Last Watch Date – October 12, 2022
Total Times Watched – Thrice
This is about The Hobbit as a whole, not the individual pieces that they released. That means this is a three-in-one! Or more aptly, a one-in-three-in-one because the book is NOT made for three whole movies. Deary me is this an exhausting watch. Let’s get on with it.
Peter Jackson came back to direct this trilogy and tried to loop a bunch of his Lord of the Rings characters into it where they really don’t belong. Not only that, but there were added scenes, sequences, and subplots that really made this a weird story. Everyone knows The Hobbit happens before the Lord of the Rings, and we all know that the one ring and Bilbo are common elements. Even Gollum and Gandalf are common to the stories. Other than that, though, they don’t have THAT much overlap. Not in story and not in tone.
The look of this movie is odd. It’s almost like a candy-coated darkness which makes you think “oh they did this to lure in some children” (because, you know, The Hobbit is a children’s book), but then there is some seriously dark and disturbing stuff going on throughout. What was maybe a decent idea of getting more viewers ends up alienating adults who want a more serious take with the goofiness, zaniness, and saccharine subplots and overall look. As is so frequently the case, the execution betrayed the idea.
I already mentioned there are Lord of the Rings elements in this that tie the stories together, but do we really need that? What does it actually add to this trilogy? We get some side battles with Gandalf, Galadriel, Elron, and Legolas. In fact, we get a LOT of Legolas. Too much, if you ask me. Legolas is already extremely powerful in the Lord of the Rings, but he’s a full-on super hero in The Hobbit. This is a guy who can single-handedly fight an entire Orc army whilst simultaneously dancing and balancing on dwarf heads who are floating down a white water river. A guy who can use a giant troll to smash a tower, then jump on that tower so he can climb across and save his beloved Tauriel. It’s too much and too stupid.
Speaking of stupid, there are a bunch of sequences that are so over-the-top and stupid, not only that they add nothing to the plot, but they actively detract from an enjoyable experience. It adds a layer of silliness that doesn’t need to belong. I’m thinking specifically of the barrel scene and the melted gold with Smaug. Unfortunately, those are only two of the most disgusting offenders and this trilogy is chock full of ’em. You get a taste in the first movie with the Goblin King and his minions. If you make it that far without turning it off and still enjoy things, keep it going because you’re getting more of that inanity.
But let’s not forget the stupidest piece of this movie: the shoehorned love story between Tauriel and Kili. Tauriel is a brand new character that only exists to fall in love with a dwarf and to scold the Elf King. That’s it. Her role in things is pointless and serves up poor melodrama for Legolas who loves her and Kili who also loves her. Also that she’s an Elf and they don’t fall in love with dwarves! We had this same racial love story in Lord of the Rings, but that was done infinitely better. Maybe because it felt more serious throughout the story and less tacked on. Or maybe Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen are better actors.
The overall structure of the story does come through if you squint. And maybe if someone did a fan edit (spoiler: there are many of them) that took out all of the Jackson cruft and stuck to the story, we’d have an enjoyable ONE movie portrayal. The confusing tone and timeline fluffing makes this an incredible slog to get through. I’ve now done it three times. I don’t know if I can do it again.
When you think of The Hobbit, you think of a story of Bilbo Baggins. This trilogy does have his story, but it’s overshadowed by everything else. It doesn’t feel like a story about a Hobbit, he just happens to be a character in a Lord of the Rings prequel.
As much as I want to, no. The book itself isn’t even that good, but this version of events with all the story padding and mixed tone is not a good way to learn about little Bilbo and his big adventure.