The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

December 15, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey  film review

What Worked?

Returning to a world with characters  that are  so dear and so close to many people’s hearts is both a dangerous and intrepid feat. There’s no way that Peter Jackson could top his Lord of the Rings Trilogy; the bar was set too high, and the sky can only be stretched so much. The Hobbit is Jackson’s return to the fantasy world we all know and love so much. Parts of us didn’t want him to attempt this film, but deep down we wanted it and here it is. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan and Richard Armitage round out the amazing cast for a new adventure.

Peter Jackson did some amazing things with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, in terms of special effects wizardry, and this time around with the Hobbit he once again utilizes CGI rather well. The scenes are a seamless mixture of fantasy and reality, Azog the Destroyer and his kind look well-done and Gollum has never looked better. The action scenes are done well, as Thorin, Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, and the dwarves take on orcs and the like in fiery fights, scrapes and chases. The return to Middle Earth is visually appealing, in the only way Jackson can do it.

Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, gives a solid performance as the earnest and cordial hobbit that goes on an adventure with some rag-tag dwarves. We get to see Freeman, as Baggins, become part of the family of Dwarves, along with Gandalf. His character arc of being a rather reluctant person and evolving to become a self-less team player is a simple one, but one that we often look over in life, and he does it gracefully.

Ian McKellan once again does a fantastic job as Gandalf, slipping back into the character with ease after a nine year lay-off. Andy Serkis, as Gollum, gives another amazing performance as the off-kilter, devilish, yet pitiful creature that holds the ring. He stands out in his short amount of screen-time, and once again leaves an impression  that lingers in your head. In additon, newcomer Richard Armitage is wonderfully cast as Thorin Oakenshield, an exiled king trying to regain his home. Armitage plays the role of Thorin with a quiet resiliency, and steely eyes that define determination; a dwarf has never been so bad-ass.

The Hobbit certainly isn’t better than any film from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it’s far from being a letdown. The magic is still there, as Peter Jackson brings you back to a familiar world that you’ve been missing. It’s definitely a solid start to another potentially magical trilogy.

Potential Drawbacks: 

The biggest problem that most people have with this film is the length of it. Yes, the first three films are all pretty lengthy, but this one just seems stretched out a bit too much. There’s just too many moments where you’ll most likely be thinking to yourself about why a scene or five wasn’t cut out to make the film more brisk. Some think that the Hobbit might have been better as a single film or a couple; three just might be too much.

Another complaint is about the 48 fps, as it makes everything look too clean. Jackson is very determined to get every detail into a scene, but at times it’s overwhelming and it hurts what’s in the frame.

Additionally, some viewers may not think too much about the CGI, as it will look like video game footage at times because it’s just way too pristine.

Film Recommendations:

 Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King


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