When I was a kid, my dad would be so excited about road trips, that he would pick up the video camera, point it out the front window of the car, and just record for hours.
Some would say my dad is a little insane. And they're probably right. But for my dad, who would then force us to relive a good portion of the trip when we got home in playback, it wasn't just the destination that was so special. It was the journey as well.
I am hoping that Peter Jackson was thinking the same thing when he decided to release "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Realizing he would have to turn one small children's book into three blockbuster films, Jackson headed to Middle Earth and filmed not only the destination, but the entire voyage there.
As you can imagine, it was about as exciting as my dad's video of Interstate 95.
I struggled to sit through "The Hobbit." Not because it was in 3-D, or IMAX, or at a higher framerate. But because it was a film that was just plain dull. Instead of simply being a great film that could become a part of an amazing Lord of the Rings franchise, Jackson decided that he wanted to take that epic journey again, and felt that we would be willing and able to watch every excruciating minute. Every predictable replay from Lord of the Rings (complete with exact music cues). Every agonizing second.
I never thought I would say this, but where is Jar Jar Binks when you need him?
Yes, it's blasphemy to not like "The Hobbit," but I am not going to sit there and nod my ahead in agreement just so that I can be in the in-crowd. I mean, people still celebrate "2001: A Space Odyssey," which has me scratching my head. Yes, the visuals and special effects were amazing -- but it's also the longest 25-minute film I've ever seen.
Well, that is until I saw "The Hobbit." And we haven't even moved to parts two and three yet.
Nothing against Martin Freeman or Ian McKellen, or even Jackson himself. There are times when directors and writers become so big in Hollywood, it's impossible for people to tell them no (remember M. Night Shyamalan? Neither do I). But that needs to happen, and well before any other franchises get destroyed by moves even a first-grader would shake his head no at.
I say let's cut our losses now, and combined the last two films into one. Sure, that might be disappointing to some, because that's one less Hobbit film to look forward to. But think about it this way: it's one less Hobbit film to look forward to.
Blast me, troll me, flame me. It happens every time I pan a popular movie (I still get email over "Spider-Man 2"). But whatever you do, please don't force me to watch another minute of "The Hobbit." I have some grass I need to observe growing, and some paint I must watch dry.
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