Movie Review: The Hobbit "An Unexpected Journey" (2012)
Going to see Peter Jackson's new movie The Hobbit, I knew it would be a very good movie. After The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you knew that Jackson was a very good moviemaker and everyone had high expectations. I however didn't come with any. I read Tolkien's The Hobbit and I actually preferred it over his trilogy. For me The Hobbit was much easier to read and less dense than his trilogy, I could never keep track of all the characters in LOTR. However, because I loved The Hobbit I didn't want to have expectations when it came to the movie because I knew it would be different.
Jackson's Hobbit is a great follow-up and prequel to his movie masterpiece. It follows enough of Tolkien's original story and still be able to tie it in with the movie trilogy. Because Tolkien's The Hobbit was meant as a children's story, this first installment is not as dark as the trilogy. Whether it keeps the light touch remains to be seen. However, in keeping the cohesiveness among the movies, The Hobbit shows the audience the dark premonitions that are fully realized in the LOTR trilogy.
Bilbo is a comfortable hobbit who has been recommended by Gandalf the Grey, one of the five wizards of the land, to help Thorin and his loyal band of dwarves on their quest to regain their homeland. Since they have lost their home, the dwarves have become a dispossessed people and Thorin, the grandson of the once mighty King of the Mountain, needs a burglar to stealthily break into the mountain stronghold. Gandalf thought Bilbo would fit the bill. Bilbo accepts the challenge and they make their way to the mountain. However, a formidable foe that Thorin thought was vanquished learns of their quest and puts a price on their heads. Opportunistic trolls and goblins attack and further make the quest difficult for this band. Fighting off enemies is not the only challenge they face, they must also find a way to solve a puzzle that is the key to entry into the mountain. Meanwhile Bilbo is uncertain about his usefulness while Thorin openly questions it. Bilbo and Thorin must find a way to work together before they are overcome.
The movie special effects are beautiful and a few characters from LOTR are seen here. But you are also introduced to some new characters. You also get to know more about the dwarf race and their history. The Hobbit introduces a wonderful back story to this race of people that was overlooked in LOTR. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is likable and unassuming. He is the everyman that quietly influences the turn of events that the powerful command. The dwarves in the original Hobbit always seem to me, a foolish and selfish group, but this movie fleshes out their two-dimensional origins. Richard Armitage plays Thorin as a noble, brave, and masterful leader. I knew of the actor from the British historical dramatic miniseries North and South and from his role as the bad sheriff of Nottingham in the British series, Robin Hood. He did a great job of making Thorin a leader that others would follow but also one that has great flaws. Ian McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf, but younger and less grave. This movie is not as bloodthirsty as LOTR but there is enough here that I would not be comfortable taking a very young child to this movie. However, I am looking forward to the second installment.
Runtime: 169 minutes
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I loved this adaptation
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