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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This movie is really, really good. I state that up front so you’ll know I advise seeing it in the theater ASAP. The truth is, it’s possibly better than good, i.e. fantastic. But since I didn’t reach my “fantastic” verdict instantly, I’ll stick with really, really good.

You’ve had this experience, right? Where you formed a tentative impression of a film while watching it, but needed to think about it for an hour or day (or even a week) before you could finally decide? so even if you decide you loved it to death, it seems a bit anti-climatctic and so you can't really gush? Which is a shame, especially for a movie like THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY.

Here’s the thing. I went into the movie with some internet baggage -- to wit, should it really be one movie? Or at the mos two, let alone three, since there was only one book?  Would it be padded? Could the 3- hour running time possibly be justified, given that it was only one book? Was this some sort of commercial rip-off, made three times worse by the fact that unlike the LOTR trilogy, this was only one book?

So that’s me. Internet baggage. 

But let’s pause to have pity on the poor couple who left the theater right after Paul and me. I heard them saying this:

He: Did you know it was more than one movie?

She: I guess it’s two parts. Or maybe another trilogy. I thought it was only one book but I guess they’re making it into more than one movie. I liked it though. I was just -- suprised that it didn't end.

So that’s all you really need to know. Yes, it was only one  book but now it’s three  movies. So while it ends on a good, cliff-haning note, it doesn't actually end (which is a good thing). Yes, it’s long, but that’s okay because it’s good. Yes, it’s too long – but that’s okay too, because it’s really, really good.

Now to the specifics.

Was it padded to justify the length? I don’t think so, or at least, not more than in the LOTR trilogy. Remember the endless scene about the boring goblin-men in THE TWO TOWERS?  Or frankly, the tree scenes, or countless others? Well, Peter Jackson does it again here. I don’t think it’s padding. I think he becomes so enamored of certain creatures (oh god, spare me from the Trolls) that he just keeps going and going with them even after we’re done, done, done. And that's okay, because he's a genius, and I love me some creative genius.

Did it turn THE HOBBIT into a glorified LOTR? I don’t think so. There are shared elements, but the identity of Bilbo permeates this one in a way Frodo couldn’t, or shouldn’t, have done in the LOTR. Plus the stakes seem lesser in this one, in a good way,  although we know tIt’s not ultimately the case (bwah ha ha)

Did it preserve the more whimsical tone of THE HOBBIT, while also creating an epic?   Yes, yes, yes. And herein lies the genius. Peter Jackson did something amazing with this material because of his true love for the full body of Tolkien’s work. No one else could have done this. I bow before him.

In almost every way that counts, it’s a masterpiece. Otherwise, it’s just a really, really good rendition (possibly even great) of the book,  and if you liked either the book or the LOTR trilogy, hasten thee to the theater.


p.s. My point is, just relax and enjoy it. Ignore the naysayers. I can't wait to see it again and know in my heart that what seems like padding, stalling, and all-round desperation is really just love to the nth degree.

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