THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Review

by     Posted 2 years, 5 days ago

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Technology will march forward.  That march usually involves something getting trampled along the way.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is underfoot of  horrible 48fps 3D, also known as HFR 3D (High Frame Rate 3D).  Billed as a technology to sharpen 3D and reduce the headaches it can cause, HFR 3D has crippled Peter Jackson‘s return to Middle-earth.  Without the atrocious visuals, Jackson’s film is still slightly repetitive and bloated, but the magic mostly remains intact.  But under HFR 3D, the journey looks like a cheap soap opera on fast forward with crappy digital effects.

Taking place sixty years before The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is cajoled into joining a company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen).  Their mission is to reclaim Thorin’s kingdom of Erebor and the riches therein from the dragon Smaug.  Bilbo, who is perfectly happy to live in his comfortable hole in the ground, is to be the party’s burglar since hobbits can move quietly, and Smaug will be unfamiliar with Bilbo’s scent.  Reluctantly, Bilbo joins the adventure, but dark forces begin to circle the setting as the party makes their way to Thorin’s fallen kingdom.

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Setting aside the HFR 3D for a moment, The Hobbit is an odd adaptation because it’s one of addition rather than subtraction.  Addition is usually used when adapting childrens books, and while J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is geared more towards children, it’s still a bona fide novel.  Reducing The Lord of the Rings into movies helped streamline the narrative and make a series of films that were better than the books*.  With The Hobbit trilogy, Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have pulled minor sentences to expand the narrative.

This expansion serves to fatten up the story but never in a way that feels significant to the plot or the central characters.  An Unexpected Journey greatly expands the role of the wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) to make him the discoverer of a necromancer, but Radagast is so ridiculous—he’s a granola hippie with birdshit in his hair and rides around on a sled pulled by bunnies—that it feels like something better suited to an extended edition or excised altogether.  The movie also forces an antagonist by bringing out Azog (Manu Bennett), an orc seeking revenge against Thorin.  His presence is particularly confusing when we learn that the dwarves were basically too lazy to kill Azog the first time they faced him.

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Teasing out these supporting characters and plotlines may be good for the full trilogy, but in the span of An Unexpected Journey, they only raise the question of why so much time is devoted to these minor characters at the expense of the dwarves.  In addition to having similar names (“Oin”, “Gloin”, “Ori”, “Dori”, “Nori”, etc.), we never see much of their personalities.  By the end of the film, I could only name half of the dwarves, and I imagine most audiences will simply reduce to the characters by identifying them as “Handsome Dwarf”, “Other Handsome Dwarf”, “Fat Dwarf”, “Old Dwarf”, etc.

Undervaluing characters at the expense of expanding the plot and lengthening the action scenes is ultimately what makes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a weaker story than the first chapter in The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring.  Granted, the fellowship has fewer and more diverse characters, but at least we have some idea of who they were by the end of the film.  The dwarves are simply background, and Freeman, McKellen, and Armitage are burdened with the task of making us care about the journey.

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Thankfully, they all give wonderful performances.  Freeman is an absolute delight, and it’s clear why the production chose to work around his Sherlock schedule just so he could lead the picture.  His portrayal of Bilbo is funny, bashful, scared, nervous, and an all-around compelling character.  McKellen remains as essential to Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth as the visuals, score, and any other technical aspect.  He gives the movie both its dramatic gravity and its sense of wonder.  As for Armitage, he gives a commanding performance as someone embittered by the loss of his home, entitled to reclaim his throne, and monomaniacal in his pursuit of his goal.  Viewers had some sense of how Bilbo and Gandalf fit into this world, but Thorin’s presence adds some freshness to the tale.

Overall, it’s so wonderful to sink back into the familiarity of Middle-earth.  Howard Shore‘s magnificent score makes feel like we’re back to the awe we experienced back when we saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The gorgeous production design, the sweeping vistas, the rich cinematography, and much more all make Unexpected Journey feel like a homecoming, albeit one that’s not quite as welcoming as before.  The house is bigger, the trappings are more decorative, but the company isn’t as inviting.

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Aside from shortchanging the majority of the cast in favor of cameos and two-dimensional new characters, Jackson has created a film with action that’s bigger, but rarely better.  Almost all of the set pieces boil down to the characters being on the run, getting cornered, and then being rescued at the last-minute by an external player.  Furthermore, a run through the goblin tunnels is reminiscent of the Moria chase in Fellowship of the Ring, but it lacks the pacing and patience of Jackson’s 2001 film.  The 3D allows Jackson to fill the frame with more stuff, but the result ends up feeling more like a theme park ride than a breathless escape.  Relying on “bigger” and “more” ties into the travesty that is HFR 3D.

First, let me say that I applaud ambition, but there are two kinds of ambition when it comes to filmmaking.  There’s artistic ambition, which is abstract, and then there’s technical ambition, which is a straight line.  Technology gets better over time.  Visual effects improve, but they all had to start out a place where they were likely less-than-impressive.  When Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within came out, we fell into the Uncanny Valley, but technology helped pull us out and we’re further now than we were in 2001.  Trying to de-age Jeff Bridges in TRON Legacy didn’t work out, but I’m sure we’ll perfect that process within the next ten years or so.  So it is with HFR 3D that someone had to be first, it had to be someone with budget and freedom, and that person was Peter Jackson with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I don’t know if HFR 3D will ever get better, but in this movie, it is downright abysmal.

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Jackson decided to use HFR 3D because he wanted to draw viewers deeper into the experience.  Personally, I find that 3D creates a barrier between a film and the viewer, but if it’s used well, we can accept it (or at least those of us who don’t get a headache from it; 3D is physically impossible for some people).  The HFR 3D in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey isn’t something we accept.  It’s something we endure.  We endure how characters move in a completely unnatural way and with creatures that somehow look less convincing that what Jackson and his team conjured in the early 2000s.  Middle-earth looked alive in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  HFR 3D makes it look undead.  When I saw old Bilbo (Ian Holm) reach for a pen and that movement didn’t look right, I audibly said, “Oh no.”

HFR 3D also raises the question of director intent.  To see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Peter Jackson truly intended, you have to see it in HFR 3D.  For some, it may work.  I know people who look at their 120hz TVs and they don’t see an HD, lo-fi image.  They just see the HD.  But this is the problem with not only HFR 3D, but 3D in general: we’re no longer debating craft.  We’re debating technology.  We’re arguing over the very presentation of a film removed from its story, characters, and debating if it even looks “right”.  I don’t know where a discussion begins if we don’t have a uniform viewing experience, and if one viewing method is deemed less worthy than another by the filmmaker.  So if you see the film’s most memorable scene—the game of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum (Andy Serkis)—and you see it in 2D, you may not be seeing it how Jackson intended.  But you’ll see it at its best.

Rating the film: B-

Rating the film in HFR 3D: C-

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*The books are a chore.  Tolkien’s a bad writer, the story takes too long to get going, and there’s too much damn singing and crappy poetry.  A straight adaptation would have been terrible.




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  • Joe

    “The books are a chore. Tolkien’s a bad writer, the story takes too long to get going, and there’s too much damn singing and crappy poetry. A straight adaptation would have been terrible.”

    You pretty much lost all credibility to review this movie with a statement like that. Tolkien is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in literary history. Fool of a Took…

    • wes

      I had to reread that quote 5 times when I saw it, I just couldn’t believe that a writer for a major internet site would write that…

      My jaw is on the floor right now.

      I knew people hate Goldberg, and now I can understand why

    • Max

      Tolkien is my favorite author. That comment seems like it was put there to almost piss people off.

    • chanandeler bong

      Is this some sortof purposeful doing on your part to get more comments or something, because I cannot see any way any person would say such an imbecile statement. The “damn singing and the crappy poetry” along with the incredibly rich details are what makes Lord of the Rings so brilliant. The man made up a whole new world in those books, and if that isn’t creative genius, what is?
      You sir, are an idiot and an epic troll.

      • Anonymous

        I agree 100%. He is a hired troll by Collider to garner attention to the website.

    • Slice

      So the right of passage for accepting if a movie is good or not is to like an old book?

      Better MOVIE reviews are written by people who have no, or little connection to the books they could be based on. Gone with the Wind is the most boring, abysmal thing I was ever made to read, but I still sit down on the holiday watching the movie from beginning to end when it’s on TV.

      We’re not all fanboys. Get a life.

    • ManBoyDudeChild

      Screw it! I agree with him, the books ARE a chore! They are full of endless fluff that destroyed the narrative and reduced them to a seemingly endless borefest. It wasn’t an adventure, it was a book of singing, dancing, prancing, and drinking ale, interrupted by this story about some guys going to Mordor. The movie chopped that stuff out. It doesn’t make you popular to say, but damn it, I couldn’t stand those fatty stuffing fluffed up books. Give me story and character, not people sitting around with useless secondary characters that have nothing to do with the plot!

    • ScaredForMovies

      Your trolling worked Goldberg. You got your hits. Good job. But at least tell the truth. You haven’t read a book since you were forced to in high school, you dunce.

  • REALLY?

    Goldberg = Poop

    • I Think You Meant

      Goldberg < Poop

      • ilet’s cut to the facts

        Goldberg consumes Poop.

  • Frank Fitz

    Tolkien is a bad writer? Really?

  • TotesMcGotes

    I normally think people are exaggerating with “Goldberg sucks” comments,but that remark about Tolkien’s writing seems totally attention whore-ing.

  • Sean

    It’s almost as if Goldberg has a need to be hated.

  • James

    I’m not the biggest fan of Tolkien but calling him a bad writer is absolutely moronic.
    Who the frick are you to call him a bad writer.
    Can’t believe this site continues to hire this moron to write reviews.

  • fitzchiv

    why the two reviews? the site gave the movie a positive review only a week ago and now matt goldberg gives the movie a crap review, which completely undermines the person behind the previous review! this smacks of goldberg jumping on the ‘lets slate the hobbit’ bandwagon, quite similar to his ‘lets slate the dark knight rises’ review! does matt goldbergs dad own this site or something?

  • Andrew

    So now everyone is just realizing that the people at collider are awful at movie reviewing?!?!

  • David

    With only 10% of screenings across the country, I don’t think 48 fps has crippled anything. Stop being a fucking hater.

  • Person

    The HFR 3D is getting almost universally panned, but I still wanna see it just to get a sense of the new technology, especially if James Cameron is serious about doing 60fps for the Avatar sequels…

  • Bobby

    For Matt Goldberg to criticize anyone’s movies is a joke. He hides behind a computer while filmmakers and real movie lovers are out there making films.

    This guy is a joke and needs to be fired if this site ever wants any credibility.

  • sloan

    “Overall, it’s so wonderful to sink back into the familiarity of Middle-earth. Howard Shore‘s magnificent score MAKES FEEL like we’re BACK to the awe we experienced BACK when we saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy.” – written by the illustrious Matt Goldberg! And he thinks Tolkien is a shitty writer……. i wonder if he’s ever had to read a Matt Goldberg article.

  • A.B

    He is a Critic. And it’s an opinion. So stop whining, people!

    • James

      He’s a big boy, he can take the truth.

    • Lexavi80

      A movie critic, not a books critic.

    • StupidBloggingHobbit

      “*The books are a chore. Tolkien’s a bad writer, the story takes too long to get going, and there’s too much damn singing and crappy poetry. A straight adaptation would have been terrible.”

      Yeah Tokien, you didn’t even make any dwarf tossing jokes! Too busy being a so-called “Professor of Languages” at “Oxford” I bet. You’d never cut it in the blogging world.

  • Lexavi80

    Holly crap!! I didn’t read what he said about Tolkien!!

    I can say that not everybody enjoys the books, but to say that “Tolkien’s a bad writer”?? Really???

    I did thought the review was helpful, but now I’m doubting this Goldberg person.

  • Alaska Boy

    Goldberg’s needless (and highly debatable, and largely ignorant and inaccurate) disparaging of the author of the greatest novel of the 20th century aside, his point about technology getting in the way of a good film is a good one. When people spend more time talking about the frame speed and the overreliance on SFX than they do about the performances, that’s a problem. This is exactly what I (and a lot of other Tolkien fans) feared would happen to the Hobbit, and I’m thankful to have reviews that help lower my expectations so I can (hopefully) enjoy the film when I see it (in 2D) tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Lexavi80

      I agree! I thought it was a very good review until I saw his final statement.

      He definably should get rid of that.

  • Aaron

    Regardless of your opinion of Matt, he is one more reviewer who has more credibility than any of us who will be essential to making 48 fps go away! We need as many reviewers as possible hating on this “advance” in technology! If you don’t see it, as Matt said, you are simply not made like the rest of us, it is truly an appalling rape of cinematic beauty. Less frames per second creates the escape… We don’t see in frames so more frames looks like reality and I don’t want to have production companies spend between 70 to 250 million dollars for me to watch scenes that look like they are unfolding in my living room in cos play… More power to you Matt for starting this website, maintaining this website, getting the interviews you do and having the best stories the fastest! Collider is easily one of the best movie website on the net and anyone who argues against that is a fool… Filmonic, movieweb, etc. reports on Collider stories 2 weeks later when no one cares… Anyways, not everyone hates you Matt, just trolls balancing out the equation of life…

    • to the future Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg

      if critics (not paying audiences) decided what movies and/technology made it’s way cinema, the state of the industry would have never produced TRANSFORMERS REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. Don’t be a retard. Critics are an afterthought in the industry, credibility is in the wallet (except for a select few, the Kubrick’s of this world). Go marry Matt, you big silly bear.

      • to the future Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg

        ‘made it’s way to cinema’. I’m drunk typist and now the big silly bear retard.

  • jw

    goldberg is a douchebag. everyone that comes to this site knows that.
    if it isn’t directed, written, edited, or starring joss whedon then he bags on it. fuck him.
    weintraub should have fired his ass a while ago. maybe steve will do so now.
    Seriously noone should question how pete jackson does his movies, just like spielberg and cameron and even del toro- untouchables.

    • A.B

      Exactly! None should be questioned! Infact, you know what, why bother being a Critic, right?!

    • Slice

      How DARE someone not worship a dorky novel about short fat people with big hairy feet who only hang around with guys for years, playing quests and living alone for most of their lives.

      The nerve!

  • Alaska Boy

    Goldberg’s needless (and highly debatable, and largely ignorant and inaccurate) disparaging of the author of the greatest novel of the 20th century aside, his point about technology getting in the way of a good film is a valid and valuable one. When people spend more time talking about the frame speed and the overreliance on SFX than they do about the performances, that’s a problem. This is exactly what I (and a lot of other Tolkien fans) feared would happen to the Hobbit, and I’m thankful to have reviews that help lower my expectations so I can (hopefully) enjoy the film when I see it (in 2D) tomorrow. Thanks!

  • John

    I’m willing to bet he hasn’t even read Tolkien’s books.
    Fucking idiot.

  • Chris

    Tolkien isn’t a bad writer. The worlds he built and the characters he created couldn’t stand the test of time if he was a hack. He might have been a crap editor, however.

  • Chris

    Tolkien isn\’t a bad writer. The worlds he built and the characters he created couldn\’t stand the test of time if he was a hack. He might have been a crap editor, however.

  • Hunter

    I came for the comments… did anyone skip the review and do the same?

    • S.H.I.E.L.DON COUPEUR

      I did…

  • Masshuu il Thulcandra

    Maybe Goldberg can’t read. He could be dyslexic or have some other brain impediment. He must have. He is most negative and the few things i read that are positive, I disagreed with so there we are.

  • tarek

    You all swear you will never read his posts again, still you react the same way each time…So predictable you guys…^^

  • AgentCooper

    I think this review pretty much eliminates any credibility Goldfinger had left!!!

    I think maybe he’s better suited reviewing porn flicks over at the AVN site!!!! At least there the movies don’t “take too long to get going”!!!!!

    What a goof!!!!!

    • orbital

      Actually it’s people who use five exclamation marks in a row who lose credibility.

  • Jcallejas30

    Yeah! Fuck Goldberg!

  • iamtryingtobelieve

    People, please calm the hell down. I love reading The Hobbit, and I love reading LOTR, but let’s be honest, Tolkien’s writing isn’t exactly something that everyone can appreciate. Dude’s great at creating a world, and making vast stories full of history, but storytelling isn’t exactly his gift.

    Goldberg’s right, a straight adaptation would’ve been terrible. Tolkien’s novels had no urgency, little emotional drama, and no heft to the story. Reading them is like reading a magnificent book of history. No matter how great it is, it all feels inevitable and even if you don’t know all the little details, you pretty much know how it’s all going to turn out.

    Have you ever tried to read The Silmarillion? It’s a wonderful tome that’s great to read, but damn does it get boring, and occasionally you have to just force yourself through.

    Some people appreciate this style of writing, others don’t. If it’s not your thing, you’ll think of Tolkien as a shitty writer, plain and simple. And you know the crazy thing about this? He’s not the first person to ever say this, it’s actually a pretty common complaint of Tolkien’s writing that you’ll hear quite often in discussions of his work.

    And you’ve gotta stop getting so damn whiny when you read a negative review. The idea of film criticism is to take the film apart and see how it ticks, why it ticks, or even if it does. Some of you get so high & mighty with your “He’s not a filmmaker, what gives him the right to say it sucked!” talk. First, he didn’t say it sucked, he said it didn’t live up to Jackson’s original trilogy, which seems to be the consensus. Second, you know full well that when you see a movie that you think sucks, you tell your friends how much it sucks, the only difference between you & Goldberg is that he has an audience and you don’t.

