I was lucky enough to get an early look at Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey last week (you can read my review here) and with the film now open to the public, a critical consensus has began to form – racking in at an underwhelming 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 6.5 average – alongside a mixed fan reception. Though the movie might be pleasing enough to the casual viewers – though they’re still liable to find it far, far too long – to the Tolkein fan and Rings nerd, Peter Jackson bungles the work in many more ways. In his desperation to needlessly, greedily distend this story out into a three-film, likely 9-hour epic, Jackson has altered much of Tolkein’s written word, making it saggier and less pleasant in a lot of bad places.
Here are 20 blunders that ruined The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
20. The Tone Is All Wrong
Tone is important in any film, and to be honest, in fantasy fare like this, it really shouldn’t be hard to get the tone right; it is really only going to be either light or dark. However, Jackson manages to make the entire feeling of the book play off the mark here; Tolkein’s book was a whimsical, brisk adventure that didn’t take itself too seriously, and of course, it was a self-contained one-shot. Jackson’s film take, then, isn’t only three films instead of one, but it’s also a mostly dark, distended adventure that takes itself dead-seriously, and even those infusions of humour that do occur usually fall flat on their face.
The Hobbit has always been a simple story that’s light and to the point, not really having all that much in common with the Lord of the Rings trilogy aside from the characters and the setting. Jackson has evidently decided that the tone for these films needs to be dark and fastidiously epic, though he’s trying to fashion this tone out of incompatible material.
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