Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year! Now, let's talk about The Hobbit

1. Ten minutes of quaint Shire stuff just to link it to the previous trilogy? Why couldn't it just stand on its own, and people who saw the trilogy could find their own links, rather than being hit over the head with them multiple times throughout the movie? "Look, here's Frodo! (whonk) Look, the Grey Wizard is being an asshole, maybe he's already turning evil! (whonk)"
2. Never in all three trilogy movies did I ever think "God, those are awful prosthetic Hobbit feet." I stopped counting this time after four or five scenes with awful feet. Seriously, those were some hairy, hairy rubber feet, and Martin Freeman is not a hairy individual. There was a visible line where you went from smooth Martin Freeman legs to hairy gross Bilbo feet. And they didn't seem to flex as much as previous ones, so all the Hobbits had this weird gait, especially when running. Sort of looked like they were wearing snowshoes or something. Hairy, hairy snowshoes.
3. Hobbit household tip #1 - put a fucking lock on your door, and a peephole would be a good idea, too.
4. Hobbit personal growth tip #1 - learn how to say "Get the fuck out" and mean it.
5. Who gets up late for a journey, hurriedly dresses and packs, and chooses a three-piece suit as the perfect questing gear? With an ascot?
6. Oh, look. They're stuck on a ledge in the mountains getting rained or snowed on. What, does Peter Jackson have some sort of Questing Checklist? Stuck in dire situation in miserable weather? Check. Walking across a ridge silhouetted against the sky? Check. Running across a plain while filmed from a helicopter? Check. (sigh)
7. "Hi, my name is Radegast the Brown. I'm mentioned in one sentence in the book, but Peter Jackson needed extra stuff to pad out the movie, so I get to be in The Hobbit for 10 minutes with a not-terribly-realistic CGI hedgehog. I allow birds to poop down my face, and think my rickety wooden sled pulled by fucking rabbits will outrun a bunch of bloodlust-crazed giant wolf things on uneven ground. I am batshit insane. Or maybe that should be birdshit insane."
8. Oh, look. They popped out of a crack in the rock into a ... really obviously fake backdrop of Rivendell. I mean, I've seen canvas stage sets that looked more realistic than this.
9. Someone explain to me why the only women in the movie are either standing around in the Shire, or playing the harp or pouring wine in Rivendell. Oh, or you can stand around being all ethereally beautiful and obscure and not terribly useful, if that's your thing (ahem, Galadriel).
10. Rivendell does have that nice little rotunda/gazebo thing with the stream flowing around it, though. I'll take one of those for my backyard.
11. Is it just me, or did all these ancient Middle Earth people find the most obscure, difficult to reach locations to put their major cities? Has no one ever heard of putting a city somewhere convenient, like, I don't know, on a harbor, or at the confluence of navigable rivers? No, let's put the city on the side of a mountain that goes straight up a million miles into the air. Drop a coin from the top of the towers and you could kill someone lower down. And everyone there must have Buns of Steel ... and Calves of Copper, and Lungs of Mithril. Sure, put a nice fortress up in the mountains, but geez, EVERYONE appears to live in these inaccessible mountain strongholds, and then the fertile plains all around are completely empty.
12. I love the Goblin King. He's all wobbledy-dobbledy and funny and has actual expressions (unlike some orcs I could name). The Goblins crack me up in general. And that's a problem, because I'm supposed to be all terrified of them rending me into pieces and cracking my bones for their bread and stuff. Instead I keep thinking, "Oh, look, they're like slimy orangutans! Awwwww!"
13. There's a 20-minute chase through Goblinville (or at least it felt like that long - I actually started twiddling my thumbs by the end, and you know how long it takes for that to happen), and they don't accidentally lose even ONE dwarf or wizard? What are the odds of that happening? If Joss Whedon was directing, you'd have lost at least one or two of the funny ones in some sort of poignant and/or self-sacrificing way. Of course, the dwarves are so interchangeable that you couldn't tell if any were missing without pulling a rollcall, anyway, could you, Gandalf?
14. Speaking of dwarves, way to not link up names with faces, Peter. I spent the whole movie mentally referring to them as "wacky hat guy," "bald dude," "the hot one with the arrows," and "all those other ones." Oh, and there was also That Ungrateful Asshole Thorin.
