How was the Hobbit?

On another, appropriately escapist note, who has seen the Hobbit last weekend?  We plan to take it in later this week in a lull between family Christmas visits.  I’ve heard of people who loved it greatly, who were disappointed, and who were made nauseous by the twice-as-fast photography and rate of projection.  (One can see it without that effect, in the 2-D version.)  I’d like to hear what you thought of it (including your reaction to the special photography in the 3-D version).

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.semicolonblog.com Sherry Early

    I saw it over the weekend in 2-D and loved it. I’d like to go see it again.

  • Jason

    A better movie than I expected.

    The prologue and the shire scenes were first rate. The prologue – and it’s description of life before the Dragon, was better than I expected. The interior of the mountain was better than my imagination. I suspect long time Tolkien illustrator Alan Lee had a big hand in that.

    Rivendell was well done as well. The Eagles were amazing.

    Biggest complaint was that some of the battle scenes – facing off on the plains before Rivendell and in the mountains were too complicated and hard to follow and too long.

    But the Riddles in the Dark with Gollum was worth the price of admission alone – especially Bilbo’s act of pity towards Gollum.

    I ‘get’ what Jackson is trying to do with his interpretation, especially as what I think he sees as a six act, 18 hour long story now.

  • Rev. Jonathon Bakker

    I thoroughly enjoyed it – although I’m not a true fan as my entrance to middle earth comes through the films and not the books. Definitely worth seeing.

    I admit that I felt a bit nauseous a few times in the film, especially during the prologue, and I saw it in 2D. The scenery is spectacular, but the scope is so much and there is so much movement that I had to look off screen for a second several times just to regain my sense of footing.

    Overall, a film worthy of the standard set by the others. I’m looking forward to the next two already.

  • Pinoncoffee

    What Jason said. It was overall very good, with a few parts far better than imagined and the occasional clunker of a line. Some of the fight scenes were kinda silly. I had to look away several times due to gross or intense content, but the photography (Imax 3-D) didn’t bother me. The end credits song was superb.

    It was really good to get to visit Middle-Earth again.

  • Kimberly

    Loved it! Not having read the books (yet), I was very satisfied with the way they told the story; I didn’t sense any storytelling gaps. Some times the intense motion left my head spinning even though it was in 2-D. Definitely worth the price of admission and a great start to the new trilogy.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    See it in 2D and don’t sit too close to the screen and you should be fine. It’s a bit too long, especially in Act I, but it’s worth seeing.

  • Howard

    I found it to be highly enjoyable. I don’t understand the complaints of some that it was too long or slow; perhaps that is because I know the plot in detail and was following along. Those who see the movie and then read the book might be disappointed. I think you have to read the Silmarillion to get everything. I definitely notice the deviations from the book, but as in LOTR I am able to accept them as necessary artifacts of the conversion of book to movie or differences in interpretation. Every time I see Thorin, for instance, I think he looks too young. There are some characters and events in the story to come that are important to me and I feel pretty confident that I will be satisfied. Peter Jackson hasn’t let me down yet.

  • Christopher Martin

    Saw it Saturday afternoon, and loved it. Question about the treatment of the stone giants scene, and if it could have been done differently, but overall impressed and cannot wait until the next part of the story next season. Everything I expected. Certainly helps to have read the book more than LotR though, which I had.

    Will likely grab them all on deluxe extended edition DVDs as they are released, just like we did with LotR.

  • Reg Schofield

    I was blown away . Over all it was more than I had hoped for . Yes there was some padding but just to go back to a visual representation of Middle-Earth and see my child hood friends again like Bilbo and Gandalf , I say bravo Mr.Jackson. The acting was exceptional with the amazing Ian McKellan reprising his role as Gandalf (could anyone else have done it , I think not) and Martin Freeman realing shining as Bilbo. The pacing was decent I thought and the action sequences were very well done . I will be seeing it again over the next couple of weeks and maybe more . So it gets my 10 Gandalf staffs and a good smoking of old toby approval .

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    breaking thread-
    any of our Lutheran business people or charities filing against the HHS mandate —taxpayer $$$$$ for abortion-et al!??

    The Roman Catholics seem to have the “spine” to do it!
    this is just one:
    http://www.thomasmore.org/news/tom-monaghan-and-domino-s-farms-corporation-file-lawsuit-challenging-the-hhs-mandate

    C-CS
    LA LFL

    BTW-been following Thomas More Law and support said organization for some time!!

