marina_bonomi: (argh)
[personal profile] marina_bonomi
...But definitely it wasn't The Hobbit.

I think T. nailed the feeling we were left with: 'It feels like a feature in a theme park'.
Part of it might have been the dubbing (foreign films are dubbed by default over here), for instance Saruman sounded like he had a somewhat loose denture, but most of the people in Rivendell felt contrived, I didn't see Elrond this time, I saw Hugo Weaving with pointed ears.

Also, the reason of my dislike aren't the details they got wrong (like Mirkwood getting the name just about then), those are minor details that would have done for a few hours of book browsing at home and 'Ah, but it wasn't like that', no it goes both deeper and about way simpler things, here are a few.

Cheap, juvenile humor: I don't recall ever finding bodily sounds and functions and associated jokes funny, and definitely the Professor didn't indulge in that kind of things (let alone the particularly cringe-worthy 'croquet' double-entendre).

The dwarves as uncouth savages and the elves as vegan 'hippies' (and rather than 'ominous and wise' they felt rather heavily dosed with some kind of tranquilizer) come straight from the worst D&D, if any of my players had ever indulged in that kind of drivel they would have found themselves in very deep trouble before they could say 'Mordenkainen'.

Radagast, oh, Radagast! Where to begin? From one of the Istari half covered in bird droppings? From the silly rabbit sled? From the fact that he brings one of his animals back from the dead?

Did anybody there realize that the Istari are Maiar? They may be diminished, they may have forgotten it but they are angelic figures, the guardians of Middle-Earth and they can't use their powers to direct things, they can nudge, counsel and suggest, nothing more. One may say that Radagast only brings back an hedgehog after all, but it is an intrusion anyway, a disruption that he would not have done.

There are a lot of legends about mad wild-men Lailoken-Merlin is associated to quite a few (and he is at a whole different level: the mad seer, the warrior gone mad after the death of his king) but the point the movie misses by a few miles is that Saruman discounts Radagast as a simpleton because Radagast cares for 'things' that are of no value whatsoever to Saruman, and that is part of his undoing  .

The whole 'simple things done by humble people may have great consequences' theme is both spelled clearly by Gandalf (and it feels a bit like being beaten on the head with the concept) and completely betrayed by changing the tone of the hobbit (a basically light-harted adventure story) to the darker tone and larger scope of the Lord of the Rings. There are big things going on all around them, but Bilbo is by and at large unaware of what's happening and it's only afterwards that the real import of his mission with Thorin comes to light. By introducing a sworn enemy of Thorin's line (and one that, in fact has been dead for about a century) the tone is changed, the focus diluted and what is a meditation on greed (Smaug's greed for treasure, Thorin's quest for revenge that turns to greed for the Arkenstone, Thranduil's hardness and so on) turns into a series of battles and action scenes and a more or less unnecessary prologue to the bigger narrative.

And I could go on harping, what with the 'hallucinogen mushrooms that addle the mind and make teeth yellow' remark or Sting glowing so much it looked like a light saber or how ' in a hole in the ground there lived an hobbit' sounds really odd if you have it written by Bilbo himself and not by a different narrator and so on... But I'll just say that I'll pass on the next two movies and gladly read the book again, instead.
  

 
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marina_bonomi

March 2013

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