Because of a squirmy toddler living in my house, we have no ability to see movies when they arrive in theaters. This is why I am about 6 months late with this review. As you can see with my first Hobbit Movie review, I was able to see it much closer to the actual release date. I feel like this movie should have been called, “The Hobbit 2: Peter Jackson Takes Cinematic Lessons from George Lucas.”
That pretty much sums up my entire views on the movie. Was this movie necessary? No. Did it follow the plot? Barely. I think about 30 minutes of the entire movie were spent on actual Hobbit plot elements. The other 2 1/2 hours were spent on, I can only guess, attempts to create cooler LEGO sets? Anyway, massive spoilers abound, just in case you are any later to the Hobbit-watching party than I was.
The plot was supposed to cover the events between the end of the first movie (where the crew escapes from Goblin Mountain) and the death of the dragon (I thought). In the book, the events that happen in this slot are:
- Meeting the bear/man Beorn
- Traveling through Mirkwood (which takes up about half the book, seems like)
- Getting captured by Elves, waiting around for several weeks or months until Bilbo can uncover an escape plan
- Traveling down the river in barrels (also a long process)
- Meeting with the people of Lake-town (who are quite happy to see them)
- Sneaking into the dragon’s lair and finding his weakness
- Allowing Bard to kill the dragon.
Here is what happens in the movie: Within the first 30 minutes, the crew is rushed from Beorn’s house to the forest and into the Elves’ house. There, we are treated to the sight of Legolas straining at the camera and the appearance of a “Captain of the Guard” female elf who apparently has a thing for shaved dwarves. After Bilbo tumbles them all into (open) barrels, they are rushed down the fastest course of rapids ever known in the universe while random orcs attack. How and why do these orcs attack? There is no reason, other than to create a cool fight scene- which fails miserably. Barrels are constantly used as “jokes” and most of the battle is spent with the elves literally dancing on top of the dwarves’ heads. Of course, Captain of the Guard shows up and saves her lover-boy dwarf from certain doom-although she is too late to save him from a poisoned arrow (later on we find out it is apparently tipped with Essence ‘O Wraith, because they have to use the kingsfoil plant to heal it.)
Anyway, after that battle wraps up, the hobbits bob along down the river for a while and run into Bard, who is apparently a smuggler for Lake-town. He has the brilliant idea of making the barrels into a further point of hilarity (used loosely here) by hiding the dwarves with dead fish. Once inside the town, we find out there is some kind of giant conspiracy by the King of Town to… something evil that must be stopped. The dwarves must be hidden at all costs, naturally, so they hide in Bard’s house, who has three charming but useless children who are only there to expose the dwarves. Their mother tragically died, and Bard is so Alone and Bitter, it’s so sad that his family is Poor and Alone and Misunderstood. Bard tries to help the drawves on their quest by giving them homemade weapons, but the dwarves are too snooty for handmade weapons and must break into the King of Town’s armory to get “real” weapons. So they do, and are discovered by Town Wormtongue (who has it in for Bard and has been watching them the whole time), but before they get into too much trouble, orcs attack and the dwarves save the day. After that, the dwarves are brought before the King of Town, who says, “Oh, we kind of wanted you to go fight the dragon and would have welcomed you with open arms the entire time.”
Half the dwarves stay behind with Injured Lover-Boy Dwarf, because he is too sick to travel, and Bilbo and the other Dwarves continue the Race to Witch Mountain to find the hidden door at the top. They are obviously the fastest mountain climbers ever, because they scale Mount Doom faster than it would take them to walk the distance horizontally on foot and arrive at the top around noon. They spend about 30 seconds hacking at the walls to try to open the door, but soon give up because, of course, the sun has already set. Oh well, movie over, let’s go back home. But, as in the book, it is the moon’s light that reveals the hidden key hole. You would think they would have thought about it being the moon considering that the hidden runes telling them how to find the door were only visible in moonlight, but they didn’t realize that in the book either. Bilbo nearly kicks the key off the mountain at this point, and I was about to have a conniption fit if they made that thing fall all the way to the bottom of the mountain, but luckily, Thorin catches it just in time.
Now, I thought here that the plot would continue along as in the book. The dwarves sent Bilbo ahead because they were too scared to do it themselves in the book, but in the movie they had some other reason, which I forget. He talks to the dragon in riddles, and everything is finr and dandy, until:
The dwarves decide that they should visit the dragon as well? He leads them on a ridiculous chase through the Hall of the Mountain King, because for some reason, their exit gets closed. Oh no, they are trapped forever and will die. They have a brilliant plan of escape though- they will coat him in molten gold for absolutely no reason whatsoever!
Meanwhile, back at Whiny Ranch, Lover-Boy Dwarf is dying from Essence ‘O Wraith and no one knows what to do. Low and behold, the elves who showed up to fight off the orcs (I forgot to mention that earlier) say that the only way to save him is by using the Kingsfoil plant, which is being happily munched by some local pigs. For being such a powerful healing herb, no one seems to know about it. I guess that is what makes all the elves so superior. So, Captain of the Guard Elf basically makes a spit-paste from some of the crushed herbs and does some kind of voodo spell over Lover-Boy, all while staring INTENTLY into his eyes. There may as well have been a fan blowing her hair back like in a shampoo commercial.
Back In the Hall of The Mountain King, the dwarves re-fire the forges, melt down some gold, ride down the river of gold in metal buckets (yep), and re-cast a stature of a dead dwarf king. The dragon beats the casting aside, and the statute just sits there, all stature-like, before starting to fall apart. The dragon is covered in melted gold and looks like he is dead, but then he emerges all shiny and glittery and flies off into the sunset. The gold falls off him, and he’s all like, “Ha ha, you can’t kill a Fire-Breathing Dragon with hot things! My stomach is a furnace, bitches!” Then… the movie ends.
For all the characters who are original to the book, I felt like Gandalf and Bilbo were the only two who still retained any of their book personalities. The rest have all flown to Crazy Town and will probably not be back.
Honestly, the setting for the movie was extremely well-done. Peter Jackson stuck to the setting from The Lord of the Rings, which was a wise move. The sets were amazing, and aside from looking a little… harsh in spots, I thought they were perfect for the movie.
The feel this movie has is wrong, wrong, wrong. This Hobbit is sort of The Lone Ranger of The Lord of the Rings universe. It is the overdone, over-acted, over-dramatized version. I hated that they skipped over the real book events that they could have developed more in favor of dumb river-barrel-dancing scenes.
This movie is pointless and unnecessary. This is what happens when you try to drag out an amazing story simply for profit. Should you watch this movie? I can’t think of a reason to skip it , but realize that this movie is no longer The Hobbit, but rather, Peter Jackson Takes New Zealand: Part 5, or maybe LOTR Episode 5: The Hobbit Strikes Back.
Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, if you haven’t read the book- do so before watching this movie.
Already own The Hobbit? We have several versions at our house. I currently am lusting after this illustrated edition.