Before I left for Germany, I simply had to see the Hobbit. I'd read some varied reviews on it. Some fans loved it. Movie critics seemed to agree it was bloated and had poor pacing. So I was somewhat worried when I finally sat down to see it. (In 24fps 3D, for those of you wondering--more on that in a bit.)
I loved it.
Adored it, really. And it's easy to see why. I'm a fan. I've loved this book since I was in second grade. And Jackson is doing a very "faithful" adaptation. Where he had to pick and choose what to include in the LotR movies, in this, he can just throw everything in. Which is both a strength and a weakness. For fans, it's lovely. For people wanting a succinct, single-movie experience? Not so much. Because this is the first third of the book, basically. There's a bit of a climax written in (fabricated from Tolkien appendices--not in the book), but for the most part, this one movie is one long beginning.
To find out if you'd like the movie ahead of time, ask yourself a few questions. Do you like maps in the front of books? Meaning, do you like books that are complicated or fantastical enough to mean that having a map will make it easier to understand? If yes, you'll love the movie. Do you not mind having your movie chopped up into three pieces, meaning you'll have to wait a year for the second installment? You'll love the movie. Did you watch the extended editions of the LotR, and wish there was even more to see? You'll love the movie.
Even if you don't fall into any of those categories, I still think you'll really enjoy the movie.
It ties into the original trilogy, but this is a lighter movie. More comedy. Funny dwarves. Now and then you've got extra scenes not present in the book, but they add to the movie, fleshing out the story and showing how greater things are at work.
The action scenes are quite intense. Too intense for TRC just yet, I'd say. One too many beheadings for me to feel completely at ease having him watch it.
What else to say? The music was lovely, the acting great (Bilbo especially), the cinematography impeccable. This is a Peter Jackson movie through and through. He gets into details. He glories in them. I can't wait to see it again.
I watched the movie in 24fps 3D, and I thought that was a great way to see it. The higher frame rate is something I'm really interested in, but I didn't want it to mess up my initial impressions. Like Avatar, the 3D is very well done. Not distracting. It involves you even more. I had worried it might make the film murky or hard to see, but that wasn't the case.
Anyway, that's what I thought. 4 stars out of 4. Simply superb.
Have you seen it? What did you think? (Sorry if I don't respond right away. Internet access is spotty while I'm in Europe . . .)