Warning: There will be spoilers!
For the first time since my fanatical teenage years I have been to the cinema twice to see the same film. The film in question is the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Seeing the trailer a few months ago brought on a resurgence of the same flood of excitement that The Fellowship of the Ring inspired all the way back in 2001.
Back then I was an earnest 14 year old fan. But my love of Lord of the Rings had started long before then. My Dad started me on the books when I was very little, he would read them to me as part of our bedtime routine. Unfortunately I grew out of story time before we had finished the story so I had to plough on through the remainder of the novels on my own. It took me a few false start and a couple of years, and by the end I truly felt that I understood the meaning of the word epic, and LOTR was a firm fixture in my outlook of life. When my brother and I were allowed to choose a kitten each, I picked out of a litter, a black fat lazy kitten and named him Frodo. When I walked home from High School weary from double PE I would imagine Strider walking beside me, two rangers on our way to Rivendell. I made up my own tunes to the songs and would recite the ring poem over and over again.
So it was with teenage fanatical love that I sat down to watch the Hobbit, and I happily returned to the familiar and incredible surroundings of Middle-earth once more. I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time and when some friends asked us if we wanted to see it again (this time in 3D) my husband and I thought “why not?” So now having seeing it twice, I wanted to share what I loved, what irked me and give my verdict on 2D verses 3D.
What made my inner fangirl smile:
- Martin Freeman – Perfect casting and acting. British, understated with a little helping of pomposity,
- The Dwarves singing. Whist the cinema was having heating problems (slight issue when sitting down for a three hour film!) the goose bumps that arose when Thorin started singing of “misty mountains” and “caverns cold” had nothing to do with the temperature. It was truly magical, and every time the score was repeated, my heart leapt in response.
- Reusing the Wheathertop set!
- Radaghast – He’s had a bit of internet hate, but really who could not feel affection for someone who saves the lives of Hedgehogs? I think his inclusion was a great advocate for the Tiggywinkles charity!
- The great goblin – a vile and entertaining villain. The whole goblin escape scenes had me spellbound, although it did cause other members of our party to feel slightly nauseated, too much chaotic running!
- Riddles in the Dark – Perfection. Gollum is once again vulnerable, like-able and yet all the time retaining his sinister impulses.
- The dwarves hairstyling – LOTR left us with the impression that the Elves were the ones who were slightly vain, never a hair our of place, flawless dirt-repellent skin. But after seeing the elaborate beard braiding and hair styling of Thorin’s company I think we have to accept that the elves aren’t the only ones putting in a serious amount of preening time!
Petty things that irritated me more that they should
- Galadriel Standing – OK this is really really petty, because I love Galadriel. I like the slow measured way she talks and how she has mastered the gliding walk. What bothers me is when we first see her and she is swiveling around to face the camera. Her dress kind of wraps around her legs and she smiles at Gandalf and kind of waits for his reaction. It just looks like she is posing for the Hobbit Galadriel poster! I don’t know why it bugs me, it just didn’t feel like a natural meeting of two people rather than a “Ta-da! Galdriel is here too! And she is still stunning ethereal beauty!” Just look at her standing there, all blonde and elven! Bask in her gracious beauty….. right now lets get on with the movie.
- Bilbo’s poor sneaking ability – When the Dwarves are camping out in the cave in the misty mountains, Bilbo decides that he wants to go home. He waits for the others to fall asleep and then tries to creep out. And in doing so makes plenty of noise. Hobbits are supposed to be surprisingly light on their feet, able to be extremely stealthy and quiet when they need to be. It’s the skill that allows Bilbo to slip away from the Goblins later on. Yet here he is noticeably clunky. It’s not like he makes an awful clatter, it’s just that he makes scuffling noises as he gathers his things and his steps are not light-footed….he was about as sneaky as I would be…which isn’t very because I am terribly clumsy and have zero spatial awareness!
Ok that was it, obviously I adored the film overall and am counting down the days to when I can return to Middle-earth for part two!
Finally 2D or 3D?
Well I have to honestly say that I prefer 2D. I find 3D too distracting. When the subtitles come on, my head goes “oh look, the words are hovering in front of the people” or later on I am concentrating on which wargs are closer to the front and which are further away. Maybe this is because I am still getting used to it, but I find I am less absorbed in the story because I am focusing on the technology. That said, it is really cool when Gandalf’s faithful moth flies out of the screen and when various explosions cause shrapnel to burst forth.
But yeah, for now, seeing the same film in both settings I prefer 2D. It’s cheaper, I don’t have to wear ill-fitting glasses and there is less to distract me from the story that has held me captivated since I was Hobbit-sized!