On Christmas Day, my girlfriend and I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at one of our local theaters. We ventured out mid-afternoon after our Christmas Brunch, but by the time we reached the first theater, the only seats available were in the front row. Since I'm very prone to motion sickness, I never sit in the front row. So we drove to another theater for a later showing.
We arrived an hour before start time and it was a good thing we did. It took my girlfriend nearly 20 minutes to get our drinks and Tub-O-Popcorn and more importantly--we were part of the first half-dozen in line.
So when the theater was finally ready, we managed to snag my favorite seats--in the very back row.
Unfortunately this didn't even help. Lately, film-makers feel compelled to make their movies like passive video games. I actually had to close my eyes during parts of the action scenes and chase sequences. This helped a little, but I still left the theater feeling queasy.
This is my only complaint I have about the movie, since I saw the film in "old tech.'' Two other versions are available for big screen viewing: 3D and/or High Frame Rate (HFR). Widget Walls, owner and producer of Needcoffee.com, lambasted these versions in his Wayhomer #138. Widge isn't the only one who's less than thrilled with this newfangled technology either: Other critics rolled-in.
Despite my mild nausea and the failings of new technology, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Although, I must confess, I won't be seeing it a second time on the big screen and I'll be sure to take some Dramamine for the next two movies.
The film deviated slightly on several points from the original book, but I actually thought these made the story better.
For instance (spoiler alerts!):
Thranduil led an elf army to help the dwarves, but turned back when he saw Smaug had already entered Erebor.
Thorin felt betrayed by the elven retreat. Naturally, he did not want to stop at Rivendell, but was forced to due to circumstances, which suited Gandalf just fine.
And it was Gandalf who found Sting and gave it to Bilbo Baggins. Stepping back a bit, Bilbo also helped to prevent the Trolls from cooking Thorin & Company in the first place.
The White Council also wasn't part of the book, but it was really cool to see Elrond, Galadriel and even Saruman together in one scene.
The most wacky deviation was Radagast the Brown and his jack rabbit sled.
The biggest plot alteration was having Azog survive the Battle of Azanulbizar so he could be a recurring villain throughout the movie.
The average rating for The Hobbit is 8.4 stars out of 10 on IMDb. In the traditional 5-star rating, I give The Hobbit a solid 4-stars because I didn't care for the nauseating special effects.
The movie also clocks-in at 169 minutes. So plan your day accordingly.