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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 7, 2013

'The Hobbit' Movie Review: A Short Book Made Into A Trilogy To Make More Money

IT’S NOT true that only Tagalog films were shown in local theatres during the Metro filmfest. “The Hobbit” was being shown in IMAX Theatres of SM. The cost of the ticket is P400 but people who don’t want to watch local films don’t seem to mind paying for it.

“The Hobbit” is based on a 1937 children’s book by JRR Tolkien which is 300 pages long. Just to make more money, Director Peter Jackson extended it into a trilogy, just like his previous hit, “The Lord of the Rings”, which was really based on three separate books.

The first movie in “The Hobbit” trilogy is “An Unexpected Journey” and it’s almost three hours long. You can feel the padding to expand the material, especially in the first hour when some scenes were made longer than necessary. We felt sleepy as the story plods along.

The film starts with the old Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing the story of his escapades as a young man (played by Martin Freeman of the TV series “Sherlock Holmes”). His peaceful life in the Shire is messed up by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and the arrival of other hungry dwarves who ate up all his food. The dwarves then embark on a journey to get back their treasure stolen by the monstrous dragon, Smaug. Bilbo joins them. They are led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the dethroned king of the dwarf realm, Erebor. The way to the Lonely Mountain, lair of Smaug, is full of danger as they encounter hostile creatures like Orcs, Trolls, Goblins and Wargs. The film’s highlights are the battles they fought against these grotesque looking creatures that are beautifully rendered on screen through state of the art computer graphics shown in new high-density 48 fps format that makes the visuals ultra clear.

Fans of “The Lord of the Rings” will be glad to know some characters from the trilogy will be seen here, like Frodo (Elijah Wood), Queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Lord Sauron (Christopher Lee) although they’re not in the original “Hobbit” novel. It also shows how the young Bilbo meet the Smeagol, Gollum (Andy Serkis), and acquires the Precious ring from him. If you’re a fan of the book, no doubt you’ll appreciate the movie despite its long stretches of tedious viewing. Martin Freeman definitely gives a quiet but solid performance as the young Bilbo and Andy Serkis as Gollum’s alter ego is once again very effective.