  • WisdomLover

    I greatly enjoyed the movie, but I thought that it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.

    Radagast with his hedgehogs and rabbit sled and bird droppings running down the side of his face tended to undercut the epic grandeur of LOTR. That was not the Radagast of the books (who, admittedly, we don’t see much of). He was the Jar Jar Binks of the movie. That would be fine if you were going to make it a full-on kids’ movie. The silly over the top action in the flight through the Misty Mountains also seemed more like kiddy fare. It reminded me of Jackie Chan action slapstick.

    At other times, the movie seemed like it wanted to be taken at the same level as LOTR. I know that it’s escapist fantasy, so you never want it to take itself too seriously…that would ruin it. But the tone of LOTR was definitely graver throughout. It was seldom meant to be silly.

    We’d all seen the dwarves in trailers before the movie, so I’m not spoiling anything by saying that they don’t look like dwarves are supposed to look. Not all of them at least. Dwarves should all have bulbous noses and massive beards (even the women), but I understand you can’t really do that in a movie. If they all look like Gimli, it just becomes tedious.

    I agree that the scenes we saw of Erebor were spectacular…the only problem is that they made it look even grander than Moria. But it is interesting that in all the statuary you see in those scenes, dwarves match the expected appearance. They look like Gimli or Thror or Balin. None of them look like the hero dwarf, Thorin Oakenshield, who actually looks like he could be a Man of Gondor (but smaller).

    On a more minor point, I think Thorin in the book was supposed to be older than Balin. You may remember that Balin was the Dwarf, who tried, at the cost of his life, to reclaim Moria some 50 years after the events of The Hobbit. The fight in Moria began at the site of Balin’s tomb. The Balin they have in this movie looks like he wouldn’t make it to that time. Thorin, on the other hand, looks like one of the younger members of the company.

    They’ve left plenty of action for the next two movies, especially since they are planning on including the battle with the Necromancer of Dol Guldor…which was only mentioned in passing in the book.

    I agree with Jason that the most effective section of the movie was the three way interaction of Bilbo with Smeagol/Gollum.

    I think the actor they chose to play Bilbo couldn’t have been better (Martin Freeman, who plays John Watson in the BBC Sherlock series). He captured Bilbo’s reserved fussiness beautifully. At the same time, he’s able to really present the image of someone made of sterner stuff than he at first appears. It’s too bad they could not have used him for the original movie. Bilbo was supposed to be unchanged in appearance on account of the ring’s influence. Gandalf even says so in the first movie. I always thought Ian Holm was far too old for that role.

    I have two daughters who wanted to see the movie. One of them likes to go into full nerd mode, and she insisted on seeing it in a midnight show. She wove flowers into her hair before going. The other was happy to see it a couple days later when it best fit into our schedule, and she was not about to stay up all night or do any flower weaving. As a result, I’ve seen it in 2D (with the nerd, who also has a retro streak) and in IMAX 3D. Neither made me feel sick. Of those two I definitely recommend the 2D. An office mate has seen it in the 3D that uses the new electronic glasses and he says that that’s definitely the way to go. I don’t believe I liked the movie so much that I’ll test his claim.

    Of course, if one of my daughters needs to see it again…

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Haven’t seen it yet, but based on the comments here I’m looking forward to it!

  • Steve P.

    I’ve heard that some moviegoers were nauseated by the 48 fps. The ones who were nauseous, though, were probably already nauseous before they walked into the theater.

  • Michael B.

    @Rev. Jonathon Bakker and @ChrisB

    I plan on arriving early. Do you recommend sitting in the middle or back of the theater?

  • Kristopher Pierce

    I’ve seen it twice already–both times in the normal 2D/24fps. From what I’ve heard, there are a lot of people that are just not used to the 48fps projection yet. Therefore, I recommend seeing it the traditional way first.

    For some reason, I liked the movie better the second time I saw it. I think that is because I saw it at a midnight screening the first time and I wasn’t as awake as I was the second time.

    It’s not as emotionally gripping as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was, but it has its moments. The acting is mostly good. And the special effects are also mostly good.

    I give it three elvish swords out of five.

  • Robert

    Loved it. I’ve seen it in regular 3D and HFR 3D. HFR is the way to go. Looked great.


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