The Hobbit: The Desolation of Tolkein

This is a very uncharacteristic off topic post, usually i am not moved to use my blog for anything beyond discussing the matter at hand, but i have just spent the better part of three hours in a purgatorial experience for which this is my only release.  I am a very long time fan of Tollkein's works, while not the most ardent or immersed of fans, i have read the collective works at least once, the main four books many times.  Tolkein's son despised the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies and is quoted as saying:

"They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,...And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film."

 

I was less critical of the earlier films, especially the extended versions than the eminent Tolkein scholar.  I liked the imagery and the portrayal of the parts of the book that actually made it to film somewhat intact.  I universally despised every scene that Peter Jackson tacked on the the films that had no basis in the original work.  The dialogue that he changed was childish and lamentable, and his characterisations were silly, overly dramatic, and in many cases completely changed the nature of the character portrayed. 

It seems that not only were Christopher Tolkein's fears well founded, they pale in light of the actual monstrosities that Jackson belched forth upon the world. In creating an overly long and stupidly melodramatic version of the beloved children's book that serves as a prequel to the Lord of the Rings, Jackson has seemingly jettisoned the entire text in favour of his own insipid take on the tale.  The few snippets of dialogue that are textual stand out glaringly from the rest of the movie, the plot is convoluted and puerile, and the characterizations are so bad that even with a magnificent cast of talented actors, they lack all credibility. The most recent movie, the second part of the travesty based in the loosest possible sense on the book the Hobbit, seven chapters of the book are skimmed lightly over, with clear malice to the intent, integrity, and events of the chapters, the vast majority of screen time are insertions into the story with no textual references, most of which are preposterous in the extreme.

A few lowly orcs possessing a morgul blade to be used casually in a skirmish with a band of half starved dwarves, poppycock. The only confirmed wielder of these use once daggers is the Witchking of Agmar, the leader of the Nazgul. The first movie even states that only a Nazgul can possess one then discusses that there is only one and it was buried with the witch King.  Jackson seems incapable of keeping track of his meddling and declares war on himself in trying to tie the Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He inserts needless characters and plot lines in with reckless abandon that come to dominate the film. The last twenty minutes of Jacksons masturbatory ego stroking violence in the movie are completely his invention.  In the book, the dwarves and Smaug are never in Erebor at the same time, there is no fight much less a physics free halfwitted tribute to money poorly spent and the needless insertion of violence for which Jackson has shown himself so adept.

Ignoring the original book, does this work as a movie in it's own right.  Simply put no.  This lacks substance, believable characters, believable narrative, and even internal consistency.  It has all the depth of Twighlight, the elegance and sophistication of Pacific Rim, the sensitivity and pathos of a a drive in exploitation movie of the lowest calibre, and yet falls short of all of them in net effect.  If you are content to spend you hard earned money for visual effects devoid of other redeeming characteristics then by all means indulge in this marathon of mental pabulum.  I think time and money are better spent finding an old copy of the 1977 animated version of the book which is on the whole a much more successful film. 

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