Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Trevin Wax on the video-gamization of movies

Trevin Wax wrote a great piece on the final installment of Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit titled The Hobbit and the Video-Gamization of Movies. I have already posted my opinion of the Hobbit movies in a rather scathing post but Trevin's post made a great tie-in to video games. Here is his intro:

Much of The Hobbit was about as enjoyable as watching someone else play a high-definition video game. In other words, not very.

For what it is worth, here are my comments on Trevin's post....

I am also a life-long fan of Tolkien and someone who deeply enjoyed the LoTR film adaptation. As such I should be the perfect audience for the Hobbit movies but ever since the decision was made to split a single book into three movies I have been less than enthusiastic. My concerns were realized in the first two movies, a pair of overwrought CGI extravaganzas. The third movie promises to be more of the same. The Hobbit was not a book about epic battles. It was a book about a simple hobbit thrust into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation who just wanted to go home. Jackson apparently believes, perhaps not inaccurately, that modern audiences are disinterested in such a story so he gave them an action adventure sprinkled with bits of the book. It is a real shame because the Hobbit is a wonderful book that has not been done justice here, I would rather watch the hokey animated version that at least attempted to follow the book.

I know, I know. It is just a movie. Just a movie yes but one ostensibly based on a classic and much beloved book. It is also a book that is an adventure in a more classic sense, not an action movie. While there are plenty of moments of action in the Hobbit, what is most enjoyable is the sense of adventure and the interplay between the characters. To make an entire movie out of a small portion of the book is nothing less than crassly cashing in. The big difference between the Hobbit adaptation and the Lord of the Rings adaptation is that in LoTR CGI was used to "fill in the blanks" when you couldn't get a real cast of tens of thousands of orcs. In the Hobbit it felt like real actors were added in after the fact to give a little humanity to the CGI. The two approaches made a world of difference.

We will almost certainly rent the final installment from Redbox and from what I have seen and read we will almost certainly find very little redeeming in it. Maybe we will watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy on Christmas day as a protest and a reminder of what decent movies are supposed to look like....

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