I saw this a few weeks ago but might as well review it in case you are toying with watching it at the cinema before it disappears. To make it easy for you – go and see the Hobbit now. It’s great fun. It isn’t up there with Lord of the Rings, but if you had seen this first you would have been well excited.
I saw the high frame rate IMAX 3D version. So the full whammy. As futuristic and hi-tech as a visit to the cinema can be at this moment in history (what happened to smell-o-vision?). To be honest, you didn’t miss much if you missed this version. In fact the 2D version with the old frame rate is probably better. The main problem with the Hobbit, for me at least, was that the picture so clear, so 3D, and generally just so perfect, that the first part of the movie in Bilbo’s house looked like a set. You know when you see a ‘making of’ featurette and you see them filming something that looks really crap and fake but then you see what the director sees on his little viewing screen and it looks pretty cool? It is like that but without the latter part. Everything was so clear I was permanently aware that they were acting on the set of the Hobbit.
It’s a small gripe though. Once the adventure begins everything just looks epic and awesome. It’s not just the picture that improves either. The opening scene (like the book) is a bit silly and a reminder that the Hobbit was a kid’s book. When Bilbo sets off on his ‘adventure’ however, it all comes good.
The acting is good, the set pieces are incredible, the baddie is pretty cool (although not as powerfully evil as in LOTR). In particular, the scenes where Bilbo plays the guessing game with Gollum and the dwarves fight goblins in an underground kingdom, are superb. Pure Jackson gold. Other scenes though, felt added for no reason. I haven’t read the book since I was ten, but there were a lot of scenes that I don’t remember. Apparently they used a lot of material from books like The Silmarillion, so I guess that is where the Brown Wizard’s story must come from. The problem is, quite a few bits just felt like unnecessary padding. Almost as if they took a shortish book and tried to make it a nine hour epic for purposes of greed.
The Hobbit is great fun though and you really should go and see it in the cinema. It won’t blow you away, but you will definitely be entertained. Which is the point. Recommended.