The Hobbit


Here’s my take on The Hobbit. Granted, it is a bit different from writing about crime or fiction. But, hey, why not?

Probably like many Tolkien fans I approached the film with a fair amount of trepidation. First, the exit, some years ago, of Guillermo del Toro as director, who would have brought a delicious, and darker, style. Along with that came the decision to move it from two films to three.

More recently, were the lukewarm reviews in the media, with most film critics giving it a two or three out of five stars, bemoaning its length and how the film was shot, etc.

I went to the 2D version, thankfully, in Screen 2 in the Savoy in Dublin and enjoyed it almost as much as a hobbit loves a decent plate of fried mushrooms.

It started off nicely, creating out from the book but not from from its beginning, the Dwarf realm at the Lonely Mountain, the internal malaise in the kingdom and the attack by Smaug. It also brought in the division with the Elves in Mirkwood when they refused to come to their aid. It then goes to Bilbo’s home and the arrival of the dwarves, etc.

Jackson exercises his directorial discretion to create a plot line between the leader of the party, Thorin, and a suitably vile Orc chieftan, who’s not in the book. He flashes back to battle scenes at Moria explaining the bloody rivalry. The Orc’s hunt for revenge on Thorin results in some good chase scenes.

Jackson raids other Tolkien sources, such as The Unfinished Tales, to flesh out elements, notably the return of the dark lord to Dol Goldur and expands the role Tolkien gives to Radagast, the brown wizard. Both work reasonably well and whet your appetite for more.

Up until they reach Moria, I’d describe the film as, generally, reasonably good. The scenes in Moria, for me, bring it over the line of good and land the film between good and very good. The scenes with Gollum are excellent and the battle scenes with the Goblin army through the mines are also very good. Seeing Gandalf giving it loads is great. After that we have a final battle scene with the manic Orc chieftan (rather than Goblin army, as in the book), which is also quite exciting.

There are some weak parts in it. I thought the interactions between Gandalf, Saruman, Elrond and Galadriel were a bit stiff. Many of the dwarves look anything but and some of the digital effects were weak at times.

All in all, on a first viewing, a solid three and a half out of five stars, with good prospects for the remaining films.


About Cormac O'Keeffe

I've written a novel. And, it's going to be published. This April. Mad, or what? It's entitled 'Black Water' and is a crime novel set in Dublin's gangland, along the evocative Grand Canal. This blog is about that bumpy journey, which is about to get really exciting. You'll also find some photography on this blog, particularly snaps that relate to my novel, much of it centred along the canal. There are also some reviews, both fiction and non-fiction, many of them published in the Irish Examiner, a daily national newspaper in Ireland. I work as security correspondent there and have specialist interests in crime, drugs, policing, the justice system, communities and human rights. Both my personal life and my professional life have fed into my novel, or, rather, have been poured into it. My novel was granted a literature bursary by the Irish Arts Council in September 2014 and my journalistic work has won multiple awards from the Law Society of Ireland over many years, most recently in 2015.
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4 Responses to The Hobbit

  1. jjtoner says:

    We’re all (both) excited about this film and looking forward to seeing it if we can find my son’s glasses. (Why not 3D?)

    • CJ O'Keeffe says:

      Some 3D films I’ve seen can be bit too much – and then there’s the hassle of either bringing glasses or paying yet again for another pair. Let us know what it’s like.

  2. jjtoner says:

    We went to the 2D version in Dundrum. Good to see a full cinema and the tickets were not overly expensive Euro 20 for the 3 of us. I thought some of the scenes in the film were too long, and should have been cut by the editor. (I dozed off near the beginning). I reckon Jackson must be paid by the celulite inch (joke). The battle scene in the Orcs’ underground kingdom was awesome, totally amazing. The battle of the two rock giants was good, full of peril for the band of dwarves, but seemed to have no relevance to the plot. I thought the Gollum sequence was too long. The dwarves arriving and raiding the larder was fun, but, again, too long. As for the plot, I thought it unbelieveable that they came through all those battles without any of the dwarves being harmed in any way. The scene where the two wizards and the elf king discussed stuff was pretty boring, Christopher Lee’s involvement added nothing to the plot imo, but I suppose it can’t all be action 🙂

    • CJ O'Keeffe says:

      I went again yesterday and actually thought it was better the second time. Yes, it could have been cut, including at the start in Bilbo’s house as you mentioned.I thought the Gollum scene was very good though. As you said the stilted meeting of Elrond, Galadriel, Samuran and Gandalf didn’t work and Christopher Lee in particular was poor. Also, it was ridiculous that Thorin was fine after being savaged, mauled and battered and none of the other dwarves perished. The lack of fatalities is loyal to the book I think.

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