Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) by Peter Jackson

The long awaited adaptation of my favourite childhood books. As disappointed as I was when I watched the Lord of the Rings back in 2001, I did not set my hopes too high this time. Hence, no real disappointment this time. Perhaps only because the thin book has been divided into a trilogy, when the ecranisation of a much thicker novel was cut having way too many ommissions in the story. 

Back to the thing. Gandalf is charming as ever, Galadriel as beautiful as she should be, Elrond as wise and thoughtful as was to be expected. 

Now to the questionable technicalities of 48 frames per second. The first time I watched the 2D version, and I was not too bothered about it at all. The second time, however, I watched it in 3D. And that is, when the difference could be seen (on my humble example of a pair of tired eyes). In 3D it seems that the battle scenes are indeed harder to catch and follow – I can only imagine this is more like a battle looks in real life. And presumably this was exactly the point. Therefore less poetry and more reality. Obviously, this could be debated whether it is a step towards the better, towards the worse or simply towards the different. I would opt for the last of the above. 

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is fresh, genuine and in my opinion casting him was a strike of brilliance. His Bilbo is as credible as he could possibly be – I trust in this Bilbo, who is average in everything about him. Average in looks, average in habits, average about pretty much everything. And I like how gradually we learn the prophecy of Gandalf’s from the very beginning of the story – that there is something more to Bilbo which is not visible at first glance. And there indeed it is. 

The Dwarves (13 of them) are individually characterised – so that they look as different from one another as possible. This has been achieved with an exceptional effort from the wig department. Only a few of them seem to be genuinely hairy. I suspect because the makers of the trilogy also wanted to make at least a couple of them appealing to the female audiences. 

All in all – it drags a little at times, but overall the pace is somehow justified by the necessary lengthening for the purpose of 3 films out of one story. 

 

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Argo by Ben Affleck (2012)

One of the 2013 Oscar contenders.

Made with meticulous attention to detail – reflecting the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Costumes, gadgets/props (as glasses, hairdos) bring to mind childhood memories when dads and moms wore those ridiculous tartan and tweed jackets. From that perspective (plus the cars) it is a job well done.

The grainy film takes us almost for trip back in time. Back into the times, when everyone constantly smoked, when smoking was allowed onboard commercial flights, when Swissair was an operating airline, when no industry crisis was heard of in Burbank, California.

This is based on a true story, therefore shortcuts were necessary. Unfortunately Affleck did not avoid oversimplifications – such as the moment when six people slowly walk out of the embassy under siege unobserved and undisturbed by anyone.

Overall, this is a good film, and probably an important film depicting the social changes in Iran over the last few decades. To an extent it fits into my favourite political genre and it is better than last year’s George Clooney’s “The Ides of March”.

I  would like to see the Academy appreciate the costumes, set design and the carefully led suspense.

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Filed under 2012 cinema releases, film reviews