Monday Morning Critic – Peter Jackson, “The Hobbit” and Why The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Needed A Loose Adaptation – Pacific Rim on DVD

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You know what interested me most about film this weekend? Peter Jackson’s change up of The Hobbit in the second film of his trilogy to include significant elements not included in the novel. I know a lot of uber fans of the book, and big fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, who were insanely upset because they are pretty drastic. And I can totally understand why people were upset, to be honest, because this isn’t a case of cleaning up something that works in a novel for something more cinematic.

It’s why I understood the changes made to Ender’s Game; that was a novel that was cinematic but needed some changes to become a simpler tale. There are huge changes to the film that needed to be made to make it a good film. They were necessary and worked for the most part. I wasn’t all that shocked that Jackson used “The Hobbit” as a template, as opposed to trying to adapt it fairly strictly. Why?

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There wasn’t enough source material for more than one film and Jackson went into the property viewing it as his second trilogy. You can read my my review of the first film here, where I touch on the subject somewhat but it’s come into focus profoundly with the second film.

This is a film trilogy that is by necessity being changed, and having plenty of new material added to the original source, because this wasn’t intended to be a trilogy level story. This was a story that only needs one film and, for any number of reasons, was split into three. This isn’t a dense novel with tons of storylines like “Lord of the Rings” was.

This was a single novel that sheds some light on the time before that trilogy took place.

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It doesn’t have enough material to merit anything more than one film but Jackson wanted to craft a second fantasy trilogy of epic proportions. It’s a bold film-making move but so far I’m underwhelmed by his choice. This is a trilogy so far that’s signified by filler because it doesn’t have enough material to bring it to a full trilogy.

I think that’ll be the one thing we think of this trilogy as opposed to LOTR on a pure historical basis. This was a trilogy expanded to ungodly levels because of the demands of being a trilogy instead of having enough materials to tell one story over three films. That’s what made the original trilogy special in retrospect; it was really one nine hour film that had to be split up over three films for logistical purposes.

Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq

From elsewhere in the Inside Pulse Network:

I looked at Lovelace on Blu-Ray, which you can read here.

My buddy Daniel wrote about this weekend’s UFC on Fox 9 card, which you can read here.

And now on MMC … we DANCE!

If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

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This week’s DVD – Pacific Rim

What do you get when Guillermo del Toro promises you giant robots vs. giant monsters? He gives you giant robots fighting giant monsters, with cruise ships used as baseball bats and cities being destroyed in epic fashion. It may have flopped but let’s be frank: Pacific Rim delivered exactly what it promised: big ass robots fighting big ass monsters. Plus Amazon was selling it for like 8 bucks on Black Friday

In the near future monsters will rise from the oceans from another dimension. They destroy stuff en masse until we stop them with the military. And then we get a brilliant idea: create gigantic robots to fight them. The monsters are Kaiju (Japanese for monster) and the robots are Jaegers (German for hunter) for some ungodly reason, of course, and the robots need two pilots, of course. There’s a machine the mind-melds them together to handle the psychic stress of running a giant robot, apparently.

The film follows what appears to be humanity’s final stand. The monsters are winning and Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) isn’t going to let them even if it kills him.

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Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) is a bad ass Jaeger pilot with his older brother during the heyday of the Jaeger program. When his brother dies during combat while connected to him he goes into a depression, walking away from being a Ranger robot pilot and into construction instead. There, years later and many Jaeger pilots in the grave since, the head of the robot program (Elba) offers him a chance to join back in.

He’s haunted by personal demons and trust issues, of course, stemming from his corpsed up big brother. He’s given a solid sales pitch: They’re going to make one final stand with a suicide mission using the remnants of the giant robot program to try and prevent the monsters from coming in. They need him to come pilot his old robot to help out. No one turns down Stringer Bell, of course, and the film follows the team as they prepare for one final mission to save humanity.

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Throw in Charlie Day as a wacky scientist and Ron Perlman as a black marketer of monster parts, for spice, and you’ve got a film that delivers exactly what it promises: two hours of anime-styled Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla.

But I have to be honest: if there ever was a case to be made about a film being this generation’s Top Gun it’d have to be Pacific Rim. It has the same vibe as that film and has about as good a story as well. It’s a film that delivers on its promise and nothing more, nothing less.

Solid recommendation

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Anchorman 2 – Will Ferrell and gang are back again. This time they’re in the 80s reading the news.

Skip it – The first one hasn’t aged all that well and so far nothing about this film seems to be worth it. The fact that Will Ferrell is in super sell mode with Ron Burgundy tells you everything you need to know about this film.

American Hustle – An FBI agent recruits a pair of con artists to bring down a crooked mayor.

See it – Stellar cast and near universally strong reviews usually mean a great film.

Saving Mr. Banks – The tale of Walt Disney bringing together the Mary Poppins film, though without some of Walt’s famed anti-Semitism.

See it – Another great cast and this could be the sort of film that garners Tom Hanks his third Oscar.

Walking with Dinosaurs – Dinosaurs in 3D!

Skip it – Unless you have kids who you need to shut up for two hours, this looks like it’ll be the car ride film de jour.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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