The Lord of the Rings movies came out right when I was just discovering a fondness for fantasy books and movies. Right when I was in the midst of extreme Harry Potter fandom, and looking to branch out from those a bit. Maybe. I never actually got around to reading the entire LOTR trilogy, as I remember finding parts of it very dry. But I did embrace the movies with a the focused dedication of someone who really, really wants to have Elijah Wood's babies. I'm only kind of joking.
|He's as angsty as he is beautiful...|
A couple of things are different this time around, though. For one, I'm older. I have boobs now, and I'm decidedly less inclined to the hero worship of random actors. For two, The Hobbit is and never was long enough or epic enough to require a trilogy of movies. What could possibly motivate that?
|Oh that. Yeah. Sigh.|
But, aside from the fact that our line had the most obnoxious movie goers ever--
"DID YOU KNOW THAT MIDDLE EARTH IS, LIKE, EUROPE?"
"I HAVE TO GET OUT OF LINE TO PEE TWICE EVERY HOUR!"
"WHEN I SEE THINGS ON THE SCREEN AND THEN I TALK ABOUT THEM!"
--the movie itself was pretty good. Not great, not nearly as good as the LOTR trilogy, but still quite solid.
I liked the actors, and I liked the story for the most part. I didn't really notice what was missing or what was added (it's been so long since I read the book), so I'm left to just assume it was accurate. If I don't notice glaring oversights, I assume everything is okay. What I do remember about the book was that Bilbo had to prove himself useful despite being small and basically helpless in a fight, and the movie showed that very well. It showed that he's clever and musters up courage when he needs to. But aside from Bilbo, Thorin was always the most memorable character for me, and I really liked how the movie portrays him. Getting to actually see his home get destroyed lent a bit of epicness to the tale that was missing from the book.
The settings are gorgeous, as they were in the first trilogy. The sweeping landscapes draw you into the world and help you to take the story seriously. At the same time, I enjoyed the few quirky touches of humor.
The biggest downside is that this movie feels it's length. The pacing is so slow in places, and it takes a really long time to get going, and even if you are enjoying it you will become tired. While that can be said of all of the LOTR movies, I think this was the first one where I felt things could and should have bee cut to fix the problem.
Giving a recommendation to this movie may be a hollow gesture, since most people know whether or not they like Lord of the Rings by this point. If you liked the first set of movies, I don't think this will leave you disappointed. The story is not as vast or deep, but it's still a great fantasy story, and they are putting a lot of effort into telling it well. If you were not a fan of any of the pre-existing movies, I don't see this one swaying you.