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Solid Film, but there are issues.
I think I want to not like this film; there are a lot of flaws with it and were this released ten years ago instead of the Lord of the Rings, then things wouldn't have taken off.

Though, I think that's a large part of the problem, after people enjoyed the LOTR trilogy and talked about the extended footage, they decided to work it in this time. The result is choppy to say the least, it feels like they ended up making two films at once, one which is a children's story filled with Dwarves that have silly names and eccentric wizards and another which is a prequel to LOTR with Thorin Oakenshield trying to reclaim his ancient kingdom while other threats loom over Middle Earth. Neither is bad in themselves but when the two are combined and switched between, it's rather awkward.

The feel is rather episodic which each episode being radically different in tone; one minute they are darting around a field with massive rabbits and the next they are discussing political intrigue. There are also definite pacing problems, in a three hour film, Bilbo isn't really given a motivation for going; He went from ardently refusing to running after them with the contract in hand. After that they spend most of the movie wondering why he's even there. Gandalf narratively has turned into a bigger Deus ex Machina on that front, to the point where most of the time when there's danger it's because he's wandered off to take a piss for five minutes.

I feel disappointed by the CG in this films as well. The Moutain Trolls were nice but the White Orc and the Goblins were over the top cartoonish. The latter were slightly more permissable if they were aiming more for the kids book angle but the White Orc looked like a generic videogame villain. It was disappointing compared to the more human-looking Orcs we saw in the original film and made him less threatening.

The biggest problem was that it never set a tone or feel for itself, yet each in itself was solid. Had Peter Jackson gone one way or another this would have been a great film and it shows through most of the time. If you can adjust yourself between the whiplash between scenes, then the content underneath is nice. The whole theatre was exciting every time they began to sing.

If you were a fan of Lord of the Rings like myself, this is worth a watch.

Otherwise, skip it.
Cartoonish villains?

Doesn't make it a kids movie. The CGI is better then most other films out there. And most videogame villains don't look like orcs.

comment #18194 T448Eight 13th Feb 13
I have no proof, but I would guess that the goblins were designed by Guillermo Del Toro. He never actually worked on the films, but he spent 2 years doing production and according to interviews he must have laid out some sort of visual aesthetic and he's still a co-writer.

(Check out the third image down for example) http://stevyncolgan.blogspot.de/2008/08/devil-is-in-detail.html

I sort of feel like Bilbo did have a motivation as well, he used to want to go on adventure and do exciting things and see the world and after the dwarves left his house, he was worried about the lonely boring existence he'd set himself up for. Even the running makes sense, less because he's that convinced but more, running after people impulsively is something he'd never normally do
comment #18198 TomWithNoNumbers 13th Feb 13
@Villain Design: I meant the design made him feel less menacing than the original film. He didn't look like most videogame villains, he looked however, like something that would be rendered on a 7-5 year old videogame cut-scene. I'm not necessarily CG was half-assed, but the White-Orc wasn't impressive for me and would have been much better live action. The CGI Goblins, I could take or leave.

@Bilbo: Since writing this review, I have read the original Book and Tolkien handled his motivation much better. Gandalf does make clear that deep down Bilbo does want to adventure and I didn't deny this, but the film does play up the conflict which both on first watch through and in retrospect seems rushed. I'm not saying Bilbo's character does do a huge 180 from "That's all Children's stuff" to "I wants to see the little Elves and adventure and have fun", only to flop back around to regretting it. It is handled much better in the book and considering all the other padding that was ended in, this was something which really shouldn't have been downplayed.
comment #18301 Fauxlosophe 23rd Feb 13

comment #18302 Fauxlosophe 23rd Feb 13
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