Thursday, January 10, 2013

What I Watched In December

I was only able to get out to the theater once in the merry month of Holiday Madness but it was an event film of nearly three hours in length so it was almost like seeing two movies. Almost.

Overall I was happy with the film. It is very well cast with special kudos due to Martin Freeman as Bilbo. I have been a major fan of Freeman for his work as the modern Watson in SHERLOCK and his performance here is absolutely perfect. His work in the scene with Gollum is fantastic as you would expect of such a highlight of the tale but its in the quieter moments that his nuanced skills as an actor make scenes stronger than they really should be. And that points toward one of the obvious problems the movie has - it is over long with no real reason. Don't get me wrong- I was never bored by the film but the additions to the tale are not necessary even when they smartly tie events and characters to the LORD OF THE RINGS story that happens 60 years down the timeline. But this lengthening of the simple adventure tale makes of it something that I don't think it should be- an epic. There is no need to craft such a large picture from such a small, sweet story. Its too much.

The other problem I have with the film is what I've begun to call 'Peter Jackson Syndrome'. He first showed this dread disease in his lamentable remake of KING KONG where everything was given too much time onscreen and we had to be shown everything - often twice. This over the top quality I worst in the action scenes where Jackson seems convinced that bigger is not only better but that biggest is not quite far enough. The escape from the underground home of the goblins becomes a damned ludicrous CGI video game of Rube Goldberg enhanced madness where swinging bridges are miraculously able to ignore plausibility, physics and logic. Its irritating to have such a beautiful production undercut by the desire to go so far that even little kids will be stunned by the spectacle. I mean come on- we're dealing in dragons and dwarves for goodness sake! Your job is to make it all the more believable by grounding the action stuff in recognizable reality so the unreal things seem more credible. Isn't the tale of a bunch of fantasy characters going of on a quest to slay a dragon exciting enough? Damn! 

But even with these caveats I enjoyed the film well enough to see the next. I just wish it were to movies instead of three. That is just overkill and a money grab.

MAGIC MIKE (2012)- 8 (excellent coming of age drama-- of a sort)
MST3K: SANTA CLAUS CONQUORS THE MARTIANS (1964/1991)- 7 (rewatch) (The only way to watch this sucker!)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951)- 8 (rewatch)
CRY OF A PROSTITUTE (1974) - 7 (Henry Silva become a Mafia Don)
THE GRAND DUEL (1972) - 8
THE WILD NORTH (1952)- 8 (rewatch)
THE HOLE (2009)- 8 (Joe Dante still knows how to make a good movie)
GREMILNS (1984)- 7 (rewatch)
RARE EXPORTS (2010)- 8 (Santa was never so creepy!)
MAUSOLEUM (1983)- 2 (terrible, terrible horror film)
HAUNTED HONEYMOON (1940)- 6 (entertaining Lord Peter Wimsey mystery)
THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES (1966)- 8 (rewatch) 


Kal said...

All your points about The Hobbit are valid. I resisted seeing this one for weird reasons like I thought it would be impossible to keep all the dwarves straight. I totally believe that three movies will be fatiquing.

Lionel Braithwaite said...

Sorry gents, I don't think so, and at least due to this 'fatiguing', we will get a good story told in a comprehensible manner instead of having it just be rushed through as it could have been under another director who wouldn't have given a damn.

As to the 2004 King Kong having 'too much', at least it didn't have too little and was a true labor of love, unlike a certain Italian showman's 1976 version of the same story. And Kong was always front and center.

Rod Barnett said...

Kong was always front and center in the Jackson KK? Did you see the first hour and a half of that film?

And for the record- long does not equal comprehensible. In this case it just means adding extra detail to a story that doesn't really need it. LOTR was a very long story and could easily support additions and expansions but The Hobbit is a different animal. In my opinion. ;-)