Movie Review – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

2012 Warner Bros. – New Line Cinema – MGM

Three and Half Star

The HobbitNine years after the final Lord of the Rings movie graced the silver screen (it’s more whitish really) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey makes its appearance in glorious Imax 3D HFR, or non-Imax 3D HFR, or just plain 2D, etc. Just for the record I saw this in non-Imax 3D HFR.

The movie The Hobbit starts off exactly where the book The Hobbit did not as old Bilbo begins writing the tale of his long ago journey to the Lonely Mountain. Soon we are witness to the events that took place sixty years earlier when young Bilbo met a tall and quirky wizard by the name of Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf it seems has a job that he thinks Bilbo would be perfect for and after signing a very long contract Bilbo is off on a quest with thirteen wacko dwarves intent on reclaiming their home that was attacked and taken over by a greedy and ferocious dragon named Smaug.

The reaction to this movie has been very interesting to say the least with many critics and fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in an uproar about the lighter tone and use of material not in the book to fill out the story and tie it in more with the later material. I for one found this to be very enjoyable.

As with the trilogy that came before but should have come after the production is top notch. Middle Earth once again looks fantastic with beautiful sets, costumes, and all the little details that make it real. The cast is good, both the returning veterans and the new cast members. The music score by Howard Shore is terrific, he adds some great new themes and integrates them perfectly with the themes created previously.

There are few negatives, I found the pacing to be a bit off particularly during a couple flashback moments that mess up the forward momentum of the story. Nothing terrible but not as smooth as the editing and pacing of the previous movies. I also thought there were a few too many action scenes requiring the brave band of adventures to jump. They jump from cliff to cliff, they jump from swinging walkways to stationary walkways, they jump from tree to tree. For a minute I thought I walked in on a biography of Super Mario then I realized there was no stereotypical Italian plumber jumping for coins.

Unlike many viewers of this movie I was not bothered in the slightest by the higher frame rate. I did notice a couple scenes that seemed a bit off but nothing that really bothered me. I have played video games for a long time with similar or higher frame rates so maybe I’m just used to it. In any case it was not a problem for me.

Although not quite as memorable as The Fellowship of the Ring (my personal favorite of the Rings movies) I really did enjoy this movie. Looking forward to the next one.

The good:

Great casting as usual.

Martin Freeman is perfect as Bilbo.

Martin Freeman is perfect as Bilbo. He’s a very snappy dresser as well.

Nice job on bringing the dwarves to life.

Nice job on bringing the dwarves to life. Where’s Dopey?

The production designs are gorgeous.

Pretty. I want to live there.

Pretty. I want to live there.

I love the riddles in the dark sequence. Andy Serkis gives another great performance as Gollum.

I love the riddles in the dark sequence. Andy Serkis gives another great performance as Gollum.

Riddles in the Dark

Gollum cracks me up. I love the dual personalities.

Great CGI. I prefer practical effects but I have to give them credit for doing such a good job.

Great CGI. I prefer practical effects but I have to give them credit for doing such a good job.

I love the fact we get to see how some of the elements of The Lord of the Rings began.

Gandalf finds Glamdring.

Gandalf finds Glamdring. Needs some cleaning.

The not so good:

A little too long by about twenty minutes.

As I mention above there’s too many jumping scenes.

I didn't dislike Radagast but I think he could have been toned down just a bit. Nice poop in the hair.

I didn’t dislike Radagast but I think some of his scenes could have been toned down just a bit. Nice poop in the hair.

Random thoughts and observations:

How far can Hobbits and Dwarves fall without getting hurt? They seem to be pretty resilient almost to the point of disbelief.

Elves must age backwards.

Elves must age backwards. Aren’t they immortal?

Beards

I thought I should grow a beard like one of these but my wife didn’t seem too thrilled by the idea.

The dwarves can do my dishes any time. In fact every time. I hate doing the dishes!

The dwarves can do my dishes any time. In fact every time, I hate doing the dishes!

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