Though Sam and Frodo drifted from view some time ago, they have remained in our hearts these long years, but before Peter Jackson’s Frodo came on the scene, there was Bilbo. I must confess I loved the books more in some ways, as the characters were well brought to life in my own imagination; but much of Frodo’s story was given amazing new life onscreen, and now we have the prequel to finish the saga, with Star Wars’ type sequencing.
While I like Legolas’ well-played character, the negative points for me in The Hobbit, began with Orlando Bloom’s (more?) tinted contacts. Legolas did not look as friendly and vital as in the first series. One must also take into account that the actor is much older now, and his wisdom may have supplanted his vigor, nominally. Still, I felt the film had a bit of coldness that pervaded many scenes; and I was off-put by Thranduil, the Elvenking, at first, as he seemed to have a superior and aloof attitude. He had a tone that was one step removed from the beloved Celeborn & Galadriel, who were one one step removed from the more humanlike Elrond in Lord of the Rings. Ian Mckellen put in a fine performance as Gandalf, but his sequences were somewhat random and vague with regard to the plot-line (nothing to do with his acting). I enjoyed Martin Freeman’s smaller role as Bilbo, Richard Armitage made a great Thorin, and all the dwarves were fun to watch. Evangeline Lily’s Tauriel is a bright & fiery addition to the mix, Luke Evans does a fine turn as Girion; and Benedict Cumberbatch’s fine talents and mellifluous voice as Smaug were well used.
I think Peter Jackson (though bringing the portions of the LOTR appendices to life) has added too much material to the story, in an attempt to mimic the three film trilogy model of Lord of the Rings. Were he to have made a single, or two part film of The Hobbit, I may have enjoyed it more. Few, however, could have matched the terrific accomplishments he has achieved with Tolkien’s mammoth works.
I love Tolkein’s writings, some of the hobbits’ early journeys in The Fellowship of the Ring in particular; and I like most of Peter Jackson’s films, but I have not enjoyed The Hobbit cycle as much as the earlier series. Just one moviegoer’s view.