Monday, 7 January 2013

Why I hated The Hobbit movie


So, we went to see The Hobbit – ostensibly as my birthday ‘treat’. I stocked up on drinks, popcorn and sweets and stuffed them in my bag (cos, seriously, who can afford to pay the prices they charge at cinemas?)  And James and I got stuck in pretty much as soon as we sat down (oh, okay, before we even got to our seats) and Adrian got cross with all the rustling.  But, hey, you gotta rustle in the cinema, right?

I confess I was doubtful, even before it started.  As I said in my earlier post, I was never a huge fan of The Hobbit (no Aragorn, too many dwarves, etc etc) but the trailer had looked pretty awesome.  But then, I wondered, were they really, truly, honest to godly stretching it out into three parts – each three hours’ long?  Jesus, that’s nine hours’ of cinema for one pretty skinny book.  It seemed a bit unfair.  LOTR got that and it was – what? – seven times longer?

What can I say? I hated it.  In fact, I fell asleep and slept through the most part of it out of sheer disappointment.  Or maybe I was just terribly tired.  I don’t know.
And it got me thinking…why? Why did I dislike it so much?  I don’t read reviews but I know people have said it shouldn’t have been split into three parts, that it was over long and yes, absolutely.  It felt…stretched.  Every scene pulled and tugged until it nearly snapped. 

But it was more than that.  Somehow, it felt as if the very ‘ being’ of the book had been fundamentally changed, pulled out of alignment.  It felt…glossy.  Too glossy.  It felt…epic.  Too epic.  And sexy.  I mean, I seriously don’t remember cute, photogenic, shaggable dwarves in the book.

Be honest - was this how you saw Thorin?
It was like someone sat round the table in Hollywood or wherever, said, ‘Look, we haven’t got Aragorn or Boromir or Faramir or even Legolas, FFS, so what are we doing to do? Who’s gonna be the pin-up?’  Cos, let’s be honest, Bilbo and Gandalf aren’t lust material.  So someone came up with the idea of giving a few of the dwarves a glossy makeover. So they don't actually look like dwarves.  Kinda sad, huh?
Or Kili???

And, ahem, what was with the cutesy big-eyed hedgehog stuff?  That was total utter pure Disney.  Don't get me wrong - I like Disney but in its rightful place, and its rightful place is not, not, not in Tolkien. 

And then all the massive big action movie style moments – the giants slugging bits of mountain; the fights with goblins and wotnot.  In the book they were just – exciting things that happened.  But someone decided that wasn’t enough – they needed to be turned into something bigger, longer, wilder, madder.  It was like they were thinking, ‘Hey, how would this scene be in the game of the movie of the book?’ or ‘What about when it gets turned into a ride at Disney?’  And I guess that’s fine but it brings me onto my last thought…and the major one.

It simply wasn’t representative of the book.  It didn’t capture the ‘soul’ of the book, its essence.  The Hobbit is a small book – one with big adventures and a wide landscape for sure, but its major focus is small, a microcosm – it’s a one man (or hobbit) tale of how Bilbo leaves the safety of the Shire and goes out into the big world to discover…himself. 

And that is what gets lost almost entirely in this movie.  They’ve turned it into a generic action adventure film – it’s Die Hard with sexy dwarves instead of Bruce Willis and with added dragons, orcs and goblins (and, weirdly, a reanimated hedgehog).  And I figure that’s a shame. 

Will I be watching the next two tranches?  Unlikely. 

Now, next question?  If I felt that strongly about the movie of a book I wasn’t even that wild about, should I really go see Cloud Atlas and Life of Pi


15 comments:

Sessha Batto said...

absolutely agree - I love Tolkien, loved LOTR . . . slept through half of the Hobbit. I thought, perhaps, it was the 3D specs making everything look TOO . . . everything but now I think I merely agree with you. It was my least favorite of his books, a small book about a personal adventure, and this Hollywood glossification does it a disservice

Exmoorjane said...

