The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey
I am a bit of a fan of Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I was excited to hear that The Hobbit was being shot by the same team. Sadly, I wasn't as impressed by the end result.
The problem I have with the film is simple. The original books where huge sprawling tomes and the challenge was to try and fit all the content into the three films. Even with three films and nine hours to play with it was still a difficult task and a lot of good bits hit the cutting room floor, sections which were reinstated in the DVD version which then weighed in close on four hours per episode - but vastly improved the end result.
The Hobbit, by contrast, is a modest length book but because they really want to milk the franchise, its been spun out into a further three episodes. Put simply, there isn't enough plot to sustain another nine hours of screen time - so all the rest is battle scene padding. Don't get me wrong, its very good CGT padding but the underlying plot matches the pace of the glaciers through which the cast travel.
And then there is the 3D. At the risk of sounding like a sad old git (which of course I am not) I am not a 3D enthusiast. About 75% of the showings were in the more expensive 3D format and the 2D were relegated to really inconvenient times so we were condemned to perch those ridiculous gasses on our noses and watch the "not very realistic" 3D effects. I find myself very aware of the whole 3D thing and this detracts from my ability to lose myself in the film. Far from drawing me in I find myself increasingly assuming the role of an observer, which is quite the opposite of 3D's intention. Give me 2D with a compelling storyline any day.
Overall I enjoyed the film and will almost certainly watch the three episodes, but I am fairly confident that the end result would be better condensed into two, or maybe even one single pacy film.