Turned out I was STILL the only person with a ticket for that performance. There was a certain amount of unpleasantness (Six members of staff? SIX? Sitting around misdirecting people to the wrong auditorium??? Although fair play to them for noticing their Hobbit audience was down from 1 to, ahem, zero, and then actually going and looking for me) The duty manager was found. I explained what had happened and that there seemed to me to be two alternatives: give me my money back or start the film again.
Fortunately she had a brain, and anyway with digital film you can just press the button. So I sat in solitary splendour in my rented 3D specs and watched the whole thing from the beginning.
Dear heaven but it was tedious! I mean, the first episode was tedious enough on its own, right, but this... this... even Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't save this. It lasted twenty seven years! My hair was thirteen inches longer when I emerged, blinking, into the light. I had lost four whole pounds!
The smurfette problem.
See, Tolkein didn't write any women into The Hobbit. He was old-school Oxbridge, the kind of person who would argue with you that "who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven" actually includes everyone because "men" includes "women", it's a neutral term. And it works, sort of, when you're a kid. When you're a kid you read The Hobbit and you don't notice there aren't any guuuurls in it, because you're busy being Bilbo and he's a hobbit, not a boy anyway, and it slides past you in the kind of "the world is sexist but it's not actually grinding my nose into the sexism just now so I'm not thinking about it" default position. If you're a, you know, (woman).
So then you write in Tauriel, who's a newly-minted kick-ass she-elf (and oh how everyone keeps reminding us she's a she-elf. And not, say, a kick-ass elf. Or just, elf) And she sticks out like a sore thumb, or like smurfette in the smurfs. And makes you come out of the default position and go WHERE THE FUCK ARE ALL THE WOMEN????? Sigh.
The dragon problem
It's a dragon. It's a fire-breathing dragon. Its chest glows like molten lava as it superheats its breath before it launches a fiery stream of, um, fire at your ass.
You're going to kill it by setting it on fire???
Oh you little rascals, you!
OK, you're Gandalf. We know you're not going to get dead, because, sequels. We like the Globe of Light that fights off the Special Effect of Darkness. But... did you have to take so LONG about it? I mean, it's not enough that we're questing through spiders, and questing through elven dungeons, and questing through the barrel ride of themepark heaven, and questing through the town of people (oh, and TWO LITTLE GIRLS, because, PERIL!!!), and questing over mountains, and questing under mountains full of gold and dragons... we ALSO have to wait around while you side-quest into backstory and foreshadowing story and sideways wizardsplaining and will you JUST HURRY UP AND SHOOT THE DAMNED DRAGON ALREADY.
The ending problem
You're going to leave it there? Not since The Empire Strikes Back has there been a movie with a more irrit-