The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Director: Peter Jackson

Major Actors: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage

IMDb rating: 9/10 (click for page)

So I am taking quite a risk rating this as high as I am, for the simple reason it is the beginning of a trilogy. But I really did enjoy it that much. Before I begin my review I want to discuss some expectations around the film. I was to say a reserved excited. There were to many things that could go wrong with the film. The chief of which was that it was the prequel to arguably the best trilogy ever (and we all know what happened last time a director did this). But also the fact that the stories of LOTR and the Hobbit were so different that I didn’t know how it was going to play out. In the end, my reserved excitedness payed off and I was given what I think is one of the best of the year.

The first thing that I really enjoyed about it is that its different from LOTR. LOTR was driven by a powerful story while The Hobbit is just a fun adventure story. Peter Jackson nails the fun adventure story. Where as LOTR had only funny elements to the story. The Hobbit has humor throughout the story. This is what made the movie so enjoyable. For instance when all the Dwarves arrive at Bilbo’s house it is most entertaining to watch Bilbo and the Dwarves interact. And this consistently happens throughout the film. Now it does have its serious parts like my favorite scene.

My favorite scene in both the book and this film is the riddle scene. It was such a joy to see Gollum back on the screen. This scene was done so well that it made the film that much better. Jackson is able to almost take the scene directly from the book and put it on screen. It is the most suspenseful part of the whole film and partly because we all know the nature of who Gollum is. I can’t wait to watch this scene over and over again. I will conclude by saying this that if they would have messed this scene up the movie would have received a very bad rating.

Let me move on to the performances. We already know how good Ian McKellen is as Gandalf and he was superb again. The performance that sticks out is Martin Freeman as Bilbo which is just perfect. He displays on screen exactly how I think the young Bilbo would act. From the very first scene between him and Gandalf till the end. On the performance of Thorin, he was more solemn than I remembered him in the book. But overall the performance of him and every other dwarf is highly entertaining.

Concerning the supposed high frame rate, I really did not see a difference. I got to see this movie two days in row. The first was at Starplex and the second was at the AMC at the Parks in IMAX. Both version looked exactly the same to me. But I am definitely not a good judge about this by any means. I will say this the sound in the IMAX is pretty tough to beat. The Hobbit is worth seeing both the Man of Steel trailer and the nine minute Star Trek trailer. That is of course if you are into that type of stuff.

Before I conclude there is just some nerd bookkeeping stuff to go over (so if you want to skip this paragraph I understand). First while I do understand why they called the Goblins “Orcs.” There is believe it or not a difference. Goblins are related to the Dwarves, where as Orcs are related to men. So Goblins are not as strong and are dumber than orcs. The other thing is I actually really enjoyed the additions to the storyline of the Hobbit. I especially liked seeing Radagast. He was a very enjoyable addition. Also I liked that they including to this quest maybe having more significance than any of them knew.

Overall this is a genre film which is why many critics are not viewing as high as LOTR. But it still is a highly enjoyable film and while it is not near as great as LOTR. The Hobbit is still one of the best of the year. It should be in my top ten depending on how good other films are. I could say a lot more about this film but I think I have said enough.

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