Photo: New Line Cinema
Anybody else notice that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" didn't receive one Golden Globe nomination?
It's certainly a brave new Middle-earth. Nine years ago 'round this time, Peter Jackson could do no wrong when it came to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, taking home both the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Director and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" scoring the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama) and the Oscar for Best Picture. Oh, and it also won Oscars for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Makeup, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.
Now, Jackson's highly anticipated (to say the least) return to Middle-earth is finally coming to theaters, made all the more fan-friendly by being the first part of a new <i>trilogy</i> rather than the originally planned two-parter. Jackson and Tolkien, together again -- what could go wrong?
Well, apparently a lot. In fact, not very many of the people who have attended advance screenings seem to like "The Hobbit" very much. Overall it's reportedly too long at two hours and 49 minutes ("too long" was never a criticism of any LOTR movie, and those were long movies), with several scenes overstaying their welcome to near-excruciating extremes. The dramatic stakes are lower in "The Hobbit" than they were in the LOTR trilogy, but they seem low to the point of being almost completely non-existent, with the action scenes few and far between amongst all the walking, talking and dwarf-singing.
And then there's the whole 48 fps thing, an experimental format that has yet to find a true champion other than Jackson himself (and maybe, you know, James Cameron). It looks weird. It makes everything look fake. It shows too much detail (you can apparently see Ian McKellen's contact lenses plain as day). And, if you've got a sensitive stomach, it can make you hurl during scenes with a lot of movement.
It's strange to live in a world where a Peter Jackson movie based on a J.R.R. Tolkien book isn't considered the best thing ever made in the history of forever (or at least, you know, fantasy cinema). Maybe Jackson had been away from Middle-earth for too long (nine years to get this movie made? Come on, people) and had lost a lot of that fire in his belly that guided the LOTR trilogy to greatness, causing him to indulge in newfangled filmmaking toys and technology over good old-fashioned storytelling. There's also something to said for the fact that Jackson didn't want to direct "The Hobbit" in the first place -- the gig originally went to Guillermo del Toro, who got the hell out of Middle-earth when it took forever and a day for get the cameras rolling (or capturing, or … whatever it is that cameras do now).
Maybe the "Hobbit" movie was better off left in our imaginations … which would've been the best reason it was left off the list of Golden Globes nominees.
See the trailer for 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey':