by DICK CHENEY
dir. Peter Jackson
I saw The Hobbit in 48 frames per second the other day. It was a lot more frames than I was accustomed to, but still not as many as I had hoped.
There is not a single woman in The Hobbit. There is Cate Blanchett, but she looks so much like Bob Dylan at this point it's a little ambitious to credit her with a feminine mystique. I'm 99 percent sure Ian McKellen is dying, his face looks like a smashed in pair of testicles.
One time I saw a really bad production of Richard III at Yale Rep. The set were a table, some chairs, a wall. I could fill several days with all the mediocre adaptations of Shakespeare that I have unwittingly attended. There should be a national mandate that no local theater can perform Titus Andronicus. I once winged the guy playing the clown in Twelfth Night with my sidearm.
The Hobbit in 48 frames per second and this production of Richard III had a lot in common. In Richard III, to simulate a battlefield, there were some roses in a pot. There was something completely bland about Jackson's re-creation of Middle Earth anyway, as if every section felt obligatory. Here the set design is so empty and barren, looking more like a Civil War reenactment than big-budget film.
The plot was also a lot different than I remembered; I learned a lot more about dwarves than I was necessarily willing to. I just felt terrible for Andy Serkis. He's probably embarrassed of this whole thing by now. When he's out eating dinner somewhere and some kid in a CM Punk t-shirt asks him where his precious is he must just want to explode with rage. It's wrong to give Hugo Weaving any role, no matter how small. He was the worst actor in this by far, although Cate Blanchett phoning in mental voice-over was so campy, but not in a fun way.
There's a lot of Saruman being totally obvious about in league with Sauron so I guess some of these "other wizards" should have looked into that. At the end Sauron's eye wakes up and you're just like, oh, yes, he's going to accomplish some major things, but be turned back by a people known for its appetite. I got that the dwarves were the Jews, but I wasn't sure who the Elves were, maybe the NRA?
Since Bilbo Baggins (a decaying Ian Holm/a CGI young Martin Freeman) is in the company of dwarves for most of The Hobbit, he does not look very small at all. (We succeeded in doing the same thing with George W. Bush by making sure his cabinet was all under 5'4". Condi Rice is actually the size of a dinner plate.) This completely breaks the entire point of having hobbits, especially since Bilbo spends half of the movie's considerable, 536 minute runing time talking about how he empathizes with the dwarves. He can't really sympathize with them, since he lives in an awesome home, but since he realizes how great he has it, he wants to make a better life for them. If that's not liberal guilt wrapped up with a bow I don't know what is. It's all fun and games until the little dwarves are hanging around the Shire unemployed, not showering, and reading Paper Monument.
Peter Jackson looks like he lost a lot of weight; that's why I'm not going to pick on him and say he looks like if Judas had a touch of down's syndrome. Maybe he wanted to spend a decade of his life filming people saying riveting things like, "Out of the frying pan, into the fire!" and telling guys that look exactly like him what an Orc should resemble. I don't judge him, I just observe him like I'm on a nature preserve.
The human eye cannot perceive the number of frames past a certain point. Peter should just have taken us beyond that point and claimed the majority of critics were literally unable to see his film's greatness. I can't wait to see Daniel Craig in 48 fps, his cheek wrinkles will resemble massive caverns and his penis will be shaped like a dagger.
The best scene in Tolkien's version of The Hobbit was when Bilbo comes across three trolls just trying to live their lives. He waits in the dark that surrounds them, listening to their conversations, attempting to puzzle out what is going to happen to him and them. This dark menace, an anticipation of the unknown, is at the heart of everything fantastic that we enjoy. In Peter Jackson's Hobbit this crucial moment elapses in mere seconds, glossed over completely for some dwarf jokes. They don't smell very good, you see.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. He last wrote in these pages about the white house. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.
"Miracle Mile" - Cold War Kids (mp3)