Review: “The Hobbit”

Most readers probably know that I do the occasional film review here, and that because I like just about every movie I see, instead of actually rating movies myself I judge them based on how long it takes for them to put my wife to sleep.  A few readers may even remember that, several years ago, I had been trying in vain to get my wife to sit through “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King”, after having subjected her to “The Fellowship of the Ring” in an actual movie theater.  Alas, my efforts were in vain, until she happened to wander past the television when I was watching “The Two Towers” for the umpteenth time, and she happened to see Gollum.  A bit more back story:  When we finally got replaced our picture tube last year, it was with a 3D flat screen; and because it’s difficult to find 3D movies for rent locally and I am too cheap to buy them, I rent them by mail, a la Netflix, from an outfit called 3DBluRayRental.com.  Are you with me so far?  Good.  So here is my non-review review of the 3D Blu-Ray of “The Hobbit”.

We watched “The Hobbit” while my parents were visiting (I have enough 3D glasses for everyone).  My father watched it for a while, then went off to do something else, leaving an audience of my mother, my aunt, my wife, and me.  Now, the 3D glasses are rather like sunglasses when viewed from the outside, so I couldn’t really tell exact;y when my wife fell asleep; but at some point, before the dinner party with the dwarves in Bilbo’s hobbit-hole was finished, I noticed that my wife’s glasses were pointing at the ceiling.  (To be fair, it took about as long for the dwarf dinner party to end as it did for the dinner party in the film”Big Night” to end, and “Big Night” was actually about the dinner party.)  I woke her up, and she wandered off into the other room to tend to the dog or whatever, leaving just the three of us watching Bilbo and the dwarves doing various things that weren’t actually in the book version of The Hobbit and, occasionally, something that was.  And it just so happened that my wife returned to the living room to announce that she was going to bed, just as Bilbo was about to meet a certain pallid ex-hobbit.  The exchange went something like this:

Wife:  “I’m going to bed.”

Me:  *points at Gollum on screen*

Wife:  *holds out hand for 3D glasses*  “Gimme.”

And so she sat and watched the Precious jump out of Gollum’s pocket (“Oh no, Gollum! Your ring!”), listened to the game of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum (she was rooting for Gollum, but we all know how that turned out), observed Bilbo make his escape.  After it was over, we had another brief exchange:

Wife:  “Is Gollum done?”

Me:  “Yes.”

Wife:  *hands over glasses*  “I’m going to bed.”

So there you have it:  A two and a half hour film condensed into one scene.  Which is, in to be fair, the most important one in the book, even if nobody involved knew it at the time.  And I did later play for her Gollum’s last scene in the film, in which Bilbo Baggins, in a fit of mercy, decides not to kill him.  I don’t expect I’ll be able to get her to watch the remaining two movies in the trilogy, unless the filmmakers decide to expand Gollum’s part and have him show up again.  Peter Jackson, if you’re reading this — my wife says “More Gollum, please.”

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