07 January 2013

Defending 'The Hobbit'

In recent days, websites such as SFGate and CNN have named their 'best and worst' films of 2012. Some of their choices are unanimous. How does one approach the judging process? Are they merely opinions? If so, whose opinions? Are we supposed to look at the 'snooze' factors or box office success? Are we reviewing the film maker's artistic and/ or technical approach, script, performances etc..? The Hobbit makes it to some of the 'worst film of the year' lists. My response is: REALLY? Is it just me or you too think it does not deserve it? This Means War, I get it. But The Hobbit? COME ON!

I don't think anyone in the film industry has an intention to make a bad movie so that they can make it to the 'worst film of the year' list. Even Scary Movie and Fantastic Four have its moment. Watching a movie can be a very personal experience. I cried throughout the last movie of Harry Potter, and my friend didn't. She joked that may be she is heartless or may be she is now more mature and a different viewer than she watched the first Harry Potter movie. Some of us, who have already established an emotional connection with story and characters because we grew up with the books, may find the movie adaptations awesome (or not). Other audience watch it because they are forced to, keeping someone's company, or it's a hot day so they may as well enjoy the aircon, or they watch it because someone else told them it's good, or perhaps they got a freebie. Of course, your opinion on a movie is entirely yours. When you've been watching movies all your life, as an audience, you'll know a good movie when you see one. Does a movie move on emotionally? Does it make you think? Does it make you laugh, cry or angry? All these contribute to the way you think about the movie. I went to a baby shower just after I saw This Means War, a mother told everyone it was the best film she's seen in her life. I mean, whatever makes you happy, dearie. Oh and.. I watched This Means War because it was a freebie.

In my opinion, The Hobbit is NOT a bad film and it certainly doesn't deserve to be on the 'worst film of the year' list. I get the movie, I have a connection with the story and I appreciate it. Why do I have to defend The Hobbit? I just have to! I am this tiny insignificant blogger who defends The Hobbit, just like Bilbo defends and fights for his friends.

The Hobbit is certainly a lot darker than the book, which was intended to be a children's book. I enjoy reading Lord of the Rings books much better because it was darker and more intriguing. Some people criticize that The Hobbit took the wrong approach by going for the much darker feel and look, and therefore the 'feel' of the original book was missing. Some scene in the movie certainly reminds you of Lord of the Rings -- the Shire and the Misty Mountain battle. I don't think the mountain trolls were ever funny in Lord of the Rings, do you? Martin Freeman's young Bilbo and the many personalities of the dwarfs make the movie successful. I don't think the quirky nature of the book was completely missing. And it was done as a children's film, it may look like Willow instead.

I am not campaigning The Hobbit to be listed as one of the best films of the year, and if you ask me to be super critical about The Hobbit, I do have a few points to make. I thought the point of view could be focused on Bilbo a bit more, I thought at times the point of view of storytelling was a bit here and there. Some scenes were longer than it should, but that's price they have to pay when the book is split into three movies. The Hobbit is closer to Lord of the Rings movies than the book, but I have no problems with it. No major characters have died yet and some dwarfs are too good looking!! I opted for the non-3D version of the movie, because I don't think 3D movies are worth it in general, unless it was filmed with 3D cameras from start to finish. If watching the movie in 3D is the only choice, I guess I have to suck it up and deal with it. But I did have a choice!

I went to watch The Hobbit without any expectation, I didn't even plan to find any Easter eggs. But I really love the movie. I thought Martin Freeman's performance as Bilbo was fantastic and his Bilbo was more fun. He certainly put his own stamp on the character, which was portrayed by Ian Holmes in the previous Lord of the Rings (who also made a guest appearance in The Hobbit). The Hobbit is about Bilbo's adventure 60 years prior to Lord of the Rings. One of the most anticipated scenes was the appearance of Gollum, and his interaction with Bilbo. It was a great scene. I also love seeing all return of a few characters -- Ian Holme's Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman -- and the Eagles still gave me the goose bumps. Is it just me or do you love seeing the Dragon too? 

The Hobbit tells a great story with great dialogues and performance, the message and the nature of the characters and their struggles stay true to the book. I did shed a tear when the hobbit finally picked up the courage to help his friends to fight the bad guys, so that his friends can rebuild their home. To me, that's a classic hobbit thing. The message is embedded in this movie and the three before it. I wish people would just stop picking things to hate and compare, because The Hobbit just does not deserve to be seen as one of the worst movies of 2012. The Hobbit was a great movie -- the script is not lazy, the production is not lazy, the performance is not lazy -- this movie was epic in every sense of the word!

The Hobbit reminds me of the good things rather than the bad. There were a few cheers from audience at the end of the movie and I walked out of the cinema feeling satisfied. And if the media tells me The Avengers is one of the worst films of 2012, I will start throwing punches! It made it to some 'most overrated movies of the year' though. Whatever! As long as nobody names Twilight as the best film of the year, my faith in humanity remains intact.

1 comment:

Leave a comment, you know you want to! It is the Winchester way.