I can complain, like Tolkien fans (including moi), that Peter Jackson introduced new characters and scenes. I can complain that 130 or 140 pages into the book was too much of a stretch for a movie kissing 3 hours. I can complain that Gandalf looked older and Freudo looked taller. I can complain that VL Nagaraj dropped caramel-coated pop corn on my lap and I had to step on them while watching the movie. (And I would be quite justified.)
What I cannot complain about is the movie. Watch it, if you have 3 hours to spare. I cannot quite fathom why I like it. I don’t know if it’s my new negative .75 dioptre glasses and a 3d one on top of it. I also don’t know if it’s the new-found knowledge that my nose is long (now, that has got nothing to do with anything - one of those you-had-to-be-there stuff).
Walking into the movie hall, my expectations were at rock bottom levels, what the hell - 3 damn parts for The Hobbit? After watching it, I tell you, it's worth it.
- It does not preach, unlike LOTR.
- Generally, the imagery is good. The mountain scenarios and scenes are exceptional - obviously, I’m biased.
- Gollum’s pretty decent in this avatar. I used to fast-forward most of his scenes in LOTR. The riddle scene is just awesome, and so is Gollum's multiple personality disorder. If the syndrome came across as being part of a "scheme" in LOTR, this one is more natural and believable.
- Hugo Weaving of Rivendell - How the hell did you become younger, younger than even Agent Smith? Ah, the webs you weave to deceive, Mr. Weaving.
- Bilbo Baggins does well for a hobbit, unlike Sam, Freudo, and a bunch of hobbits with major hangups. Barring a few scenes, he seems to have a sense of purpose - which is needed anyway, since the movie revolves around him, which is not saying much, except- well done, Martin Freeman!
- The pace - people may complain it is slow, but this is not a movie to be rushed. LOTR had 1000+ pages and millions and millions (and so on and so forth) of followers. This is a smaller book, and it needs a lot of context - lest the effort ends up like Willow (the movie).
- The dwarves look pretty normal size-wise, especially Thorin, Kili, and Fili (except in some scenes where they want to make us believe that we're dealing with dwarves). So, if you were not planning on watching the movie because of 13 Gimli types, think again.
- And come to think of it, there's some chemistry (I'm not thinking of the telepathy angle) going on between Gandalf and Lady Galadriel. I know I'm stretching it, but Peter J is capable of changing a lot of equations. I did sense a wee element of a much-forgotten mush. O wise Mithrandir, I did, I did.
- Limit the number of plates being thrown around - max 2 or 3 per movie. This ain't a circus. That applies to belching too.
- I don’t know who those stone-mountains were and what they were fighting about. A bunch of rocks with some serious thrill issues. May be I should read the book again.
- Next time, you want to make an impact, Peter Jackson or not, don’t make your huge character scratch his almost-naked-corrugated derriere. Or throw phlegm, and especially oodles of it, on another character. It’s just poor taste. Radagast could have lived without bird shit on his head, and still preserved his mythical allure (what was he doing here, anyway?). Which brings me to the ugliest point of all.
- FOR ONE LAST TIME, DO NOT REWRITE TOLKIEN. It's blasphemy.
All that said, the whole journey/movie would have been shot (as in not needed kind of shot), had the fourteen taken the Eagle Airways from the Shire itself. And going by the flow, the Eagles would have taken care of most of Part 2 too. But that's how JRRT wrote it. So, all rise! Smaug is coming.