I admit that “The Hobbit” was not my first choice of movies to see this week.
I became way too saturated with the far out story-telling and uber-graphics offered in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “The Hobbit” was more of the same movie-making as the trilogy which is to say that it is “big,” clever, and both absurd and beautiful to behold.
Sometimes, though, you have to just watch a movie and appreciate it for its artistry, be it computer graphics, motion-capture or sweeping overhead panoramas of New Zealand mountainsides.
“The Hobbit” is the story of young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his adventure in helping 13 dwarves win back their kingdom.
Faced with the loss of their home — plus tons of gold and precious jewels which they mined and stored in their mountainous home — dwarves will travel long distances and take on tall odds to recover what is rightfully theirs.
The dwarves lost their kingdom to a dragon who craves gold. They must recruit Bilbo, a good-natured but hapless soul, as their resident thief — dragons apparently can smell a dwarf, but are generally insensitive to hobbits. (Who isn’t?)
The team of dwarves encounters elfs (good guys), and trolls, goblins, orks and a very paranoid Gollum (bad guys) along the way.
The bad guys are plentiful, and they are done up wonderfully — they look terrible. This makes for a good, fun tale, but an awfully long movie.
And, you are cheated in the end; there is no payoff. The dwarves vanquish all foes and find their mountain, all for the movie to end to await its sequel.
The film’s visuals are extraordinary, if ultimately exhausting — too many orks and goblins running amok. Freeman is quite funny, but there is too much other superfluous dialogue.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is a good, not great, movie.
Jim Wigge is a retired engineer, Cazenovia resident and film-aficionado, who reviews movies for the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached through the editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.