NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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December 20, 2012

Yawn: 'The Hobbit' proves to be one troll of a movie

About a half hour into “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) runs away from his peaceful shire, yelling at the top of his lungs, “I am going on an adventure!”

“The Hobbit,” however, is not an adventure. In fact, I’m actually quite uncertain if this scene happened 30 minutes or 30 days into the film. Because yes, it moves that slowly.

“The Hobbit” is a sluggish trek, a grueling viewing experience, and an exhausting ordeal that goes on and on and on with very little plotline.

It makes sense this comes from director Peter Jackson, who once again helms the rights to Middle Earth and travels back to the familiar territory seen in his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

I didn’t necessarily dislike the “Lord of the Rings” films, but I’m no fan of them, either. Still, Jackson’s previous movies were not the simultaneously overstuffed and empty combination that makes “The Hobbit” feel like it is being delivered straight from obligatory franchise hell.

Jackson’s last film, “The Lovely Bones,” was nearly as bad, however, as he butchered the wonderful source material provided in the book by Alice Sebold. The movie implied that when you’re a young girl raped and murdered at age 14, the rest of your days will be spent in an over-stylized CGI playground version of heaven.

“The Hobbit” equally sacrifices the basis of its story in order to show off new toys Jackson has tucked away in his mammoth-sized, misdirected ambition. One of these toys is the decision to shoot “The Hobbit” in 48 frames-per-second and to display this version on approximately 200 screens in the country.

Thank goodness this isn’t happening everywhere, because the experiment failed. If ever I see another movie projected this way, it still will be too soon.

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