15. Okay, time to talk about the fight scenes. The never-ending fight scenes, with obligatory unnecessary close-up gore and logical inconsistencies galore. Geez, I need to go into subheadings for this one ....
A) Was it really necessary for every fight scene to be 15 minutes long?
B) I really had the feeling they were so long because Peter Jackson had a punch list of fight scene tropes he needed to hit to match what he had done in the previous trilogy ... and he decided he had to hit each item in each fight. Come on, how many times do we need to see multiple people speared through with the same lance/sword/arrow? Or a closeup of a head shot? Body parts falling off after a suspenseful pause? All good in moderation, but laughable when used multiple times in the same movie.
C) "I'm Radegast the Brown! I will distract the evil mounted orcs by drawing them off in the opposite direction ... and then leading them back around to cut you guys off from your goal multiple times. That's okay, right? You don't mind turning a simple chase scene into 10 minutes of run-run-run-hide-turn-around-and-run-back-the-other-way, right? Guys? Guys?"
D) You know what I find funny? The fact that Thorin makes a point at the beginning of the movie of how the company doesn't include that many warriors, just tinkers and cobblers and stuff. And then they get to Goblinville, and suddenly every dwarf is all Crouching Tiger, Hidden Smaug all over the place. I'm sorry, but you put a tinker or a cobbler in that situation, and there will be a lot less "wielding of long poles to sweep large numbers of enemies off the catwalks" and a lot more "bonking people on the head with small weapons, and possibly dwarves wetting themselves."
E) Please tell me that the orcs were smart enough to know that the lovely little inferno Gandalf started on the edge of the cliff was going to burn itself out as soon as they ran out of pine cones. Dude, sit down, have a smoke, cuff a few minions upside the head, and wait them out.
F) Once again, Gandalf calls on the Giant Eagle Taxi Service to get him out of a jam ... and then completely fails to realize that he could just have the eagles drop them all off AT THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN THEY'RE GOING TO SPEND THE NEXT TWO MOVIES TRUDGING TOWARD. You're two for two, dimwit.
16. The CGI on the giant eagles was nicely done, especially the overhead shots when they were flying the dwarves away from the battle. I'm pretty sure that real bird feathers don't ruffle that much when soaring, though - flight feathers are stiff for a reason, and downy feathers aren't up on the flight areas of the bird.
17. Nice of the eagles to put the mortally-wounded dwarf down someplace with ready access to medical attention ... or water ... or anything other than a dangerous hundred-foot drop on all sides. Oh, wait.
18. Someone explain to me how every single man has long, flowing hair that pushes back from his hairline and never falls down into his face (except the two strands that artfully slide into Thorin's face so you can tell he's REALLY emoting). These are guys that have never seen shampoo, who think baths are a once-a-year trial to be endured, and who are fighting major bloody battles over and over again. And their bangs never fall in their face. Yeah, right.
19. "Hi, I'm the wizard who's going to go all evil and shit in the next movie. In the meantime, I'm going to deny that anything is wrong at all, while rocking my improbably flat-ironed hairdo. I find it super-convenient to have the hair hanging down and falling in my way all the time, because ponytails are for pussies. Nothing to see here. Nope, I'm not plotting with an evil dude - promise!"
20. I'm not sure how I feel about Smaug. I kind of liked that we didn't really get to see him yet, just a tail here or a wall of flame there. The eye opening was expertly animated. I do have to wonder where all the light was coming from to make his pupil shrink, since he'd been holed up in that cavern asleep for the last - what was it? - sixty years, and it's not like he had a retinue of servants going around lighting lanterns all that time just in case he woke up and wanted to blink at someone. And it's not like he would have hauled all of the treasure out of the storehouse and up into the throne room with all of the windows, because what dragon is that motivated (or stupid enough to put all the treasure in the hardest room to guard)? So he's down in the bowels of the mountain, sleeping all cozy in his pile of treasure, and somehow there's still enough light. Unless you get some glow-worms into the story STAT, I call foul.

1 comment:

soldwithtwila said...

So I can just remove this one from my list to watch when it comes out on DVD. TY. I bet I enjoyed your blog 20 times more then I would the movie.