***Multiple spoilers alert.***
I went to see The Hobbit in 3-D. I haven't read the book, but as a very young child I saw the animated Hobbit many times. My memories of it were faint, so I went into this new Hobbit fresh.
The visuals are spectacular. But what those visuals amount to is bloody eye candy. There is constant, brutal violence. There are detached heads raised in triumph. It's Rambo with Orcs.
Yet the movie still shoehorns in a token nod to Bilbo's gentle nature:
Gandalf: Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That's because I am afraid and it gives me courage.
But the second that line finishes, it is back to the constant carnage. So basically we have a movie named after the gentle creature who has never killed, in which he is used as a wacky neighbor character to set the stage for scores of goblins, mountain trolls, and Orcs to get mowed down. It is like making a film ostensibly about a virgin where every other scene is an orgy. That sole line about Bilbo's purity is a dandelion in an exploding minefield. So much for the message about small everyday deeds.
Maybe it was just being faithful to the book. Still, I prefer the takeaway of the cartoon Hobbit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2gE7-J9B6w