    And for Pete’s sake, can we get over TDKR? Come on people, I thought it was a damn fine piece of blockbuster filmmaking, but I know a lot of people who either weren’t fans, or were disappointed by how it didn’t measure up to TDK. I don’t call them trolls when we talk about it, because I’m not a child who gets angry at differing opinions.

    I love Collider. I love the articles, I love the reviews, I love the interviews, and I love the style in which they do everything, but I so rarely say anything in the comments section because of the crazy fanboy obsessions that lash out at every critique of that special thing they love, because it’s perfect dammit, and everyone who disagrees is trying to attack you personally.

    • Anonymous

      Here here.

      • chanandeler bong

        Where?

      • DREDD

        THERE! ^^^

        I totally agree with the above comment, i was gonna write pretty much that too.

        I’ve only read the Hobbit out of Tolkiens books, but i agree, its creative and descriptive and obviously written by a smart guy. However, it is all over the place and plodding, then rushed in parts as if he couldn’t wait to finish it. The whole climax of the dragon and the surprise 5 armies battle was brutally short. But Dwarves repeatedly hanging their cloaks on hooks in Bilbos house and them being introduced was painfully slow. Tolkien reminds me of George Lucas, great ideas, smart guy, but bad at sertain aspects of putting his ideas down. Both also don’t seem to stick with the intended age brackets. ie it goes from very young audiences one minuit pissing off adults, then pretty dark or adult themes that would likely bore children.

        I just hope the film doesnt have singing spiders. Its a very muddled book. I’m not saying Tolkiens a bad writer, but he isn’t the greatest storyteller(based on just the Hobbit alone)

        As fot TDKR, first viewing WOW!! Second viewing plus internet bloggers pointing out the huge flaws, not so great. I understand people liking it, but it is also a mixture of awesomeness and atrocious film making.

    • fitzchiv

      hey could you please be a little bit more patronizing and condescending? its obvious that matt goldbergs TDK review and this hobbit review were both designed to be provocative and sensationalist as opposed to fair and balanced. matt goldbergs ridiculous comments about tolkiens writing is point in case. fair enough, not everyone enjoys tolkiens work, but the same could be said of james joyce, however no-one, but a complete donkey, would call him a bad writer

      • iamtryingtobelieve

        “Could you please be a little bit more patronizing & condescending”
        Yes I could, but I don\’t feel like being a TOTAL asshole today.

        I honestly don’t see the sensationalism that you\’re talking about (in the TDKR review, I’ll get to the thing that people are going crazy about in this review in a bit). I already mentioned I’m a huge fan of TDKR, and I just went back to read his review of the film. And you know what? He makes some good points. The film was very flawed, the storytelling was clunky, it contained probably too many characters (Matthew Modine was good in his role, but why was he even in the movie? I assume for a thematic purpose, because he was useless plot-wise), and there was relatively little Batman (something I thought worked, but could easily be seen as a negative). There’s nothing particularly inflammatory in that review, yet people here lost their minds simply because he didn’t agree with the rabid online hive-mind.

        This review here is fantastic, it’s not only a well-written critique of the film, but also contains a great opening for conversation on technology and how films should be viewed & discussed. The only inflammatory thing it contains is an aside about how Jackson crafted great films from books that Goldberg (and honestly, a large group of people) felt were poorly written. There’s a legitimate conversation to be had about Tolkien’s writing style and how it influenced the films. But people here saw it and reacted as if they just watched the dude stab their pet cats. That’s the thing about opinions, everyone\’s got one. If you think someone’s opinion is off-the-wall bonkers, you can either start a conversation, or shrug it off with a simple, “Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.” It’s not that hard.

        The dude didn’t like a couple blockbuster movies that seem to be tailor-made for us nerds to love, and said so in his reviews. That’s it. The comment section of this website makes no attempt to discuss the reviews, instead they jumped right into attacking his opinion. In both instances, people went crazy before most of them had even seen it, which is kinda ridiculous.

        I guess I’m just trying to say that just because his opinion may be different than yours doesn’t make him a troll, it just means he has a different opinion.

      • iamtryingtobelieve

        I honestly don’t see the sensationalism that you’re talking about (in the TDKR review, I’ll get to the thing that people are going crazy about in this review in a bit). I already mentioned I’m a huge fan of TDKR, and I just went back to read his review of the film. And you know what? He makes some good points. The film was very flawed, the storytelling was clunky, it contained probably too many characters (Matthew Modine was good in his role, but why was he even in the movie? I assume for a thematic purpose, because he was useless plot-wise), and there was relatively little Batman (something I thought worked, but could easily be seen as a negative). There’s nothing particularly inflammatory in that review, yet people here lost their minds simply because he didn’t agree with the rabid online hive-mind.

        This review is fantastic, it’s not only a well-written critique of the film, but also contains a great opening for conversation on technology and how films should be viewed & discussed. The only inflammatory thing it contains is an aside about how Jackson crafted great films from books that Goldberg (and honestly, a large group of people) felt were poorly written. There’s a legitimate conversation to be had about Tolkien’s writing style and how it influenced the films. But people here saw it and reacted as if they just watched the dude stab their pet cats. That’s the thing about opinions, everyone’s got one. If you think someone’s opinion is off-the-wall bonkers, you can either start a conversation, or shrug it off with a simple, “Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.” It’s not that hard.

        The dude didn’t like a couple blockbuster movies that seem to be tailor-made for us nerds to love, and said so in his reviews. That’s it. The comment section of this website makes no attempt to discuss the reviews, instead they jumped right into attacking his opinion. In both instances, people went crazy before most of them had even seen it, which is kinda ridiculous.

        I guess I’m just trying to say that just because his opinion may be different than yours doesn’t make him a troll, it just means he has a different opinion.

        *Note* If this has posted several times before, I apologize, for some reason I keep trying to post it, and it keeps failing.

      • fitzchiv

        @iamtryingtobelieve, two things, firstly, i come to this site, and others like it, to be informed about upcoming movies, i read the reviews to gauge whether its worth my while spending my hard earned dollar on a particular movie. i expect a review to be able to help me make an informed and balanced decision. matt goldbergs reviews do not do this. his reviews are worthless and diminish the credibility of the site. its completely obvious his reviews are designed to bait and provoke and are of no value. secondly, you say matt goldberg simply expresses his opinion and you infer that we should all just get over it. however matt goldbergh presents his opinions as statements of fact, he doesnt frame them as opinions at all. to say that tolkien is a bad writer is absolutely preposterous, its a breathtakingly ridiculous thing to say. he doesnt opine this this, he states this as fact!
        now i dont know matt goldberg personally and i’m sure he’s a great guy, i have nothing at all to say about him personally, but when you publish something, in whatever form, you are open to criticism, and i believe that matt goldberghs reviews, whilst occasionally sharp and insightful, are generally designed to be sensationalist and contrary and therefore lose any credibility and undermine the site as a whole.

    • StupidBloggingHobbit

      I agree with a good deal of this (Tolkien had little grasp of or interest in writing female characters for exmaple) but claiming that “Tolkien’s a bad writer” is just plain ignorant – especially coming from someone who rarely manages to knock out two coherent sentences in a row.

    • Chris

      “Have you ever tried to read The Silmarillion?”

      Twice. Just can’t do it, even though I’ve read (and loved) all of Tolkien’s other books. And this is coming from a guy who breezed through the last 2 entries in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series.

      Oh, and Tom Bombadil = Jar Jar Binks.

    • Ash Talon

      I agree with everything in this post. Tolkein was a good world/history builder, but he had little sense of actual storytelling. The Hobbit, while having a more whimsical style, breezes over so many events without playing up tension or drama. I love the LOTR books but getting past “Concerning Hobbits” is a chore. I actually really like The Silmarillion, but I can completely understand how some people might not like it.

      Your post also brings up something that’s been bothering me about online discussions. Why must we all agree on everything? If someone doesn’t like something you do, why are they labeled a “troll” or “hater?” Can’t we just have differing opinions? I often see posts or talk to people that can’t actually defend their tastes. I may be a harsh critic regarding films/tv, but I can defend my opinions and accept another person’s opinion.

      Honestly, I feel completely indifferent toward The Hobbit films. I’m not really looking forward to them, but I hope I can enjoy them to some capacity. I just feel like it’s more of a duty to see them than a desire. This is coming from someone that loves the LOTR films.

  • REALLY?

    Goldberg is basically a hired troll. He writes these ridiculous reviews because he knows we will all freak out and post 100 times in the comments.

    Collider keeps him on staff because he gets hits….. LOTS and LOTS of hits. If we really want to end his tyrannical reign of bullshit we should learn to IGNORE him.

