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Of course I will watch all three parts of the Hobbit films, of course I will look forward to seeing those guys and ghouls back on screen. That is exactly why Jackson hijacked his production company into doing it that way: people like me just are a bit dumb and don’t have the guts to cut that rope and forfeit on this kind of nonsensical endeavour. I can perfectly well imagine how that meeting with the producers went down: del Toro can’t direct anymore because the producers could not get the financing together in time, so ok, Jackson, says, I will do it. But I will do it once and cash in thrice, ok? A bit more work on the set, having dwarfs walk across hilltops for a couple of days longer, and go back to post-production studios two more weeks over the next two years, and I’m in. New Line has three Christmas slots filled, marginal costs are not very high, and unless you pull a Spiderman 3 debacle, there is no reason why the audiences wouldn’t show up when being told. The chances of this happening is slim, as the film has been shot in one go anyway, so parts 2 and 3 will be as good or bad as part 1, anyway. Even if it’s a bit rubbish, people would forget until next year. Low-risk money machine, sheer genius…

I wouldn’t mind that, actually, if there was any story to be told over an eight-hour stretch. Anybody familiar with the book knows that this is not the case. It is a slim book, with easy narrative, written for young audiences. We even know the background of most characters already, as we have seen the 9 or 12 hours of Lord of the Rings not too long ago. So what’s to be done with all that time? Sit down and chat, walk across hilltops (I honestly believe they did not even shoot new footage for that… walking across hilltops material must still be available aplenty from the previous films, used and unused), fight some orcs. Fighting orcs is not to be taken lightly, they are vicious combatants, but after about 40 minutes net orc battle time I could not be bothered anymore. I felt my mind wandering to the equally dragging Battle at Helm’s Klamm, or the final and more dragging battle of the Ring trilogy, where the pointy-eared and poorly cgi’ed Orloondo Blunt rides some weird mammoths. Is Peter Jackson so powerful a player now that there is no producer has the balls to kick him the hell out of the editing room and get some pacing into these films? The Hobbit reminds us all why after the first Harry Potter movie the director was removed from the franchise, as even Rowling’s lawyers realised that nobody wants to see a checklist approach to filming a book that deals with fantasy. The Hobbit seems to be slavishly committed to please those who know the book by heart, and despite the sometimes stunning visuals (more the hilltops than the cgi, really, I was not convinced by many of the fighting scenes), there is no dynamic, there is only quite daft humour (the opening dwarf meeting, the troll scene… that was more funny when I was 12) what’s left is a feeling of boredom, spiced with annoyance.

The three trolls bickering over their  dinner has been more entertainingly filmed in Jarmusch’s “Dead Man”, by the way…

I look forward to part 2, if grumpily…

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_hobbit_an_unexpected_journey/

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