Three hours later, everything had changed.
Eleven years later, there were no surprises as I meandered through The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And no, it's not because I wised up and actually read the book this time (despite this blog, I swear I'm not illiterate. Promise.), but that we've simply seen all of this before. We've seen a slew of characters embark on an epic journey traversing Middle Earth. And for my money, we've seen it with more likeable characters on a more interesting journey.
Don't think it's all bad, 'cause obviously, it's not. We still have an incredibly-realized Middle Earth, filled with fascinating creatures and epic battles. We also get to spend more time with some of our previous favorites, including Frodo, Gollum, Galadriel (I looked that up) and Elrond (that one, too). And of course, a slightly more spry (though older looking, hmmm) Gandalf, who conjures up numerous ass kickings this time around. The older, familiar characters are not the problem - it's the new batch. All fourteen of them.
Bilbo is a whiny priss, fussing over doilies and his mother's glory box. The dwarves are too numerous and silly to care about (Santa Dwarf, Bruce Vilanch Dwarf, Nickelback Lead Singer Dwarf, and the one that looks like Freakshow from Harold & Kumar, etc), outside of the always brooding Head Dwarf. The Brown Wizard is a slightly-annoying burnout, prone to riding in nonsensical patterns on the worst rabbit-drawn sled ever put to film (even if they are the Cadillac of magical rabbits). Larry, Moe and Curly show up, though each is in the best Shrek costume Middle Earth's Party City offered. For the most part, I didn't care about any of these guys. Frodo and Sam they ain't.
Speaking of dynamic, infinitely interesting heterosexual life partners, now seems likes the perfect spot to check in with the Yays and Boos. Or as they referred to themselves for most of 2003, Merry and Pippin.
|If she read my thoughts, let's just say she might be offended.|
- It was slightly corny, but I liked the party at Bilbo's house. A rollicking, good time.
- And even though they trashed the place, dwarves can do the f--k out of some dishes.
- Dwarf hair. It rules.
- And even though he's being a douche, I enjoyed how Bilbo agreed with all the reasons why he was the wrong guy.
- The Pale Orc! That guy was fierce. Sorry about your arm, bro.
- The Troll trio. First, the nose-blowing incident. Second, the initial beating they took from the gang. Third, the way Bilbo confused their green asses.
- Though it seemed rather unnecessary, I've always enjoyed a giant rock-beast battle. Always.
- The Orc messaging system is pretty f--king sweet. Like a Middle Earth version of Gmail.
- And finally, Gollum. Not only is he better looking than ever, he's also singing some sweet songs in his always delirious fashion. Bonus points for an old school RIDDLE FIGHT!! Is it tasty? Is it scrumptious? Oh, it's both.
|What's that? We're stretching this to three films?|
- Too much talking. Not enough fighting.
- The Vienna Sausage fest factor. Outside of a luminous Cate Blanchett, we've got nothing but dudes. Short and hairy ones at that. Not pretty ones like a certain dreamy Elven marksman.
- Hey look! A rock. Come here, you fools. There's a passage. Oh check it, nine feet away...is the entire elf kingdom, Rivendell. That's convenient.
- Giant Hawks. As cool as they were, it got kind of ridiculous for a second there. Someone falls? Giant hawk. Someone else falls? Giant hawk. Giant hawk falls? Well, that didn't happen. But if it did? Giant hawk.
- And speaking of last minute saves, it really pissed me off that (um, spoiler?) no one f--king dies! Dude, I not only shit a brick, but also I wept like a small girl when Gandalf 'died' in Fellowship. By the end of Journey, I was rooting for someone/anyone to go. And obviously, it wasn't going to be Gandalf. Or Bilbo. Or anyone else I actually cared about.
- And finally, the cash grab factor. Initial reports said this flick would be one epic. Then, word spread that there'd be two. Fine, that's fine. But three? In 3D? Hmm. Seems like somebody over at New Line wanted heated seats in their solid gold actual rabbit sled.