    This will be my last comment on a Matt Goldberg reviewed movie ever. I encourage you all to do the same.

    • StupidBloggingHobbit

      If he is a hired troll then we should probably try and keep him talking until the sun comes up…

  • orbital

    I don’t agree with Matt Goldberg on Tolkien but reading the majority of these comments here reveals one truth about the internet: It doesn’t make you stupid, it just makes your stupidity more accessible to others.

  • David

    If Tolkien’s a bad writer, what does that make you?

  • El Maskador

    Former Latino-review writer George ” El Guapo” Roush was obscene, vulgar, and crass in his criticisms, but hilarious….Matt Goldberg isn’t. He’s just a Troll

  • Grayden

    Hahahaha, wait…hang on Goldberg, I think you meant to use “unorthodox” writer instead of “bad” writer. Being a terrible writer yourself, I can understand it’s hard to use big words that more aptly describe someone, and so use small words, like “bad”. If you knew anything about Tolkien you would know that the man wasn’t a writer by profession or education, he was a linguist. Which is why his books are strong visually. Narratively they do lag, because Tolkien wasn’t a proper writer. Duh. You can criticize the man’s writing, sure, but when his books are the 2nd most read books, in the history of publication, after the Bible…your opinion of him being a bad writer just comes off as humorous.

  • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

    Okay, let’s straighten some things out:

    1) Tolkien was good at building a world, characters, and themes. His prose is god-awful. If you’re spending pages upon pages describing characters walking up a hill, you’re doing it wrong. Maybe spending an entire chapter with an irritating nobody like Tom Bombadil isn’t the best way to get your adventure going, especially if the only payoff is learning how a character got an important sword.

    2) Allow me to sum up half of Tolkien’s The Hobbit: Bilbo was homesick and the dwarves were grouchy and useless.

    3) I suppose if millions of people share an opinion, that opinion is correct…except for all of the times history proves otherwise. Millions of people love Twilight therefore Stephanie Meyer is a writing goddess. Surely, these fans can’t be wrong according to your logic.

    4) I don’t bait. I don’t troll. I write what I believe. I could care less if I get your attention or not. I write about movies because I love to do it. I did it when no one was reading, and I’ll keep doing it whether you read my stuff or not. I care about the input of my peers, not the approval of strangers.

    5) Haters gonna hate. Whenever I dip my toe into the toxic wasteland that is a comments section, there are usually at least a few people who are thoughtful and are willing to engage in a discussion. I am grateful for those people. I love it when we disagree because they are smart enough to back up their opinions with well-reasoned arguments.

    Sadly, those people are few and far between. Mostly, these comments sections tend to be filled with the stereotypical commenter who disagrees but can’t be bothered to explain why. You are hateful, pedestrian, obvious, and boring. Also, I always sign my name to what I write, which is more than I can say for most of you.

    Love,
    Matt Goldberg

    • fitzchiv

      your reviews are deliberately sensationalist and provocative. your comments on tolkiens writings are beyond ridiculous. not everyone enjoys reading james joyces ‘ulysses’ does that make joyce a bad writer? and you talk about peer approval, do you think tolkien was approved by his peers? oh and by the way, does your dad bank roll this site or something?

    • Lexavi80

      I enjoyed your movie review. I thought it was insightful and told me all I needed to know about the new format.

      I think you address the story and the characters in a partial manner, which made me aware of what I was going to see in the cinema. I got a good perspective out of it.

      However, your comment about Tolkien being a “bad writer” are completely pointless for a movie review. It made me think about a child screaming so everybody notice him.

      True, The Fellowship of the Rings felt a tad long and over descriptive of landscape, characters and past events, but after the first half it completely took the way up.

      Both, Two Towers and (specially) Return of the King are fantastic and FLUID story-telling. That tells me that it was all by design. That the writer spend lots of time, not only writing a book or writing only characters, but creating an entire world and myth and folklore and history for that new world, so the events in the coming books have an extra amount of impact.

      If you had save that little rant at the end, I assure you wouldn’t be in this unnecessary position.

      Your bad!

    • Danny

      Look at Goldy trying to sound intelligent.

      3) You’re point on Twilight makes no sense. Sure, Stephanie Meyer has millions of fans around the world. But we all know what age that fanbase is. The vast majority of Twilight fans like it because they are 12 year old girls who enjoy imagining themselves as the main female character who has R Pat and the wolf guy fighting over them. There’s no way in hell you could say the same thing about Tolkien’s fanbase.

      5) People hate you and your reviews/posts because they don’t make sense. You just post crap filled with facts that are completely wrong or you post stupid statements like Tolkien is a bad writer, which has nothing to do with the actual film you’re reviewing.

      Maybe you should get your head out of your ass and realize maybe there’s something wrong with you and not your “haters.”

      • Danny

        *your

    • Attn Matt Goldberg

      In response:

      1) He wasn’t a writer by education or profession. He was a linguist. You should take that into consideration when you write a review, or make a comment disparaging something he clearly loved and spent more than half his life working on.

      2)Allow me to sum up Children’s Books: For children. If you need more contextual evidence for why the Hobbit seems more juvenile in comparison to Lord of the Rings, then I don’t know what to tell you.

      3)If yours is an opinion, then frame it as such. I wouldn’t say you intend to be overtly harsh in your reviews, because you wouldn’t like hardly any film that is released. However, your tone is such that it comes off as contrarian, or just smug. I don’t always agree with Ebert, but then again, he’s a critic because he wanted to be and loves film. Your reviews read like it was a chore to watch that movie, at times.

      4) Why write reviews if not for strangers? If you only cared about what your peers thought, you’d only show them your review. Hate to break it to you, but when you put something on the internet Matt, it’s for everyone to see and comment on. You may not care about our input, but you care that we reply.

      5) I have never once seen you try to engage anyone after any review you’ve given. I’ve seen Frosty add a comment once after a review of someones and make a few comments before, but when you throw up your review and then don’t engage us if we’re collectively disagreeing, then that falls on you. Don’t blame us for reacting if you aren’t even going to engage us and defend yourself, otherwise deal with it. Nature of the beast.

      In closing, we all love movies. That’s why we’re here. People like reviews because it gives them a perspective on a film yet to be released. We like hearing other opinions on films, especially if we agree, but when we routinely read reviews from a reviewer that are negative in tone, but not necessarily negative in nature, then of course we’re going to push back. Either turn off the comments for your reviews if you don’t want to deal with the feedback, or join in the conversation. Just don’t come down here and act all “high and might” because you’re no different than the rest of us save for the fact that you get paid to write your opinions and we don’t.

      Josh Hiner

      • Sam Vimes

        What he said!

    • sloan

      Wow a Matt Goldberg comment. holy shit…. and he obviously proofread it! Try doing that with your articles next time you insult a linguist.

      Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease,
      Mike Sloan

    • steven austin ziesche

      Mr. Goldberg, it boils down to a few things.

      1. No one likes a writer who writes only for themselves and who hates their readers.

      2. You’re ego seems to wanna forget you get paid for doing this. The internet is a sea of dicks waiting to give their opinion for free. Give them a paycheck toward their name’s credibility and i’m sure you’ll see many more real firsts and lasts popping up as their moniker. Responding to a comments section in such a broad manor seems to show these comments of your readers you so admonish really do in fact get to you a little, but you try to sit above them as you tell of how they are still wrong. It’s Friday tomorrow, does Collider pay bi-monthly or by the article?

      I’m not inclining that you change your opinion, but without readers, you would just be one more faceless blog in the ether abyss.

    • Conor O’Hara

      Mr. Goldberg,

      The Lord of the Rings was read only less than the Bible amongst 20th century novels, but you disparage Tolkien’s writing? Based on what experience? A degree in what, exactly? Are you a professor of languages? A fellow of Oxford? Are you in the midst of the throes of writing an entire universe which will be remembered for decades (and perhaps centuries) to come?

      I’m interested if you think the same of The Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy? He also uses “pages upon pages” to describe people travelling across plains and up hills. Ah, but I forgot, you may not have read it in the first place, given your limited view of quality.

      The two authors have something in common: they are beloved. You, Mr. Goldberg, are an evidently ignorant critic who couldn’t write a book, direct a movie, or – unfortunately for you – write a film review that would garner any semblance of the aforementioned’s respect or love. Congratulations on the page hits, it’s all you seem to wish for at this point.

      Critics are failed writers. Never forget what you are, Matt.

      Disrespectfully yours,

      Conor O’Hara

      P/s

      As a film critic, try writing a review once you’ve seen it in every offered format to have a balanced opinion of it. Just a thought, champ.

      P/p/s

      When was a film’s plot structure a boon or detriment to the movie itself? Perhaps you should spend more time looking at the story itself rather than how it’s told. Or is it – like a novel would be – too complex for your mind to travel to and fro, trying to make sense of it?

