Let me state I do not object to movies with a lengthy running time, but what I do object to is one that is exceptional drawn out with each scene stretched to its limit, which would make any film monotonous and soporific. But to actually attempt to adapt a book that’s barely more than 270 pages into three films with a total running time of nearly nine hours is, I would suggest, a foolhardy task. Of course I’m not saying its impossible but your adaption would need to be absorbing and extremely interesting to maintain interest for that length of time. For example Oliver Assayas brilliant story of Carlos the Jackal, Carlos (2010) weights at 330 minutes, Ingmar Bergman masterful family drama Fanny and Alexander (1982) is well worth staying the course at 312 minutes, as is Sion Sono’s tale of lust and religion Love Exposure (2008) at 237 minutes, and need we forget Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexandeplatz (1981) which is the longest single narrative and well worth a watch at 15 hours. Where is this wee rant leading too, Peter Jackson’s latest middle earth adventure, all 170 minutes of it? The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), which deals with the happenings before Jacksons Lord of the Rings trilogy.
|The wizard Gandalf enters Bilbo Baggins hole in the ground.|
The young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is enticed to leave his comfortable hole in the ground by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and go on a long and arduous journey with a band of 13 dwarves lead by Thorin (Richard Armitage) who wish to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug a very large and fierce dragon. They encounter various adventures on their way the most enjoyable being when Bilbo Baggins meets the creepy Gollum, played in motion capture by Andy Serkis, a scene that really does ‘capture’ your imagination.
The intricate detail, eye watering CGI and the beautiful cinematography, elevating the New Zealand countryside to something beyond belief, does not make up for an excitement deficiency. If this film had a severe haircut by editor Jabez Olssen with a reduction in running time to approximately two hours then we could have had a fantasy adventure drama that did not feel like a cure for insomnia. There’s no way that I, and many others I imagine, will be prepared to sit for another six hours of Jackson’s indulgent filmmaking.
|Bilbo meets Gollum.|