It’s nice to see a film that confirms so much of what I try to teach people about video. If only the Hobbit could have confirmed it in half the time.
Let me start by saying that Peter Jackson can direct rings around me (pun intended). Love his work. But the Hobbit is a bloated mess of a movie desperately in search of a story and a hero.
In film, every shot must have a clear beginning, middle and end. Shots add up to scenes with clear beginnings, middles and ends. The scenes add up to sequences, the sequences to a film. The Hobbit, as you might expect, has some awesome shots. Fun creatures, stunning New Zealand vistas and beautiful miniatures. And that’s where it stops. The scenes are nearly pointless and the sequences hopelessly unstructured. The result is a movie with no story. All the characters do is travel and travel and travel. And fight occasionally. And reminisce. Oh, God how they reminisce.
This lack of focus on story is made worse by a lack of focus on the hero. The book is about Bilbo Baggins. The movie focuses on 16 different primary characters and Bilbo’s journey gets completely lost in the process. Multiple lead characters work in a film (see Lord of the Rings) only if their stories are focused and compelling– you know, with beginnings, middles and ends. Not the case here.
I wanted my $14 and 3 hours back, but I re-learned valuable lessons about story and heroes. Keep your time and money– the lesson’s on me. Merry Christmas.
Geek note: The film’s 48 frames per second capture and projection makes it look like badly shot HD TV. It shines a spotlight on every flaw in the dwarf’s makeup and every bad digital match in the battle scenes. In short, it takes the magic out of the movie. Could 48 fps be beautiful? Maybe. Is it now? Nope. Your turn, James Cameron.
Also in the spirit of the season: Ten Tips for Shooting Better Holiday Video