but don’t be surprised when the final scene is in the rain at a big castle with a cool horn and they get saved by Gandalf at the last minute. (Spoiler alert: This should not happen)