Decently enjoyable sequel. High quality as usual, if without a bit of… MoreDecently enjoyable sequel. High quality as usual, if without a bit of the rhythm that elevated the LOTR films to masterpieces. On the line between 4 and 3.5. I'll be generous here and give it a 4.
As it stands now, probably my least favorite of the three 'Hobbit'… MoreAs it stands now, probably my least favorite of the three 'Hobbit' films. It seems the quality declined with each entry. The merits just can't outweigh the flaws. Its sprawling, unfocused, and just all too much at this point. I never thought I'd be glad to see the cinematic incarnations of this universe come to a close, but I admit I feel some relief now that its all over.
Update: My favorite of the three 'Hobbit' films for its charm, strange… MoreUpdate: My favorite of the three 'Hobbit' films for its charm, strange and long though it may sometimes be.
Original review: I enjoyed The Hobbit very much. Yet again, what endeared the film to me so much were the hobbits [in this case, just one]. Martin Freeman and Peter Jackson deserve the highest accolades for breathing life into Bilbo and making him relatable -- for years, I have never been able to connect with Bilbo, but here that has all changed. He is still not my favorite character in the LOTR universe, mind you, but at least I like him.
The music is wonderful as usual -- themes are augmented or hinted at, sometimes directly referenced -- and the direction is good. The acting, as mentioned for Freeman, is fantastic. The special effects are again very well done. The appearance of Gollum and 'Riddles in the Dark' with Bilbo, both in the special effects and acting, is an enduring and memorable moment. Gandalf's character is fleshed out a bit, and Thorin is introduced in a believable manner. Other characters from LOTR appear, one of which I won't mention but greatly enjoyed.
In the end, there is the big question -- is it better than LOTR? In short, I think LOTR will always be my favorite when compared to The Hobbit, and it probably could not be any other way. The stories themselves are written differently -- Tolkien wrote LOTR as stark war realism with a theme of 'death' and the battle between good and evil, whereas The Hobbit was written earlier as a children's adventure story. It is partly due to this that this film is able to be genuinely funny and comedic where LOTR could not. I genuinely did not expect the film to be this humorous -- myself and the rest of the theater laughed out loud several times throughout the film. The greatest aspect of this is that each comedic moment is an element of the characters' genuine personalities -- nothing is taken away, everything is added.
It is true that the film is long, but I have to say that for the most part I genuinely did not notice the running time, and if I did, I wasn't mentally 'taken out of the film' to check -- the pacing is excellent enough that even if some scenes could be avoided, everything felt as if it meshed perfectly in the film. Certainly the pacing was, I think, better than "The Dark Knight Rises' and more on par with the French drama film "The Intouchables" this year. Overall I am glad Jackson returned -- though I had my doubts, and though the film itself may never top LOTR, it is certainly no failure. LOTR may be 'classic' forever, but Jackson has skillfully crafted a prequel that is neither horribly redundant nor darkly perfect -- but genuinely good, fun, and enjoyable.
A true classic. About as hard-hitting as they come; sober and… MoreA true classic. About as hard-hitting as they come; sober and genuinely touching. Don't go into it thinking of it as a classic, or as a reviewer trying to rate it, or anything. It's beyond all that. It is what it is -- a mirror. Approach it as a human being -- that's how it approaches you. Let it affect you (which it may deeply do anyway). The film is in my estimate probably unrateable, but after my first viewing I'd say it's either a 4.5 or a 5.