- Starring: Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings), Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger) and more.
- Directed by: Peter Jackson
- Synopsis: “The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers…
- Rated: Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and frightening images.
- Must-Watch Trailer:
Peter Jackson finally takes us back to The Shire from the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy. This J.R.R. Tolkein classic comes to the big screen as a first of three films about the journey of Bilbo Baggins that led to his acquiring of the infamous ring of power and so much more. Several doubted the ability of Jackson to spread out one of Tolkein’s shortest books into three full-length feature films. After watching it twice for you (once in 2D and once in 3D), below you can read my thoughts on the film:
One of the most delightful things about The Hobbit is Jackson usage of the same type of cinematography that worked so well in The Lord of the Rings. The panning shots of gorgeous landscapes, the closeups of the characters, the impressive CGI work, the stunning visuals…it all works together to instantly bring back the enjoyable nostalgia of the wonderful series. That, partnered with an equally gorgeous soundtrack full of emotion and familiar motifs, takes several bits of doubt and distrust away as Jackson shares his take on the classic novel.
While there is definitely something for fans of the entire series to enjoy here, newcomers to the works of Tolkein will also find something to enjoy as the characters themselves receive ample development. And what fantastic characters they are! From the familiar likes of Gandalf the Grey to the mix of new characters such as the determined dwarfs, Jackson skillfully uses the characters in the novel and makes not only their stories but also themselves to be related to in the middle of a fantasy world. Perhaps the best development of is Bilbo himself, played by Martin Freeman, as we see the events that led up to the character we know from The Lord of the Rings.
Speaking of characters, I can think of no one else that I would rather see play in any of the roles in the film. Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis and more are all completely flawless in the execution of their parts which always adds a great element to any film. Returning cast members and new ones alike all come together as part of the series and seem as if they were a part of it for years already. Well done, Jackson and cast.
While the composed music, camerawork, characters and cast all are equally impressive, one aspect of it all does lack a bit: the pacing of the story. While I am told that the book itself is slow at times (I have not read The Hobbit myself), I found that there were several times that the story suffered from emulating that style onscreen. With the fact that this story is very similar to that of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, very little sets itself apart during the “non-action/adventure” times (and even some of the action scenes are very similar as well) and that sense of familiarity/”been there-seen it” made me lose interest during certain parts of the film. (GASP! don’t throw the rotten tomatoes at me yet!) 😀
It is easy to see where some critics have been upset at Jackson for “fluffing” the story in order to spread it across three different full-length movies. I do not see it that way, however, the movie definitely could have benefited from a shorter runtime.
Of course, the parts that are fantastic do more than make up for it. Gollum is, as expected, one of the best parts of the film, along with some of the additional scenes that give a greater insight into the world of Middle Earth and its characters. From Gandalf to Gollum to Goblins and more, Peter Jackson excels in tying The Hobbit into The Lord of the Rings through his use of scenes, characters, and cinematography that lead right into it. So much for fans to pick out and squeal in delight over.
*such as this fun film fact:
Ultimately, The Hobbit is an enjoyable movie that benefits from a cast and crew that I would consider experts on all things Tolkein. It, inevitably, will continue to be compared to The Lord of the Rings and, that being the case, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is better. However, the verdict on The Hobbit trilogy (once it all is released) remains to be seen…and I can’t wait to continue this journey right along side Bilbo.
Be sure to check out The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in theaters now (although, I will say that while the 3D is aesthetically pleasing, it is not all that necessary. Seek out a 48fps showing of it instead if you can.)
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Similar Titles that I have Seen and Recommend (click title for details/review):
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer
(For a fun caption game featuring pictures from The Hobbit, click Here)