    • Conor O\’Hara

      P/p/p/s

      My response to your example of “poor” prose is on the second page.

      You have accomplished one thing with this critique: dissuaded people from viewing it in HFR 3D.

      Half of your reviews include the following: misplaced (and disturbing) pompousness. It’s as though you are so jealous that these people were given the ability to establish their visions, on-camera, that you pepper your critiques with some strange self-motivation subtext.

      This is the last time I will ever visit Collider. A shame because writers like Chitwood, Trumbore, Weintraub, and Radish are good. Farewell and enjoy your hits.

    • scottishpunk

      Goldberg, honestly, from the way you write, you give off the strong impression that you are a very unhappy person. U mad bro?

      Riddance,
      Travis D.

  • Lexavi80

    Written like a true asshole.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      Tell Mr. and Mrs. Lexavi80 I said, “Hi”.

      • Alan

        Of all the punchlines you could have written, THIS (“Tell Mr. and Mrs. Lexavi80 I said, “Hi”.”) was your idea of funny? Seriously?

    • fitzchiv

      well said

  • Sam Vimes

    “…Tolkien’s a bad writer…”

    Hey, just because I have read many reviews by Mr Goldberg where he states that he did not have read the book (someone please count those!), he cannot be wrong.

    Or can he?

    Just let me quote from Wikipedia and the I rest my case. Which is: Never read a Goldberg review ever and NEVER EVER COMMENT ABOUT THEM. EVER AGAIN!

    -SAM

    ” In the 2003 “Big Read” survey conducted by the BBC, The Lord of the Rings was found to be the UK’s “Best-loved Novel”. Australians voted The Lord of the Rings “My Favourite Book” in a 2004 survey conducted by the Australian ABC. In a 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers, The Lord of the Rings was judged to be their favourite “book of the millennium”. In 2002 Tolkien was voted the 92nd “greatest Briton” in a poll conducted by the BBC, and in 2004 he was voted 35th in the SABC3′s Great South Africans, the only person to appear in both lists. His popularity is not limited to the English-speaking world: in a 2004 poll inspired by the UK’s “Big Read” survey, about 250,000 Germans found The Lord of the Rings to be their favourite work of literature.”

    • Sam Vimes

      Oh, and by the way, those surveys you will never ever get for Twilight.

      Over time, I have met a few people whose taste in movies I trust. I realised that Mr Goldberg is not one of them. Quite the contrary.

      Nobody forces me to read his reviews. I browse this site for the contributions of Frosty. Especially his interviews. Great stuff.

      But sometimes, when I read something that bothers me, I have to comment. Like when somebody in the streets deliberately throws his trash next to the bin.

      I had to do this, Mr Goldberg. I promise I will never do it again. I am disgusted, offended by your interpretation of the comments section (which is not the same for all of your colleagues) and I bet that “those people are few and far between” is most definitely not the case.

      By the way, do you dare to have your reviews reviewed? By your peers or an independent poll?

      Just curious.

      -Sam

      • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

        I think the “reviewing of my reviews” is the comments section. Most reviews boil down to “I disagree therefore Goldberg sucks. Fire Goldberg.”

        And look at everything that was written about this review, and tell me I’m wrong. The best comment was “iamtryingtobelieve” simply because he/she took the time to write something substantial as opposed to “I came for the comments…did anyone skip the review and do the same?”

      • Alan

        The very idea that Goldberg cannot see any criticism as anything more than “I disagree therefore Goldberg sucks. Fire Goldberg” shows that there is no point in trying to engage him. He’s rationalising, will never change and will blame others for his own inadequacies as a writer.

  • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

    From J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT:

    “As soon as the raft of barrels came in sight boats rowed out from the piles of the town, and voices hailed the raft-steerers. Then ropes were cast and oars were pulled, and soon the raft was drawn out of the current of the Forest River and towed away round the high shoulder of rock into the little bay of Lake-town. There it was moored not far from the shoreward head of the great bridge. Soon men would come up from the South and take some of the casks away, and others they would fill with goods they had brought to be taken back up the stream to the Wood-elves’ home.”

    This is what turgid prose looks like. It’s like someone writing a paragraph describing someone getting out of a car.

    Also, I’ve now provided an example to back up my point. You could provide a counterexample. You could point out what makes Tolkien one of the greatest writers of all-time. You could take the time to prove something rather than being the typical commenter who sharts out a comment and then runs away. But since you don’t take the time to back up what you believe in, you’re not really worth anyone’s time.

    • sloan

      put up some of your wonderful prose Mr. Goldberg! Please oh please oh please. I just know everyone here would love to read something you wrote, something that comes from the heart.

      Thy humble servant,
      Mike Sloan

    • fitzchiv

      yeah sure what would those guys in oxford univesity know, appointing a hack such jrr tolkien as professor of english language and literature, or those imbeciles at ‘the times’ nominating tolkien as the 5th greatest post war british writer, what would they know!

    • StupidBloggingHobbit

      “It’s like someone writing a paragraph describing someone getting out of a car.” Pretty turgid.

      “Sharts” isn’t a real word.

      “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” is a better, more evocative opening line than you’ll ever write in all your insular little blogging days. And let’s not forget in all this that The Hobbit was a book written for very young kids. He wasn’t really aiming for the Twilight crowd!

      Just accept that you’ve made yourself look a bit of a twat and move on.

    • Tol

      Matt, please write that Tolkien paragraph how you would’ve written it.

      Remember you need to describe how the barrels were rescued from the river, and how some were stocked with goods to sell to the elves.

    • Conor O’Hara

      “It’s like someone writing a paragraph describing someone getting out of a car.”

      He is describing life in that particular port. Of course it sounds systematic, he’s describing how those cultures go about their daily lives and interact with each other. You’re unbelievable.

      Disrespectfully yours,

      Conor O’Hara

    • TheSargonTimes

      I never got why so many people loathed you, but now I totally do!

    • VDawg

      On the off chance anyone is still reading this, let me explain something about how to critique literature, which, surprisingly, is not the same thing as film. Words do the work in books that images do in movies–so sometimes an author needs a lot of them.
      A paragraph is like a camera shot–some are slow motion, some are fast, some are stationary, and some move. I could draw out the metaphor, but I’ll get to the point. It is possible to dislike the style of a good writer–I don’t like Hemingway, for example–but a critic who knows anything will understand that Hemingway is very skilled at what he does. In the same way, Tolkien is very skilled, and understands that the sort of story he is telling requires a description of customary life for world-building purposes, and a style that recalls early medieval northern literature.
      The second sentence of this selection uses passive voice–unusual in modern English–and creates a distinct anthropomorphic image by describing a rock formation as a “shoulder.” The vocabulary used throughout the passage–”raft-steerers,” “cast,” “shoreward head”–reinforces the feeling of a different culture that both speaks and thinks in a way unlike us. What we are left with is a snapshot of a foreign culture and a different world, and also an understanding of the plot event that is happening.
      And you know what? It takes less time to read those sentences than it does to watch the Terminator get out of a car and crush a toy. Maybe that scene is wasting our time, too–or maybe it’s establishing something important to the story.

  • Mike

    One of the worst reviews I’ve read. Is it decently written? Sure, I guess. But the stupidity and arrogance of the writer is astounding. His lack of knowledge of HFR 3D, and his downright hate of it speaks to what I fear a lot of “i hate change” people will spew forth on us in the coming days. But he really capped it off with that * about tolkien sucking. What a fool of a took.

  • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

    Hey guys and gals, I gotta get going, but thanks for reading the site even though you strongly dislike me. I truly, honestly mean that.

    • Michole

      lol.. take it light

    • jimmer

      The site is awesome, no one is denying that. Don’t be a punk, all our comments are directed towards YOU. Not the site.

      You are simply disrespectful and not CRITICAL, which is how you should be, to people who have a 100 times more talent than you.

      • Strong Enough

        please shut up. no one cares

    • Sean

      The problem isn’t that you aren’t allowed to have your opinion. The problem is that you state your opinion in a manner which is intentionally abrasive and caustic. You know that you’re critiquing a writer who’s been beloved and acclaimed for 75 years. You know the people reading your review are mostly fans of the material you’re about to criticize. You’re not writing a book review, but then you casually throw in a comment about the awfulness of the author of the book. There’s no way you didn’t know you were poking a hornets nest.

      There’s a way to disagree where you come off like someone with differing tastes and sensibilities. And there’s a way to do it which makes you look like an arrogant contrarian. Here he decided to start off with the arrogant contrarian, but then went back and attempted to defend your position.

  • El Maskador

    Admit it Goldberg, you just ran to the nearest Barnes and Noble, opened the Hobbit, and typed on your Ipad the first paragraph you saw to make your point. It’s called imagery, you illiterate buffoon! Stick to your Dan Brown and James Pattersons and don’t try to critique literature!

