The Hobbit is fine. The cast are stellar, the screenplay is pretty good, New Zealand looks stunning, but you were all right. Stretching a book like The Hobbit over three films was a guaranteed cash cow, but it’s done the book and this film at least no justice. Impressively, for a film that ran well over three hours (we had a technical glitch with some fancy new digital projector, but it’s still long), the story feels stunted. By the final scene, Bilbo, Gandalf and the gang have basically just had a long walk. You could try and levy the same criticism at LOTR, but in comparison to The Hobbit, they’re as satisfying as handing in that piece of coursework with 30 seconds to spare.

Now, you’re all gasping to know about the 3D, CGI and unusual frame rate, right? Well, to be honest, if Jackson and co. hadn’t made such a big deal about it, no ordinary punter would notice they’d upped the frame rate. When I could notice it, I actually quite liked the look it lent certain scenes. As for the CGI, the Wargs were some of the most touchable looking creations I’ve ever seen so credit where credit’s due. The 3D however, as is almost all 3D, was pish. Used ineffectively and mostly just distracting. The blur of a goblin head screaming towards you detracts somewhat from the lushness of a typical big budget battle scene.

And now, a couple of final notes I scribbled down during the actual screening:
‘Since when did dwarves get sexy?’ – I assume I’m referring to top vampire fittie Aidan Turner.
‘Also, hints of bad Jewish stereotyping/Zionism’ – Obsessed with gold, reclaiming ancient home… etc
‘Playing spot the actor amongst the beards is a good game’ – Self explanatory, surely?
‘Gandalf’s pipe apparently contains more than baccy.’ – By Sylvester McCoy’s reaction at least…
‘Gandalf & Galadriel well used to have a thing’ – They definitely did. Just look at them.
‘Wait, is that it? And is Galadriel the only woman in the whole fucking thing?’ – Yes. And yes.

[Nina Ballantyne]

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