Peter Jackson is Hobbit-Forming

Thankfully my flu had abated by this past weekend so I could go see The Hobbit. I still have the bronchial cough but I kept that at bay with a steady stream of Coca-Cola and throat lozenges. I’m regaining my strength and concentration slowly but the cough just won’t quit.

Just as thankfully, I had a surfeit of FREE tickets from World Market’s Black Friday promotion (first 100 customers on Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday got FREE movie tickets and a Life of Pi totebag). My wife and I went on Saturday and I took my daughter on Sunday.

My daughter was driving us in to my favorite theater, the Carolina, when my car broke down again (second time this month). After I arranged for a tow, my ever-patient wife took us all out to my favorite hamburger joint, French Fryz for lunch. Dining on a juicy cheeseburger and french fries and washing it down with a nice chocolate banana shake (my wife prefers the chocolate peanut butter), I counted my blessings.

After that she dropped us off at our local Epic theater. They had a nice hard plastic Hobbit cup with Thorin Oakenshield on one side and Gandalf on the other. Dropping six dollars to get one was almost a necessity as we have the same type of cups for Amazing Spider-Man, Ice Age, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Men in Black. They make great popcorn cups for the movie room.

The screens at our local Epic theater are newer and bigger than those at the Carolina but the Carolina has a great rewards program, FREE refills on soda, friendly staff, better food, etc. Actually Epic has no food – just candy and popcorn. Nothing like this delicious tray of mini-dogs.

I digress of course (this is a blog after all) but The Hobbit was quite wonderful. Yes, the story is very padded – the book would have more appropriately made two movies. I wonder how much extra padding there will be for the inevitable extended edition home release.

The actors are all wonderful. Martin Freeman is wonderful as Bilbo. Richard Armitage has a lot of gravitas as Thorin, though they do try to make him too Aragorn-esque. Sylvester McCoy is fun as Radagast the Brown, tailor-made to appeal to a younger audience. Ian McKellan is marvelous as always though it should be noted that he plays the humorous Gandalf the Gray here and not the serious Gandalf the White.

The movie is filled with LOTR cameos – Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. They are worked in quite well but a prologue of sorts featuring old Bilbo (Ian Holm) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) is really shoehorned in.

The movie is not nearly as epic as the Lord of the Rings movies but neither is the source material. This is more in the vein of an adventure than an apocalyptic scenario. The sound design is amazing. Special effects are much better and far more prevalent – there are things to watch on the edge in almost every scene.

I did not get to sample the new 48 FPS rate because that is only in 3D and my prescription is bad enough that I can’t do 3D (at least on televisions). One of these days, I’ll have to splurge and try a 3D presentation in the theater but since 3D televisions don’t work for me, I’m reluctant to try the theater.