  • sense 11

    its an amazing movie with amazing cinematography, this review is complete BS

  • Jazzpha

    Very incisive and thoughtful review, Mr. Goldberg. My thanks.

    Now, I need some help understanding something here. Why is it that so many people let themselves get whipped up into a frenzy by the opinion of someone they don’t know and, quite evidently (from the tone of these comments) don’t respect? If you think Goldberg is a moron, what he says should be worthless to you. It shouldn’t make you rage.

    Some people don’t like Tolkien’s style of prose. Other people do, a great deal. This is fine; cultural acceptance doesn’t have to be homogenous. That’s boring. I personally found the mythology of the Silmarillion to be fascinating, but the beginning of it was some of the driest expository description of land I’ve ever read in my life. It was a slog, plain and simple.

    Point is, this is the internet. Stop caring so much about the opinions of other, random people concerning the things you love. It’s not an attack on you as a person, as much as you apparently believe it to be. Take a deep breath, shrug off whatever Goldberg said that made you rage, and take comfort in the fact that the manuscripts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings stand unaltered in the wake of his opinion. Your adoration of Tolkien, and Tolkien’s legacy, is in no way affected by this review. Disagreeing with someone’s opinion on a work of literature is not grounds for legitimizing insults, vitriol, or hate.

    I know I’m probably a voice shouting into the void on this one, but hey.

    • fitzchiv

      you know what, youre right, being whipped into a vitriolic frenzy by the opinions of other, random internet people concerning the things you love is almost as bad as feeling the need to patronizingly correct and admonish those same random internet people.

      • iamtryingtobelieve

        My comment is one you could say is patronizing. I’ve been coming to this site for several years now, and in my eyes, the comments section has become more & more juvenile. It’s more like monkeys flinging poo rather than anything approaching legitimate film conversation. True, a good back & forth will happen occasionally, but those are sadly few & far between. Reading the comments after the review kind of ticked me off, because I saw no legitimate points being made, just the regular ole “Goldberg sucks…Fire him…Oh noes, someone didn’t like that thing that I love,” and posted my reaction to all of that. Mine was meant to be patronizing because I think this website has a bunch of great content, and I think the comments section can potentially be awesome too.

        But Jazzpha’s comment isn’t condescending whatsoever. What is condescending about someone asking, “Guys, do you think we might be overreacting here?”

      • fitzchiv

        @iamtryingtobelieve: being told how to behave from a position of superiority is absolutely condescending.
        con·de·scend·ing /ˌkändəˈsendiNG/
        Adjective, Acting in a way that betrays a feeling of patronizing superiority. (of an action) Demonstrating such an attitude.

  • Fire Him

    ear Collider, Please fire Matt Goldberg, he is worse than the reviewers at Entertainment Weekly. First off, this was already reviewed last week (in a much better grammatically written review). Secondly, he comes off as a snob who likes to piss people off with comments that aren’t remotely funny at all, no matter how much he thinks they are. So case in point, fire the fucker

    • Fire Him

      *Dear, can’t be pulling a Goldberg here

  • Spence

    you know what, I agree. I do think Tolkien is a bad writer. I found Lord of the Rings to be an absolute chore to get through. Not as much with the Hobbit, but still. He has a tendency to over describe, and many of his action scenes have a last minute cop out.

    I say this not too continue raising the ire of people here, but to point out that it is his opinion, and he is not the only one with that opinion. A critics entire job is about expressing their opinion.

  • Tone LG

    Things are upside down at Collider: attention-seeking Trolls are now the ones writing the articles instead of pestering the comments section!

  • brNdon

    I love that fact that Goldberg felt he needed to review a movie that was already reviewed on this site over a week ago.He’s like a 3-year-old who can’t share his blockbuster movie reviews. Trumbore had already nailed it. I would have bet my next paycheck that Goldberg was going to give this movie a lower rating than Dave, and he did not disappoint.

    Love,
    Brandon Rowe

    P.S.
    Matt, you only signed your name on one of your postings.

  • The Mantis

    I GUARANTEE that Goldberg hates Tolkien because he was a very devout Christian. Goldberg has proven time and time again that he’s a raging liberal and I haven’t a doubt in my mind he doesn’t like the books because of the Christian themes throughout them. I’m surprised no one else picked up on this…. And for those who don’t know, look it up, everything he wrote was based on Christianity. And that tends to really piss liberals off.

    • sj

      Wait, you know that he expressly stated that he wanted to create an entire new mythology for England that was in no way allegorical, and that he was not a fan of his good buddy CS Lewis’ Narnia books because he felt that their Christian themes were too overwrought, right?

      Yes, Tolkien was a devout Catholic. No, the books were not intended to be any type of re-telling of Christianity.

      Maybe YOU should look it up.

      • mouse

        Not a “re-telling” of Christianity, but LotR is a very Christian story, at leas thematically. Tolkien said so himself; he called it “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work, unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision”.

        I agree though in the sense that it’s a bit much to say “everything he wrote was based on Christianity”. It’s just as true to say everything he wrote based on Germanic mythology – maybe more so. The themes were Christian, but the tangible elements of the world itself – elves, dwarfs, dragons – that’s Germanic mythology. You have to look harder for the Christian stuff and know what you’re looking for, because it’s all about grace and mercy and withstanding temptation, while all the Heathen elements are right in your face. Gandalf, for example, is in Tolkien’s own words an “Odinic wanderer”, and his very name was nicked from the Sagas.

        So “creating a new mythology for England” is a bit much, too – not that you’re wrong to say it; I mean, Tolkien may have said as much, but he basically took the mythology England already had and added Christian bits. But I do have to agree with him re: Narnia. I could never stomach reading that myself.

      • Grayden

        mouse: I wouldn’t say Tolkien took England’s established mythology (the Germanic/Norman “Authurian” legends), tweaked it, and made it “Christianized”. Those mythologies were already Christian in nature, specifically the Quest Knights trying to find the Holy Grail to heal the land, and I don’t really see LotR being overtly Christian in nature or theme. At least in obvious ways. If you look at his entire body of work regarding Middle Earth it has a very primitive hierarchy of “higher powers”, a pantheon of Gods like ancient Greece/Rome, and further back. There is no “one God belief structure” in Tolkien’s universe. You have various entities that chose to depart from Illuvatar’s presence and descend to Middle Earth from the Void to shape the world and hold dominion over all it’s inner workings, the Ainur or Valar. Lesser beings (think lower choirs of angels) who were lesser in power but still “divine”, who aided the Valar in their tasks or the Enemy in theirs. These were Maiar spirits: Sauron, Balrogs, Melian, and the Istari (wizards) all belong to this level of “divinity”.

        Read the Silmarillion to get the entire scale of it, but he tapped many sources of mythology and literature to build Middle Earth. It’s complex and comprehensive in its themes and tones, but at the core of Hobbit and Middle Earth there are what you could claim Christian tenets: compassion, love, doing right by others, etc., but I wouldn’t say he set out to make a Christian-based mythology for England.

  • Adrian

    I don’t really see the point of complaining that Goldberg is only seeking attention by actually giving his post attention. If you think that’s what he’s doing, why would you comment and give him what you think he wants?

    • sloan

      it’s a vicious cycle.

  • Petar

    THIS JUST IN: Goldberg delivers snarky, ill-informed review. In other news: world found to be round, babies not delivered by storks.

  • Alex Hajna

    Matt, you’ve officially lost any and all respect of mine.

    I will no longer be going to Collider for movie reviews. I hope Steve considers finding someone else, because you are a joke. And I’m far from the only one who thinks so.

  • Jared

    For this site to get any credibility back they need to fire this hack

    • Nate

      I disagree with Goldburg, but I still like reading his reviews. …

  • jimmer

    Collider Staff:

    This is my favorite film website!!! Your information and stories are constant and detailed. But please, addition through subtraction. Let Goldberg go. See comments (including his) above to see why. Not sure how you all can support a writer like that. He just shows no respect and it’s a slap in the face to so many great filmmakers.

    Jeff

  • Justin

    Guys the world needs him, without his abysmal movie reviewing skills we wouldn’t be able to know how truly good something is. We can pretty much take what his says and know that it’s completely opposite of the truth.

  • tarek

    honestly guys, you are getting out of control. Not agreeing with him is one thing. You can not please everyone. But to get into gratuitous insults, it’s heartbreaking. Because insults are the weapon of the weak minds.
    Please grow up and move on. If you do not agree, please give your opinion. And even if you think that you are right, it still is an opinion, not the absolute truth.

    If you do not like Goldberg’s writing, then don’t read his posts. Fair and square.

