It's not that I didn't "dislike" The Hobbit. It's not unwatchable, it's not embarrassing. Everyone involved in the production acquits him and herself quite well. And, as far as prequels go, it's definitely above the admittedly low bar set by our friends over at Lucasfil...I mean Disney.
Still, overall, the AV Club and UltraCulture I thought, were bang on.
For a film that was fleshed out with additional material from Tolkien's other works, the film felt simultaneously overstuffed and underfed. I know I'll see the next two regardless, but I can only hope that the gaps get filled in as the bearded band that could get closer to their mountain castle. Abrupt shifts in tone were as frequent as encounters with orcs. Bathroom humor abutting bloody decapitations made for an odd flow, indeed.
Some other stray observations:
- Hobbits get mail?
- Dwarves are obnoxious, ungrateful assholes who can only survive a battle if Gandalf saves them with a blast of magic first. Then, only then, do they fight.
- Elves are snooty purebreds and Rivendell is their country club. They are the 1 percenters of middle earth. Check out this exchange:
Gandalf: "Hey Elrond, where have you been?"
Elrond: "Oh, just out killing some pesky orcs, they're really nasty this time of year. But see? Didn't even get my hair mussed."
- How is Christopher Lee still alive? In any case that's gotta be his natural hair color by now.
- "Out of the frying pan...And into the fire." Really? That line actually made it in?
- Didn't buy Thorin's change of heart in the slightest. The guy's all stoicism and solemnity, then he goes all mushy on the Hobbit? Just like that? A little out of character, methinks.
- Gollum remains the most interesting aspect of this whole universe, and the encounter with him in this film was by far the best scene. Gollum is pathetic, menacing and tragic all at once. Plus, the animation is even better this time around, bringing out even more detail in Andy Serkis' performance.
- Did we really need to spend that much time with a terminally ill hedgehog?