13 Things You Need to Know About “The Hobbit”

I wrote a quick-and-dirty guide to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for Rolling Stone. Between the source material, the adaptation process, the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, the new 48fps 3D technology, the expansion into a new trilogy, and just generally trying to make a good movie, there’s a ton of stuff going on when you watch this thing, and this piece was my attempt to make sense of it all for everyone before they hit the theater—what to watch for and pay attention to and ignore.

The movie is awesome, by the way. Lord of the Rings Season Two. Anyone who tells you otherwise hates joy. Does anybody remember laughter?

3 Responses to 13 Things You Need to Know About “The Hobbit”

  1. Chris says:

    Yep. I loved the movie too. But why do people seem so down on it?

    • I don’t like to attribute bad faith to people, but I do think that there’s often an element of kill-yr-idols piling on when a formerly universally successful and beloved thing reveals a chink in the armor, and in this case the long delays of actually getting the movie made, the toyetic dwarf designs, splitting a tiny book into three giant movies, and the fancy and potentially alienating and hugely expensive 48fps 3D have everyone looking to take Jackson down a peg for hubris. That said, I expect that the 3D and 48fps is one of those things that really bothers some people but not others, like shakicam in Blair Witch/Cloverfield/the Bourne movies. And tonally it IS different than LotR. And it’s more for kids, which often alienates adult geeks. And it DOES have some pacing problems.

      I still freaking loved every minute, though.

  2. Karl Ruben says:

    I saw the movie in a huge theatre with a small, seemingly humourless audience. My reaction to the FUN parts were a bit subdued by that, which meant my favourite parts of the movie were of the more sober/serious variety. I loved Gandalf’s confession to Galadriel at Rivendell, which I think played extra well because of the film’s (and McKellen’s) portrayal of him as this weary gunslinger, like you said. It felt like he was surrendering himself to her, with this desperate hope that his belief in the little man would not be revealed as some sort of naive folly.
    My other favourite part was the choice to focus on Thorin as this tragi-romantic hero figure. I can’t say I remember him that way from the book, but Richard Armitage sold the whole fate-of-his-people-on-his-shoulders thing just as well as Viggo Mortensen did. Movie-Aragorn had a lot more going on than movie-Thorin, but Thorin/Armitage is being asked to carry a lot of the emotional heft of the film, and succeeds admirably.