  • Nick

    I completely disagree with a large number of Goldberg’s reviews. Not only that I have even gotten angry at some of his random comments when he posts news articles as well. This being said, I have not read a single comment in this entire section dismissing Goldberg’s stance on The Hobbit that makes any sense at all. Goldberg provides textual examples of what he means and explains why he believes Tolkien to have a poor grasp of prose. Commenters respond by saying he is an idiot. Or even better, they ask to see his prose or remind him that he can’t write half as well. All of these comments are irrelevant and useless.

    Guess what boys and girls? It doesn’t matter if Goldberg can write as well as Tolkien. My writing skill, or Goldberg’s for that matter have absolutely no correlation with Tolkien’s prose. How bout you address what Goldberg has to say specifically and provide counter points and context for why you disagree, just as Goldberg has very reasonably asked of you? If his opinion is truly so stupid and indefensible as nearly all of you seem to claim, it should be a matter of minutes to form a coherent and ironclad response.

    Lastly comparing Tolkien to James Joyce is an absolutely laughable comparison. They are completely different kinds of writers with exceedingly varied prose and styles, who each aim to accomplish vastly different things in their writing. This, I feel, is potentially the biggest problem in internet debate. Taking two completely unconnected and different things saying that they are the same and claiming victory. Unfortunately the world just does not work that way.

    I actually love Tolkien’s The Hobbit, but Goldberg’s Criticism of it is completely valid and very defensible. There are a litany of examples throughout his writing of questionable prose, and Goldberg has sighted one of many above. I do not believe this makes Tolkien a terrible writer, though maybe a ponderous one, but Goldberg very much has fodder to make that argument.

    Don’t let me interrupt the the thoughtless insults though.

    • Jimmer

      you’re insulting your readers by not reading these comments and putting a label on all of us. read some, believe or not we make our own valid points

    • Attn Matt Goldberg

      The prose argument really doesn’t hold any water because Tolkien wasn’t a writer by trade, as virtually anyone who knows his work should know, and so you can’t really blame him for his lack of expertise. When weighted against the success of his collective works, it seems that his inability to write prose is rendered a moot point. The style is heavily influenced by the works he was fond of, so it makes sense that he would write in that style. Doesn’t mean its terrible, or that he’s terrible for utilizing it. It just means its not a contemporary style; it wasn’t when he wrote the Hobbit and it certainly isn’t today either. It’s a personal gripe that Goldberg has, which he is entitled to, but he effectively tears down Tolkien’s legacy because of it. Everything the man did in his life went into those books; creating an entire world, its inhabitants, its genesis and history, its places and geography, even its languages, is nothing short of amazing. No other writer has even come close to it, yet, to simply boil it down to Tolkien being a bad writer just shows a lack of due diligence and integrity on the part of the reviewer. Also, he’s a film critic, not a book critic, his comment really has no place in a film review. It’s just unprofessional when it comes down to it.

      • Nick

        @Attn Matt Goldberg: So your argument is that because Tolkien did not begin as a writer he cannot be held accountable as one? I hope you realize the absurdity of your assertion. So Tolkien was a linguist by trade, but decided to write a book. What, because he did not spend 4 years studying creative writing he cannot be accountable for what he writes? He is one of the most famous Authors of the 20th century, his prose should reflect that.

        How does a random internet critic commenting on Tolkien’s writing style do jack sh** to his legacy. As stated by you, his collective works speak for themselves, it doesn’t matter what Goldberg’s personal opinions are.

        Oh, so Tolkien was not a writer, but everything he did went into writing those books? Hmmm, I am really struggling to understand what exactly you think a writer is. If Tolkien was not a writer I am really not sure anyone is. Prose is only a piece (granted a rather large one) of what makes a good work of literature and quite frankly it was Tolkien’s greatest weakness in his novels in my opinion. I will agree with Goldberg on that. However, Tolkien spending most of his life as a linguist is only relevant to the discussion of his work as so far as it adds to the understanding of its meaning. It is irrelevant to how we judge the quality of the writing. If I were to submit a novel for consideration to a publisher it is not as if they would say, good ideas, terrible prose, but that second part is irrelevant because he is not a writer by trade. The act of publishing a novel makes one a writer, that is that.

        Goldberg’s comments in fact DO have a place in his criticism. He is stating that copying the book would make for a poor film because Tolkien’s muddled prose would not transfer well to the screen. This is quite the proper setting for Goldberg to make these comments. Do I agree with them? No, but they are perfectly professional and well reasoned.

    • fitzchiv

      “Lastly comparing Tolkien to James Joyce is an absolutely laughable comparison. They are completely different kinds of writers with exceedingly varied prose and styles, who each aim to accomplish vastly different things in their writing. This, I feel, is potentially the biggest problem in internet debate. Taking two completely unconnected and different things saying that they are the same and claiming victory. Unfortunately the world just does not work that way.” – wowzers, you wrote that with a flourish! personally i dont feel that comparing joyce to tolkien is such a leap, of course their works are at either end of the spectrum of the wetsern literary canon, but they are both recognised as behemoths of twentieth century literature. however the point i was trying to make was that just because some people may find a work impenetrable or tough going doesnt necessarily make the work or the author ‘bad’!
      and by the way, i dont have a problem with matt goldberg dissing jrr tolkien, i couldnt care less, what i do care about is the fact that matt goldbergs reviews for big movie releases, such as the hobbit, are usually designed to bait and provoke and are of little or no critical value, which in my opinion undermines the site.
      much love,
      antonio x

  • tarek

    Sorry if it will be a double post:

    honestly guys, you are getting out of control. Not agreeing with him is one thing. You can not please everyone. But to get into gratuitous insults, it’s heartbreaking. Because insults are the weapon of the weak minds.
    Please grow up and move on. If you do not agree, please give your opinion. And even if you think that you are right, it still is an opinion, not the absolute truth.

    If you do not like Goldberg’s writing, then don’t read his posts. Fair and square.

    • Jimmer

      you’re clearly part of the collider staff…. it’s not about his opinions. it’s the way he presents them. in a very disrespectful matter. over a hundred freakin comments…. you people are really gonna back up this punk?
      Steve? Dave? whoever you are, you have a great site, but Matt needs to be reigned in. it’s unprofessional and sad journalism. I have never seen anything like this on an entertainment website.

      ps. it’s the Internet, Matt would have to be ridiculously ignorant to not expect these comments after a story like this

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  • upendra

    Goldberg,

    You can write whatever you want about the movie..nobody cares… but dont say anything about the books, you idiot..

    P.S: Somebody please fire that idiot.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    This Will NOT Stand!! Goldberg just keeps doing it, writing offensive nonsense. It’s gotten unbearable the last few weeks but this review did it for me? Who are you kidding Goldberg?? FIRE GOLDBERG!!!

  • HAHA Nerd Rage

    WHHAAAA Goldberg didn’t give Tokien a BJ. WHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA!

  • Adrian

    Can someone explain to me why you guys continue to read his articles if you know you’re not going to like it or you don’t respect him or he’s already lost credibility with you?

    I mean, each author’s name is right below the article’s title on the front page. How hard is it to just skip the ones that say Matt Goldberg? Are you just looking for the fight?

    • jimmer

      That’s why there’s a comment section buddy. Maybe every comment on every article should show the writer praise?

  • Conor O\’Hara

    \"It’s like someone writing a paragraph describing someone getting out of a car.\"

    He is describing life in that particular port. Of course it sounds systematic, he\’s describing how those cultures go about their daily lives and interact with each other. You\’re unbelievable.

    Disrespectfully yours,

    Conor O\’Hara

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  • John Harrison

    GOLDBERG At His BEST

  • Brandon Heat 07

    Mr. Goldberg, thank you for telling it, like it is!! One of your best reviews… 48fps must leave the cinema (and 3-D along with it). Also agree with your last statement…

  • mrnateathon

    He’s just upset his fellow trolls get turned to stone

  • fitzchiv

    @iamtryingtobelieve, two things, firstly, i come to this site, and others like it, to be informed about upcoming movies, i read the reviews to gauge whether its worth my while spending my hard earned dollar on a particular movie. i expect a review to be able to help me make an informed and balanced decision. matt goldbergs reviews do not do this. his reviews are worthless and diminish the credibility of the site. its completely obvious his reviews are designed to bait and provoke and are of no value. secondly, you say matt goldberg simply expresses his opinion and you infer that we should all just get over it. however matt goldbergh presents his opinions as statements of fact, he doesnt frame them as opinions at all. to say that tolkien is a bad writer is absolutely preposterous, its a breathtakingly ridiculous thing to say. he doesnt opine this this, he states this as fact!
    now i dont know matt goldberg personally and i\’m sure he\’s a great guy, i have nothing at all to say about him personally, but when you publish something, in whatever form, you are open to criticism, and i believe that matt goldberghs reviews, whilst occasionally sharp and insightful, are generally designed to be sensationalist and contrary and therefore lose any credibility and undermine the site as a whole.

