The Hobbit No Match for Lord of the Rings

Too-long Peter Jackson fantasy burdened by expectations: critics

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 14, 2012 5:58 AM CST

(Newser) The Hobbit comes weighted with high expectations—and this lengthy prequel doesn't quite meet them, critics say. Though the film has some great visuals, it drags at times. And critics agree: Don't see it at 48 frames per second. It just looks too real.

  • The film "is solid and acceptable instead of soaring and exceptional, one unnecessarily hampered in its quest to reach the magical heights of the trilogy," writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. "There is just not enough story here to prevent things from getting pokey." On the other hand, with such great source material, "there is only so far wrong you can go."

  • "The comparative playfulness of the novel could have made this Hobbit movie a lot of fun," notes AO Scott in the New York Times. Instead, "Tolkien’s inventive, episodic tale of a modest homebody on a dangerous journey has been turned into an overscale and plodding spectacle."
  • Overscale indeed: We get six chapters of the book in three hours, writes Bob Mondello at NPR. "The filmmakers are reduced to detailing troll recipes and staging a hedgehog rescue."
  • Your opinion of the film all depends on your comparison point, asserts Andrew O'Hehir at Salon. "If you arrive at The Hobbit via the flatulent mediocrity of most contemporary fantasy films and fantasy fiction, it looks pretty damn good," he notes. But if you're comparing it to the earlier films, you see a "sprawling, shambling, full-length prequel to (Peter) Jackson's Lord of the Rings, but not so much to Tolkien's."
Meanwhile, Slate offers a different take on 48 frames per second.

This publicity film image released by Warner Bros. shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.'
This publicity film image released by Warner Bros. shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.'   (AP Photo/Warner Bros., James Fisher, File)
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A trailer for the film.   (YouTube)

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