'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Review By Zak Lee Ferguson
An Unexpectated Journey indeed. A Visual Disaster. All passion lost. All that was TLOTR and J.RR gone. Plus side: we still have TLORF Extended Cuts. Those will heal the deep wounds this film inflicts.
Peter Jackson has created an amalgamation of pure beauty, with its beautiful photography, lush landscapes, scaling budget, its infusion with gelling and tying visuals and in camera effects and make up so seamlessly, the visuals so key to the diversity. But what are most notable are its serious rheumatic's and theatrics and counter balancing of many far flung themes and emotions. The Lord of The Rings sprouted out at us, and I way back in my early days, frankness it was the battles, the Orc's, the sword and Sorcery, the scope, the darkness, the music.
It was fantastic, and growing up the Two Towers brought more of that back but when Return Of The King, I felt it, more than just a long-fast paced often Shakespearean- esque dialogue, notably artistically articulate production value and growing of the characters, I found it, what the Lord Of The Rings was. Return allowed my tears to dribble on the parting of Both Frodo, and the battle for Middle-Earth and every fantastical Citroens and vast people, Elves, Dwarves, many a numerous themes all in a seamless conundrum. The cat coughing Gollum, light relief, but also a shrouded vindictive menace, so growing, watching and re-watching both theatrical and Masterful Extended Editions, I have not only experienced it as a mainstream boffin type at a young age, but having grown into my film intellectualism and Film Enthusiasm I can watch it as a film critic, but the honest thing to say is there is no faulty in this series.
The Hobbit arises, the shortest of the series, the eye opening that boot legged the world of The Rings, a bedtime story, so thematically it is counter productive and a difficult dispute, how can you drag out this short, child friendly book and still make it a compatible film in the lore and dimensionality of The Rings series? In two parts- now a bigger problem three? The numerous leading Dwarves, the young Hobbit Bilbo, and the meddling of the rise of Sauron. Can Peter Jackson do what he did with Rings, is there too far a great hoarding and needing for the right adaptation and another instalment.
Who better than Peter Jackson, though a visionary in himself and I a huge fanatic of Guillermo Del Toro, mood hung limp over my expectations. When Peter saddled up, and took reigns, lord, what could have gone wrong?
Following, a teaser trailer that felt lacking, then furthered pictures, vlogs, it all seemed to fit, tight, then the negativity, but this is Jackson , preconceived ideas did formulate within an audience, the rate of film it was shot in, the look and depth to the 3D heightening the scenery and the plastic and polystyrene props.
Ignore all negativity, I found suited. Then the reviews came in, and from what I watched, heard, read, it did stilt my need and excitement.
Peter was the shepherd, but now I was so wrong, all these questions poised are neither answered as pre-conceptually hoped for.
So here it goes, the final result, unpackaging of my 3D glasses, watching the opening, the swooping gliding intro- WarnerBrothers logo, straight forward I knew the 3D would prevail. But what I was not prepared for was possibly the limpest, most dull, most eye hurting, most cheap looking visual disaster I have seen from Jackson, worst of all- THIS IS THE LORD OF THE F*CKING RINGS. The first Hour and a Half is repetitive, long, drawn out, trilling off Gandalfs tongue "RUN!" "RUN!" "RUNNNN!" yes I felt the need to walk, I was angry, tempered, it was lost, the pacing sporadic, Bilbo was neither in hindsight at our foresight, the Dwarves irritated, numerous played by British Thespians, but whether or not, they all where a jumble, either clichéd concepts introduced their singularities or they are just names flung out at you.
The film is rigid, the visuals taking all heart and soul away, the story was blouted and stretched to its widths, the storyline will neither be introduced here or spoken of, we all know the concept so this is the benighted interpretation: Bilbo, dwarves, homeland, Orc that is a big chief, white washed, bump into elves, fights with Orc's, Thespians portray comedic Trolls, Goblin King played by Barry Humphries, Thesps, Thesps, action, a roaring score, a rift or two from Lord of The Rings. Then it ends. IN between a fabulous eye opening cinematic tour de force nostalgic bite that hurts but heals in both much ways with Serkis's return as our two faced multiple personality anorexic dampened but very young Gollum.
To see the return of Our own Mckellen is grandiose, the Grey is a jovial, but also conceptive protagonist, along with martin Freeman, both spark together, a friendship ignited, whilst all Dwarves, counts trailing off my finger tips are weak, bloated (some literally) and scripted appallingly. This is neither tribute to the verse of Tolkien, I being not much of a philosophical -type with it, like some may be on here my dear Movie Webber's, but I know what his verse takes, I have read The Silmarillion, I do not either obsess or conceive ideals and attributes, but what we have here is an over wrought bloated all in good taste non-money making scheme.
I left this film feeling hard done by, in wait for what?
Two more equally weak scripted, over wrought and brought sequels, full of visual distaste, no longer an in camera WETA marvels, grandeur tracking open grassed mountain shots, neither used to inter cut a damned line for creative effect.
Since viewing this last night, (not first day nor first time as per usual for me, as will all previous rings- sad times) I left reeling ratings, 2 stars, no three, no must be five, how come my dear friend TheStonedReviewer (who didn't spark one up this evening might I add) was balled over by it- he neither has seen any Lord Of The Rings, so if he liked this dribble, tiring bland fantasy movie, what would he view as the Rings Trilogy. Mind reeling, this is the outcome, it is not The Lord of The Rings, in such alike, certain parts heal the wounds that cut deep by this knife to the chest film, but do certain scenes and performances and fights sequences and nostalgic trickster inter aspersing cords from Howard Shore's score make up for this headache inducing film? No it does not.
An Unexpectated Journey indeed, one not to be missed, please do turn up with a portable DVD player for the ride home or whilst watching it in cinema, or just pop to the toilet. Or go home and watch TLOTR EC on Blu-Ray, surround Sound and heal those poorly wounds. I know I had to.