Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Phil's Five Words for Films

The Hobbit  ( seen in 2d ) Part One of Peter Jackson's planned trilogy based on J.R.R Tolkien's book is beautiful and lavish but for me, the story and character development are a little stretched.  A young Bilbo Baggins ( Martin Freeman ) is coaxed in to helping Gandalf ( Ian McKellen ) and a small band of dwarfs take back their lost kingdom from a dragon.  That is pretty much all you need to know.  With a run-time of about 2hrs 45mins, there are several places in the film that felt and looked like padding. ( Dwarfs washing up, dwarfs singing folk songs, rock monster boxing and the awful scene containing cringeable Cockney Trolls could so easily have been left out or reduced as they added nothing other than 30 minutes extra footage ).  The detail in some scenes is really quite impressive, having been shot at 48 frames per second, but the erratic pacing and obvious transitions from one set-piece to another detracts from the already stretched storytelling.  'The Hobbit' looks fantastic and is a great set up for the next two ( money spinning ) films but whether the story and characters are strong enough to carry it that far remains to be seen.  In my opinion, two films or one epic would have been more than enough to continue the story and wrap it in to the original trilogy without all the fillers.  By the end of this film, we still haven't got to the dragon.  On being given a small sword for protection, Bilbo Baggins is told that ' it is not the lives you take, but the lives you spare ' and for me, Peter Jackson should have heeded these wise words.  It is not how many frames you shoot, but the frames you spare from the final edit.  Beautiful but a little baggy. Whether or not there is enough in the story to avoid the next film feeling as thin remains to be seen. An hour and 15minutes too long.

7 out of 10
Cert 12A ( uk )

Snow White and the Huntsman - Phil's Five Words for Films

Snow White and the Huntsman Another adaptation of a Grimm Brothers tale.  Despite some good performances and some well put-together action sequences, this film lacks any heart or soul and is merely a set up for a sequel in which Kristen Stewart  has to pout a lot and decide between two male suitors.  Good costumes, production values, special effects and set-pieces make it watchable but sadly, that is all there is.  The most meaningful moment in the film is between Snow White ( K.S ) and an angry troll ( impressive CGI ) and that is the films main problem.  There is no real chemistry on show between any of the main characters, nobody to really care about.  Even a poisoned apple fails to add emotion.  It is a mixed up bag of dark, Gothic fairytale, Joan of Arc heroism and Disney princess fantasy, never really sure where it wants to head.  Charlize Theron is nasty enough in her role as Ravenna, the evil Queen / Stepmother and Chris Hemsworth pulls his weight as the Huntsman but there's very little to work with.  The films weaker characters ( e.g the prince and the queen's brother ) and daft, revised story slow it down too much.  Kristen Stewart is her usual self and will bring a guaranteed audience to the film whilst the dwarfs ( British comedy actors CGI'd to fit the roles ) bring very little to the party.  The result is an average film that is confused, messy and feels every minute of it's over-long 2 hour run time.

5.5 out of 10
Cert 12A ( uk )