Along with just about everyone, it seems, I saw the first part of The Hobbit this weekend (note there may be spoilers here for any who have not yet seen the movie). While it didn't come close to being as good as any of the Lord of the Rings films, it was better than my low expectations for it. I had been dreading the comedy aspects of it more than anything else, but those ended up not bothering me so much. And what many critics disliked about it--the loads of exposition--were some of my favorite bits. I especially liked it when it showed historical scenes from when the dwarves lived in Erebor and when Smaug came.
That last is actually my biggest problem with the movie--the action sequences were so unrealistic as to be absurd, which pulled me right out of the believability. Lord of the Rings had done a decent job of keeping it real. The Hobbit doesn't bother with realism at all. I won't bore you with a listing of every scene that bothered me, but I'll tell you the worst offenders:
1. The mountain giants -- in the book, if I remember correctly, the giants are at play in the storm off in the distance, so the party decides to hide in a cave to ride out the storm. In the film the giants are 'warring' with each other and the party happens to be on one of the giants as it gets up and enters the fray. So much of what happens is utterly ludicrous and anyone would have died or at least been seriously maimed. The sheer quantity of rocks and fragments flying around makes it impossible that they would have come through unscathed, yet that is exactly what happens.
2. In the goblin caverns, they flee and go through several absurdly long falls into chasms, which with, you know, uh,...gravity...would have killed all or most of them. Yet it happens over and over again and not one of them gets so much as a scratch, it appears.
3. When the company climbs into the trees to flee the chasing orcs and wargs, the sequence goes off the deep end, with wargs actually knocking over trees just by slamming into them. Not only this, but each tree does a whole domino effect thing, with the company jumping from tree to tree as each collapses under the weight of those unbelievably powerful wargs.
The sad thing, in my opinion, is that there was simply no need to make things so unrealistic. I'm not one that needs the movie to follow the book faithfully. I understand that movies need a different type of story than books generally, if they are to succeed. But regular, believable action would have worked splendidly.
New Books and ARCs, 5/3/16
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