Movie Reviews. From the Hip.


"What should we see this weekend?"

"Will that be any good?"

"What would DORIEN SAY?"

... Here's what DORIEN SEZ.

Welcome to the premiere movie reviewer that JUDGES FILMS BEFORE THEY COME OUT! Armed only with a few previews and a crack-shot snap judgment, I bring you the most succinct, accurate, and cocksure film reviews this side of the River Wild... which sucked!


Saturday, December 31, 2011


If you're referring to the incident with the dragon, I was barely involved.  All I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door...

There's a scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf visits Bilbo in Bag End.  Among the what-have-you and oddities gathered on the hobbit's desk is a map of Middle-Earth.  Big G's wise gaze pauses on the Lonely Mountain, next to an illustration of a dragon.  It only lasts a moment, as the scene must go on, and it probably won't do much for those unfamiliar with the Book.  But that's how Peter Jackson & Co. chose make their adaptation: richly detailed, thorough, and if this history or that backstory can't be explained in full, it still gets a nod.  It's a real dorkfest for geek nerdlingers, but more to the point, it's a serious approach to a fantasy story.  Finally, nine years (good omen!) after the first film's release, we'll get to see the story of Bilbo and his journey to the Lonely Mountain... and why he came to be such a bumbling, stuttering little fuck!  God, I love Bilbo!

The Hobbit is the precursor to LOTR, a tale of adventure, danger, and nerdery, and under the tutelage of coach Peter Jackson, it's a seamless addition to the trilogy.  He takes you back to M. Earth like a pilot who travels often to a certain destination, and he does also bring you along with him to that destination with some skill and ease!  The comfort and peace of The Shire make you want to grow a squash and have a smoke; the dank funk of Mirkwood will really put the ants in your pants; and in Rivendell, you can breathe easy for a minute and take in the scenery, safe in the clammy hands of Old Man Elrond.  There may be a few moments when your mind and face hammer-twitch with confusion as you see old friends doing and saying new, strange things.  "This feels odd," you might shout or whisper, "Elijah Wood's pulling an F. Savage, popping in just to have a story told to him and say things like, 'But Bilbo, what happened next?  Did the trolls get you?'  It feels weird!"  But don't fret much.  The feeling doesn't last long, and the power of the storytelling, plus the sheer joy of being dipped back into the Tolkien pool, will put a lembas-eating grin on your gimpdexter face!

The Hobbit is a clearer linear story to develop into a film than Lord of TR, though the stakes are arguably quite much lower.  A posse of disgruntled dwarves come bashing at Bilbo Baggins's round door, demanding the hobbit join them on their quest and break their unlucky number.  (I know what you're thinking: "That sounds an awfully lot like Banderas in The 13th Warrior!"  You're not wrong.  They're both great.)  The leader of the dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield, is a king in exile, driven from his home and treasure by a dragon s.o.b.  Under the advice of the wizard Gandalf, Thorin's pulling an O.J.: he's going back to his mountain home to steal what's his.  Bilbo wants no part of it, as he's but a hobbit: he's rather kick his giant feet up and enjoy a mug of ale than go clambering up mountains like some kind of goat.  But Gandie told the dwarves that Bilbo's a master thief, and lole and behold: he's whisked off on a big adventure!

One thing about The Lord of the Rings movies: you wanted more Bilbo.  The Hobbit is an all-you-can-Bilbo buffet, with Ian Holm once again delivering a masterful supporting performance as the slap-happy halfling!  But for the vast majority of the film, Martin Freeman is our Bilbo, and he's perfec.  Like De Niro stepping in to play a younger version of an already iconic Vito Corleone, M. Freeman's performance walks the line of preserving the work of his predecessor, while marking it with his own particular musk.  Bilbo's journey is not as hard or terrifying as Frodo's will be, but the little man goes through some trials, finding courage he didn't know he had and, of course, playing a vital role in the coming War of the Ring.  Gandalf and the other wise folk can't see all the angles, but they know which way the wind blows, and what with the Necromancer amassing forces in the east, and the heir to the throne of Gondor wandering about the wilds like a slob, little Bilbo has a lot riding on his shoulders, unbeknownst-to-him-style!

Another reason to smile: Howard Shore is back as composer and conductor.  The music of Middle-Earth plays a major role in J.R.R. T.'s books, and when adapted by a brilliant film composer, the result is a Shore-gasm for the ears and heart!  Likewise, the return of Weta Digital and the entire costume, art, and weapons departments are like an old set of comfy jammies: they feels great, and you wonder where they've been these past few winters.  The return of I. McKellan is particularly sweet, back in grey robes, as was always my favorite getup.  He's a smoky, stinky, old-man Gandalf, and it's still impressive to see how compelling a thoughtful stare can be in the face-hands of Sir Ian.  Many returning elements from the first films will make fans want to cheer with joy.  Please, don't.  I don't want to see texting going on in my peripheral, and I don't care that you remember Gollum and love doing his crazy voice and are happy to see him again.  Be quiet and let the film do its work, and Serkis's performance will be all the more dominant.  Save the outbursts for when you just can't help yourself, my silly dorks!

The creative team of Peter J., Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh once again destroys -- in a good way -- the art of epic storytelling with a personal core.  When Guillermo del Toro was attached to direct, I thought it was great.  He knows how to tell a serious fantasy tale, plus maybe some orcs would have eyes on their hands or something.  But things are as they should be with PJ as director, and del Toro remaining as a co-writer.  Though after hearing some of his interviews, I'd have to imagine some credit is due to Ms. Boyens for translating Sr. del Toro's ideas:  "Den he go like, 'AH!' and he finding de ring on de dirt in de ground. And he say, "What is dat...?"  I could be wrong.  Irregardless, The Hobbit is a special experience in the cinema, escapism at its finest, but driven by a principle we can all mount up on: don't let the dragons horde what by rights belongs to our people.

Plus there are dwarves.  Lots of them.  I can't wait for the Extended Edition.

Dorien Sez: A+
Watch the Trailer:


Unknown said...

First off, Dorien, you da man. Secondly, I really hope Beorn the "skin-changer" is in this film- he's my dude. And I hope that James Gandolfini will be cast in the role. He would make a very convincing bear-slash-man and I think his ability to portray anger-management issues would really suit the character. What does Dorien sez about this?? Also, I hope that Gwaihir, king of the eagles is voiced by Shaq.

Dorien Sez said...

Dear unknown friend,
I also would have loved to see Gandolfini "bear around" as Beorn, but I think Phillip Seymour Hoffman is going to play him. He'll still be great. And if Jackson knows what he's doing, he'll cast Shaq as Smaug. (And to write the closing song.)

willie real said...

Shazam Shore-gasm!

Anonymous said...


I admire your use of the adjective "perfec" to describe Martin Freeman's performance. It's clear you're a fan of the UK version of The Office (where that adjective is uttered by Ricky Gervais in the first episode I believe?), which means it's clear you're a pimp. Congratulations...that must feel good!

Dorien Sez said...

Sharp eye, Anonymous Friend! Takes one to know one!