Stalking the Wild Hobbit

Martin Freeman and Me

A Little Hobbit to Hold You Over

I have seen “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and at the risk of bringing down the wrath of  dwarves, elves, orcs and even Gandalf, I have to say that I prefer our own Robert Anglim’s Smashup version, “Wild Hobbits” (below).

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is a brilliantly mounted film that from a production standpoint must have been a terribly complicated thing to accomplish. But it seems to be too much — too many stunts, too much wall-to-wall swelling music, too many hangs from the cliffs, etc. I agree with the Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy who called the film “a bit of a slog.”

And, in the middle of it all is this wonderful actor, Martin Freeman, who barely gets to act. He’s too busy having his life threatened once he and his dwarf pals set off on their journey that they will not complete for two more films.

I expect this first installment and what follows to make billions, and most everyone will love it all. This, of course, makes me feel like Scrooge muttering “Bah, Humbug!”

Many of you, I know, simply can’t wait to see this new film (that covers only the first six chapters in a 19 chapter book) in any version available, be it regulation 24 frames per second, new wave 48fps or even 3D. I saw it in 24fps by choice. I was afraid that in 48fps all the makeup, CGI and sets would give it the feeling of high-end video which is something I don’t go to movies to find but to avoid. Others may disagree.

In any case, to hold you over, MOVIE SMACKDOWN offers “Wild Hobbits,” a video that Smashes up “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with the late Steve Irwin’s enthusiasm for his job. Crikey, mate, let’s have a look…

Watching that video makes me remember how much I miss the great Steve Irwin. Such a positive, caring, sharing attitude about life and his work. A great character.

I hope that if Peter Jackson and his collaborators make any mid-course corrections in their Hobbit trilogy, it will be to give us a little more real character besides having Bilbo man-up, learn some life lessons and get tough enough to deserve a hug at the end.

And, I have to say, I liked the dwarves in “Snow White and the Huntsman” more than I did these guys in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” I could actually tell those fairy tale dwarves apart and they looked more real than the new Tolkein ones whether rendered in 24 or 48 frames per second.

None of this is a knock on the titular Hobbit, Martin Freeman. He does a great job with what he’s given. In fact, one of the best things about this year’s Emmy awards was the chance to meet and greet Martin Freeman (above) who was nominated as Dr. John Watson in the BBC version of “Sherlock” who, as we know, also plays Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” He’s modest, charming, funny and probably deserves all the fame he’s about to get.


About Bryce Zabel

Drawing inspiration from career experiences as a CNN correspondent, TV Academy chairman, writer/producer and fast-food cook, Bryce is the Editor-in-Chief of Movie Smackdown. While he freely admits to having written the screenplay for the reviewer-savaged "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," he hopes the fact that he also won the Writers Guild award a couple of years ago will cause you to cut him some slack. He's also a member of the Directors Guild, creator of five primetime network TV series, and author of a new non-fiction book about UFOs.
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