  • Tim

    Mr. Goldberg, I respect your opinion concerning the movie but don’t you think it is a little disrespectful to call Tolkien “a bad writer”?

    Everyone knows he is a genius, so to me that just seems like something to say to get a reaction. This is a after all a professional site, right?

  • Tim

    Mr. Goldberg, I respect your opinion concerning the movie but don\’t you think it is a little disrespectful to call Tolkien \"a bad writer\"?

    Everyone knows he is a genius, so to me that just seems like something to say to get a reaction. This is a after all a professional site, right?

  • Ginny Shueey

    Dear. Mr. Goldberg,
    Wow! You have really whipped up the mob this time. After reading your review, the comments, and your additional comments, I am thinking you like to argue. Which is fine, most commentators do too. I think the root of the problems is your tone. I would spend some time with a thesaurus and stop using adjectives such as BAD. People will then spend more time talking about the movie rather than your review; which is the point, right?
    All the best,
    Ginny Shueey

  • Pocketses

    I’ll just go ahead and say I saw the film at midnight, and I left happier than I have ever been after a movie. It was perfect, in my eyes. Didn’t see it in HFR and I’m starting to wonder if I will, that experience I just had was perfect for me.

    It may not be quite as good as Lord of the Rings was in it’s day, but this is still my favorite movie I’ve seen since 2003.

  • Barry

    I thought the review was very informative. What if every single person who ever viewed or reviewed this film gave it an A+? What if every single person thought it was the most amazing film ever? Would that make you guys happy? Would you be pleased if everyone agreed with everything you believe? The world is full of opinions. Some you will find completely “wrong”. I see nothing wrong with letting someone know you disagree. But this must always be accompanied by respect. Screaming at a critic for not loving a movie you love…what does this accomplish? Say you get Matt kick off of Collider and he is replaced with a guy who only writes reviews you agree with. Would this be an honest critic or one who simply panders to the masses? As many mentioned, this film was cast in a very different light by another reviewer before Matt’s review was posted. Matt’s review adds balance. These technical issues need to be addressed. This gimmick of 3D film and high frame rates, is ruining what we love. Film is art. But currently it is being whored out as a money maker. And we are lapping it up like starving dogs. The film industry sees us as a bunch of uneducated, bored, incompetent idiots who will buy whatever they sell. We need to let these companies know we do not appreciate these gimmicks and we do not appreciate being insulted with crap like Transformers. I fear there are too few of us left to have any impact.

  • Smirking_Revenge

    Seriously…? People have to stop bitching about that little footnote. Get over it, it’s one person’s opinion. Besides, his point about how horrific HFR 3D is for film is spot on. If I wanted every movie to look like a euorpean melodrama, I’d move to europe. I want my movies to look like movies. I don’t understand this current obsession certain filmmakers have with HFR. It really doesn’t look better or feel more real. If anything, in the age of CGI, it really weakens the SFX and ends up making it look too cartoony and out-of-place. It’s just awkward.

  • DerpyMcDerpstein

    So is Goldberg like the Armond white of this website? Purposely writes insulting an illogical reviews to get attention?

    • Alan

      Yeah, except White is an actual intellectual in the sense that he understands key concepts in psychological and political approaches to film study. Goldberg seems like an immature brat that doesn’t seem to have any life experience, whatsoever. Both are unlikeable dudes, but at least White has done the work and study to get to that place, whilst Goldberg seems perfectly secure with his intellectual mediocrity.

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  • NCC-1701

    In the past, I have seriously never really had a problem with Matt Goldberg. His opinions are his and mine are mine, and I respect that as a critic he doesn’t like certain movies that I do like, and vice versa. No matter what the critics say about The Hobbit, I am going to form my own opinion on it, and very likely it will not be the same one as Matt’s.

    With that said, I disagree strongly with his comments on J.R.R. Tolkien. I by no means put the man on a pedestal – there are some serious problems with pacing in The Hobbit, and despite the expansion of Arwen in the movies, Eowyn is really the only strong female character in the books. But coming from a blogger on a movie website, whose writing skills have been criticized by others enough times for me to not go into them, that is just rich. However, I was almost willing to just roll my eyes and ignore those remarks.

    But then I feel that Matt did something completely obnoxious by trying to argue his point. In my opinion, the proper thing to do in this situation would have been to maybe apologize for offending anyone, make a point of clarifying that it’s only your opinion, define ‘opinion’ for the stupider commenters out there. Instead Matt had to wade into the comments section, which I acknowledge is a brave thing to do, and throw out an example of Tolkien’s bad writing skills. Not only did this come across as nonsensical, it seemed childish. Matt is right, and he is going to tell you why. I don’t really think Matt is a troll, just a very opinionated person. After this review, though, I do know one thing. Even for a blogger, he’s an immature guy.

  • Filup11

    That comment was just unnecessary.

  • Filup11

    That was just unnecessary.

  • ManBoyDudeChild

    Screw it! I agree with him, the books ARE a chore! They are full of endless fluff that destroyed the narrative and reduced them to a seemingly endless borefest. It wasn\’t an adventure, it was a book of singing, dancing, prancing, and drinking ale, interrupted by this story about some guys going to Mordor. The movie chopped that stuff out. It doesn\’t make you popular to say, but damn it, I couldn\’t stand those fatty stuffing fluffed up books. Give me story and character, not people sitting around with useless secondary characters that have nothing to do with the plot!

  • R

    Got curious so I googled it. Had to see what Matt Goldberg looked like. Much like his reviews, he looked exactly as I had imagined…pathetic.

  • GeekedOutSim

    Finally it is here the movie that defined a generation is back for another round does it deliver? If you want a close look at the film and what i thought of the Frame Rate check out my channel- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJRt-HmFgQ8

  • rondo3

    If HOBBIT was to be made immediately after RETURN OF THE KING it would have been as much fun as the bunch. Now decade later P.Jackson is a unit in processed meat factory, without any new ideas, vision and ambition (his brand will churn out money regardless the quality ); the 2010s CGI and cameras are now combining for godawful look of fantasy flicks, and the innovation the trilogy brought to good mainstream filmmaking, has long been stumped to ground by the hundreds of COPYCATS that mostly came around CHRISTMAS.

    THE HOBBIT is far far from recreating those infernally good feelings we had about LOTR trilogy-

  • HeSaidSheSaidMv

    LOTR fans have almost no objectivity when it comes their beloved source material. I’ve seen it all over the net for years now.

    I read the trilogy once and part of me liked it. The other part of me agrees with Goldberg. The books can really drag on at times, and the poetry/singing is awful. Downright awful. LOTR fans cannot accept that some people feel this way. The fact that one simple, subjective statement makes them lose credibility for the writers is a testament of their own credibility.

    There is a reason fantasy is a very segmented market, it’s because it bores a lot of people.

  • HeSaidSheSaidMv

    LOTR fans have almost no objectivity in my experience. They lynch you if you don’t love anything and everything about Tolkien’s work. I’m not a huge fan, but I enjoyed the books and am glad I have read them. There are times where I really struggled to get through it though. I don’t go for poems, songs, or the tone the book takes on. I want characters to speak like real people.

  • josheli

    I just saw it today. I must say, I’m just not sure what all the fuss is about. I saw it with high projection, and I thought, overall, it was incredible. The scene with Ian’s Biblo did look fake, I’ll admit that. I could see make-up on his face. But overall, I thought it was jaw-dropping. I can’t wait to go back and see it again! The scene when Gandalf blinds the goblins – man that was insane. The pale Orc and Thorin standing up for that last battle – Incredible! Gandalf and Galadriel talking at the edge of that cliff….holy crap that looked amazing.

    I say this and I’m a real cinematography enthusiast. I was really expecting it to look cheesy, because that’s that everyone was saying it was going to look like. I mean, the reviews of this movie have been so harsh, I was literally looking for anything and everything that would make this film seem poor. I couldn’t.

    This movie was fantastic! It was a great adventure! And I can’t wait to see Smaug and hear his terrible voice and see those amazing visuals that await us in the next installment.

  • sense 11

    Total Lifetime Grosses
    Domestic: $200,508,000 35.0%
    + Foreign: $373,000,000 65.0%
    = Worldwide: $573,508,000

  • hobbits r us… aussie

    you my friend are an idiot, a fop, and a discrace to peters artistic visions. that movie was absoultely brilliant. Pricless. it was worth the wait and all the scenes were awesome. the fight for erobor against smaug, the goblintunnel dash, the trees fire, and even the first part conclusion.

  • sense 11

    Domestic: $221,743,000 32.3%
    + Foreign: $464,000,000 67.7%
    = Worldwide: $685,743,000

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