The Hobbit (2012)

Tolkien’s The Hobbit was first published in 1937. It is a classic of children’s literature. The novel is never boring, often funny and frequently exciting. It is a page-turner and probably the most approachable of Tolkien’s tales of Middle Earth. I’m reading it again as an enhanced digital download on my iPad (some of the drawings have been re-rendered and colored -CGI for books). It’s a splendid read.

I had a mixed experience today watching Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the novel. I’ll come out right now and say the film is too long. We didn’t need 15 minutes of dwarves raiding Bilbo’s pantry. I liked seeing the cameo appearances of Frodo and old Bilbo (Ian Holm), and the prologue flows nicely into the meeting of Bilbo and Gandalf.

Ian McKellen seems tired in the film. I love Christopher Lee, but I didn’t understand why his magician Saruman returns in The Hobbit. Jackson throws everything at the audience, including 48 frames a second and 3D. I settled for a standard version in the hometown theater.

The cast is fine and the film looks terrific. There are several special moments -the encounter with horse-eating Trolls, plenty of near-misses, Orks, and Goblins, a brown wizard (is that bird crap in his beard?), and the meeting of Gollum and Bilbo. The battle of riddles doesn’t disappoint. Oddly, the film felt flat to me. Maybe I was expecting more. Still, I’m giving this film a decent rating and recommending it to fans of the fantasy genre.

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