Media Remastering at a high frame rate: what do you mean we have to pay extra?
Enough with the mere sight of gold turning previously sound-as-a-pound characters into gibbering psychopaths. Enough with the awful retrocon dialogue (“Sometimes a storm is just a storm”). Enough with putting the band back together: the extensive backstage guest list has been improbably extended to LOTR star Billy Boyd, who wrote and performed the track played over the closing credits.
Enough with giving us five minutes of swashbuckling Orlando Bloom in the hope that we won’t notice that nothing happened for the entire previous half hour. perky and exhaustingly primped. Would it kill them to allow just one fairy to have ankles wider than her ring finger? The films of Leni Riefenstahl were less obsessed with a singular ideal of human perfection. (Though we should clarify that the fairies’ dell is a multiracial affair.)
Anyway, the current chapter is among the less terrible of the saga. A member of the gang named Fawn – who seems to be an occasional naturalist – happens upon an enormous hairy beast and, in the spirit of Aesop, renders him friendly by Enough side-lining of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Enough seeing the family of Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) lurking inexplicably in the background of every other shot. Enough switching protagonists. Enough padding.
Enough British character actors. Enough transforming a banging little tale of derring-do into a distressing account of post-traumatic stress disorder. Enough shoehorning and stretching the material to make sure The Hobbit 3 functions primarily as a prequel to LOTR – get ready for the 2,000minute Blu-ray cut.
That’s really quite enough, thank you.
What do you mean there’s still another hour to go? removing a troublesome thorn. The rest suspect that this NeverBeast will bring disaster, but Fawn knows he’s not so fearsome as he looks.
We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Looks tell us nothing about a person’s inner worth. We should all be a bit more sceptical about traditional notions of beauty. Such are the film’s admirable lessons.
Hang on. Did I mention that nobody on this island is anything other than a size zero? Oh, where’s that ticking crocodile when you need him? THE GREAT MUSEUM/DAS GROSSE MUSEUM Directed by Johannes Holzhausen. Club, limited release, 94 min You have to feel a little sorry for Johannes Holzhausen’s study of changes at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery – a continent- sized examination of that London institution – is about to sprawl itself across cinemas. The Great Museum, inevitably, is going to seem like something of a sketch in comparison. It is, however, a very worthwhile piece of work. Hanging around the reopening of the Kunstkammer rooms in 2013, the film deals with auctions, restorations, promotional campaigns and the geometry of picture hanging.
For the most part, The Great Museum is as sober and formal as the architecture of the Austrian capital. There is no intrusive music. We get no patronising voiceover. Such
Hang on: The Great Museum
lack of flash is welcome, but the decision to exclude even captions does leave the role of certain participants in obscurity. It doesn’t help that – without wishing to be unkind – the Kunsthistorisches does not exactly swell with eccentrics and colourful characters. Hats off to the chap who feeds Brie to the hungry ravens. A few more like him would have been welcome.
Every now and then, Holzhausen’s camera does indulge itself and make some flashy moves. A lengthy tracking shot of a worker on a scooter must have kicked up some logistical nightmares. Sweeps from the ceiling over milling crowds are similarly impressive.
The film is, however, most notable for its rigorous treatment of everyday procedures at a top-flight museum. Watch as (rather poignantly) staff are consistently outbid by rich Americans at an auction for 19th-century clothing. Enjoy the efforts to reconcile modern concerns with the museum’s historical connections to the vanished Hapsburg dynasty. Shudder as one recently retired employee’s career is reduced to a small pile of papers and, with characteristic middle-European efficiency, hidden among a vast, assiduously ordered array of similar files. None of us shall escape the grim filing clerk in the sky.