Ha, interesting Sessh. I made sure we saw a 2-D showing as 3-D makes me feel queasy...can't imagine how it would have been in 3-D.
But hey, I know some people loved it so will be interesting to see what they say. Hollywood glossification is a good phrase...it's the contrast between that original cover and the glossy promo pics that says it all for me. :(

Ashen said...

I loved the book and have my own movie in my head, and it didn't cost millions. Hehe.

Jane The Booklady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane The Booklady said...

I do so agree about the point of the book being lost. And I get SO bored with battle scenes and having to watch people being ripped to bits. The thing I remember most from the book was Bilbo's joy at staying with the elves. Hey ho, everybody has a different vision I suppose. (previous comment was removed by me as I managed to type the 'prove you're not a robot' bit into it...)

skybluepinkish said...

I have come to the opinion that there are films and there are books and even if they have the same title and possibly even something along the lines of the same plot they are not the same. They are entirely different beasts. Once I can accept that then I can usually enjoy both (assuming they are any good in the first place). But then I didn't much enjoy the book of The Hobbit and I couldn't be bothered with LOTR after book one.
Gillie

Frances said...

I don't think that there's any chance that I will pay money to see The Hobbit film. I've never read any of the Tolkien books...they did not feature in my childhood. I do think that the book cover you show is quite charming though! I love that distinctive graphic design style.

Now, on to Cloud Atlas. Jane, after reading two reviews of the film, I decided I could not bear to see the movie, since I want to hold on to my huge enjoyment of David Mitchell's book. I think that the film actually disappeared quickly from NYC cinemas. I am thinking that the sibling producers/directors might have a long wait for their next project.

Best wishes to you and your for 2013. xo

Everything czyli wszystko said...

What do you mean Gandalf isn't lust material...

Everything czyli wszystko said...

Should eye seas gro wing my silver hare everywhere then if eye still wanna bonk a gain?

Exmoorjane said...

@Ashen - wise, wise...

@Jane TBL - I liked the battle scenes and people-tearing in LOTR. And yes, Bilbo loved the elves... :) tbf, I didn't like the book much but I hoped the film would be more...magical.

@SBP - Gillie! Wash your mouth out with soap! I just adored LOTR... Funny thing, never read The Silmarillywotsit...I suppose I should.

@Frances - I think I shall probably avoid CA too. Couldn't bear to have nice memories ruined. :(

@ET - there is nothing wrong with silver hare, if washed. His always looks...a bit greasy and smelly. Personally speaking, I'd have it shaved off - could probably fancy bald Gandalf. :D

Andy Royston said...

I fell asleep reading the BOOK. On page 16. :-)

String said...

I have read the entire series too many times to count and have MY OWN images seared into my brain...I am quite happy with them. To tell you the truth I had the same issue when I finally saw Led Zepplin's 'Song Remains the Same' - I had my own images of the four and they did not match...HA! As a visual artist, image is a strong factor in enjoyment and NO Thorin did not look like that...

Lorne Marr said...

Question is: why must Hollywood always turn everything into sterile, generic, form with same character archetypes (the good looking guy, the troublemaker, wise guy, the unintentionally funny guy etc..)? It's not only problem of Hobbit, have you ever seen these new "Sherlock Holmes" movies with Robert Downey Jr.? Character of Sherlock Holmes or Watson have nothing in common with their book counterparts and the investigation? Instead of using brain, persuasion, deduction and slow, but atmospheric pace it's full of unnecessary action scenes and explosions. It's sad how things are need to be shallow, in order to be appreciated by broad masses...

Nigel Summerley said...

Oh dear... I loved The Hobbit... the movie... but then I always thought the book was a bit thin in every sense... the movie isn't really the movie of the book.... it's basically more LOTR movies... (but as you say, with Thorin Oakenshield filling in for Aragorn).... and i guess those of us who loved the LOTR movies just want more.... and don't care how we get it....

Anonymous said...

I paid $1.50 to rent it from Redbox...boy did I get ripped off.