Written December 15, 2012
If misstepping were an aerobic exercise, Peter Jackson would be in excellent shape. Although I had the highest hopes for this return to Middle-earth, I am sorry to say that it suffers from many serious problems (in spite of some wonderful moments along the way). The bad outweighs the good by far: (1) The editing is inept; the movie lacks coherence, slogging from one bloated action extravaganza to another; (2) the tone is uneven; by trying to link too obviously to the Lord of the Rings films, PJ strains to blend dark undertones with the silly fairy-tale elements characteristic of the book. The result is forced and emotionally unsatisfying; this film needed a much lighter touch and a deft hand; (3) there was too much irrelevant padding that just made no sense; (4) the 3D HFR detracted from, rather than enhanced, the already weak storytelling. Huge disappointment: C-.
Written October 27, 2016
I had read the book and taught the book to 8th graders so I was familiar with the characters and plot. I truly enjoyed the movie from that perspective. If you go see the movie, you must see it in 3D. The special effects are amazing. There are points where the people look like they are actually in the theater. One of my concerns is that younger children will be scared by the brutality of the monsters. Also the scenery and action often reminds me of a video game. When, and it probably will be soon, there is a Hobbit video game children might lose sight of Tolken's message and the essential themes of the literary work.
Written October 26, 2016
Peter Jackson shows his massive ego by adding storylines, characters, incidents, and changes in sequence to an already recognized classic. Small things I could understand, but not what he did. I was very disappointed and will not go see the next two. Someone should take these three exercises in self indulgence after they are all released and re-edit them into one good film.
Written May 24, 2017
I don't understand all the hate towards the HFR technology. I thought it looked amazing and was nice to see a new format. I would very much like to see more action movies filmed in this format.
Written April 27, 2017
Critical assessment: Overall, the pace of the film was agonizingly slow (even more so than The Fellowship of the Ring). Additionally, several characters' comments seemed forced in an attempt to provide cheeky nostalgic moments in reference to the LotR movies and could've done without. The acting during many of the Hobbiton-based scenes early on seemed sub-par, as well, (especially from the various dwarves), but as the movie went on, it was able to draw more attention from viewers as what little action that occurred finally picked up, and some of the cheesiness went away (though failed to die out completely). Still, the direction of the movie stayed true to the original story well enough, major characters were portrayed impressively, and the visuals met the high expectations that have become standard for a Peter Jackson film. As a fan of the book, I look forward to experiencing the final two installments after this viewing. Hopefully the 3D will be more impressive in the next films