Before we proceed, a warning. If you haven’t already seen The Hobbit, this is a not quite stream of conciousness of what I was thinking and feeling as I watched it. Beware spoilers.
First off; the prologue.
You know, I really wish Peter Jackson hadn’t chosen to go with the whole ‘Older Bilbo’ encapsulating narrative. I like Ian Holm as Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings so it pains me to say that here, he just doesn’t do it for me. He constantly looks bored and/or like he’s forgotten what he’s even doing in this film. His narration fell flat when it could have been so good if it’d been done by someone like Thorin, or even Gandalf. My first impression of the whole thing was long, wordy and far more telling than showing. I though the experience would improve with a second viewing, but nope. Still unnecessary.
And yes, I know that there was a lot of exposition in the prologue to Fellowship as well but, let’s face it, Bilbo is no Galadriel. (Not that Galadriel doesn’t have her faults, but we’ll get to that later.) I know there’re plenty of people who haven’t read The Hobbit for whom this introduction was very useful, but my experience of all this info was more akin to being spoon fed.
And during this whole bit I was just sitting there and wondering, ‘So, wait, wouldn’t Frodo know about all this already anyway?’ which really kind of took me out of it.