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10 reasons why you should meet Thorin, Bilbo, Gandalf and the band of dwarves
The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey
The action of "The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey" takes place before the events from the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings", Bilbo Baggins being the main character, a respectable hobbit from the Shire, with no ambitions, gourmand and lover of a peaceful life. One morning he wakes up dragged into an adventure he didn’t want but, as a descendant of Belladonna Took, he cannot refuse. Gandalf, the restless wizard, is the one who convinces him to leave his comfortable hobbit lair in order to join the 12 dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield, in a mission with no foreseeable end: they have to recover the realm of the dwarves (Erebor), under the Lonely Mountain, and a golden treasure hidden there, stolen long ago by the dragon Smaug. The brave companions will cross a territory full of goblins, orcs (demons), trolls and wizards, a fictional universe created in the 1930s by the British author J.R.R. Tolkien. During this journey, Bilbo finds the magic ring that Gollum has lost.
"The Hobbit" is certainly one of the most anticipated films of 2012, and there are good reasons to consider it the cinematic event of the year. There are more than ten reasons for you to accept the challenge of a new adventure into the Middle Earth, in a period which takes place 60 years before the "Lord of the Rings" actions. This is why, for me, yesterday was The Hobbit Day:
1. "The Hobbit" is, in my opinion, a film of many Oscar awards. In spite of Peter Jackson’s opinion, who confessed in an interview that the film will probably receive Oscar awards for less important categories (as makeup, special effects, sound, costumes), I hope "The Hobbit" will receive some awards for some actors' performances as well: Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and, of course, Richard Armitage (Armitage continues to be, for me, a constant and pleasant surprise). I'm not saying that the actors already mentioned will receive Oscars, or the director (Peter Jackson) will be awarded (although he deserves one). However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not seem aware that beyond the technique CGI (Computer-generated imagery), gestures, movements and interpretation belong, for example, to Andy Serkis, the one who created one of the most popular movie characters (Gollum).
2. The film retains the atmosphere of "Lord of the Rings", but the story is new, many of the characters are also new. "Lord of the Rings" could not exist without "The Hobbit" and this book was written 20 years before "Lord of the Rings".
3. "The Hobbit" is a story for children, the dwarves are funny, the relations among them and Bilbo Baggins or Gandalf are full of humor. The apocalyptic tone from the previous trilogy is missing (even taking into account the disappearance of a hero in "The Hobbit").
4. "The Hobbit" is the first film of 48 frames per second (compared to 24 as before), which gives an extra fluidity of movement and a superior image clarity. This technique could be the future of the film, and Peter Jackson is fascinated by the possibilities this technique provides, especially in 3D.
5. The director is Peter Jackson (51), who directed "Lord of the Rings" too. I am fascinated by Jackson's dedication to projects he is involved in, and this passion is perhaps the main reason why Warner Bros. agreed to spend nearly a billion dollars for "The Hobbit". One of the reasons Peter Jackson wanted a trilogy is that all the images could not be included in the first two films, which are already very long.
6. Special effects are truly sensational in "The Hobbit" in the sense that we see mountains, green landscapes of the Shire, huge caves and many other images created by a vivid imagination. It's like seeing familiar things, but in a fantastic dimension fantastic (the struggle between two living mountains during a thunder storm). On the other hand, the dwarves had to be created in such a way so that they could be distinguished from the rest of the characters. The solution was to use a lot of beards and wigs (made of human hair from Russia). It was also invented a technique related to the big and hairy feet of the hobbits, using silicon slippers, with a very natural effect.
7. I enjoyed again the presence of Sir Ian McKellan, probably the most popular wizard on the big screen. Given the recent information about his poor health, I enjoy more his role. In addition, I had the opportunity to see again Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Ian Holm (Bilbo elder), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Andy Serkis (Gollum).
8. The film made by Peter Jackson and his team is a very good film of an excellent book. The success of the trilogy "Lord of the Rings" did not affect in any way “The Hobbit” project, on the contrary. In addition, we meet dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, elves, goblins and other fantastical creatures, all invented by Tolkien.
9. In “The Hobbit” the romance is missing. The only reason you may feel excited is the very special relationship based on respect and courage that is born between Thorin and Bilbo.
10. From time to time, no matter the age, we need to see the Good and the Evil in different situations, powerful heroes and enjoy the adventure of a brave and motivated group of dwarves (or other characters) who decided to defeat a huge dragon (or another beast).
Richard Armitage, the highest dwarf of Middle-earth
Those who have seen "Lord of the Rings" may be tempted to resemble Thorin Oakenshield with Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen). This dwarf prince (actually he measures 1.88 m) is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He caught my attention as John Thornton in the BBC miniseries "North & South", a film made after the novel of Elizabeth Gaskell. Later, I saw him in another BBC series "Robin Hood" (Sir Guy of Gisborne). For America, Richard Armitage was unknown until the premiere of "The Hobbit". At home, in UK, he is so popular that some ladies have formed a group called "Armitage Army".
Filming "The Hobbit" was not very simple. For example, the Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who was supposed to direct the film, abandoned the project in 2010 because of the legal issues related to the film rights. At least this is the official version. The unofficial is related to different visions of making the film between del Toro and the rest of the team.
Del Toro's departure was not the only misfortune. Filming started in New Zealand, but must be stopped after a while because of a conflict related to working conditions of the crew. More than that, filming was postponed due to health problems of the new director, Peter Jackson.
The second film of the trilogy "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" will be released in theaters on December 13, 2013, while the third, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" is expected for July 18, 2014.