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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Leonard Nimoy- The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, J.R.R. Tolkien
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, James Nesbitt, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, Mark Hadlow, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Jeffrey Thomas, Barry Humphries, Lee Pace, Michael Mizrahi, Conan Stevens, Manu Bennett, John Rawls, Stephen Ure, Timothy Bartlett, Bret McKenzie, Kiran Shah, Benedict Cumberbatch, Glenn Boswell, Thomas Robins
Synopsis: A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on an "unexpected journey" to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
All Great Stories Deserve A Little Embelishment
After years of waiting, the prequel series to "Lord of the Rings" is finally here. With so much hype and expectations behind this one, can the new "Hobbit" series live up to it's predecessor? After all, the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is considered to be one of the greatest fantasy series ever told on the big screen, and won various Academy Award nominations and awards to boot.
Not to mention the fact that it was widely received by both audiences and critics alike. Needless to say, Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" prequel series has a lot to live up to.
The movie is based off the classic novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, where it tells the story of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). In this tale, Bilbo lives fairly quiet and peaceful life within the Shire, where all the Hobbits reside in upon Middle Earth. Bilbo is a quiet fellow, who's only desires in life is sitting in his chair while smoking on his pipe, in the comfort of his own home. One wouldn't think that out of all creatures on Middle Earth that Bilbo would ever be the hero of any story. However, all that changes one day when Bilbo sits outside his house, and the great wizard known only as Gandalf (Ian McKellan) asks Bilbo if he'd like to partake in an adventure.
At first, Bilbo declines the grey wizard's offer, but it seems Gandalf isn't prepared to give up so easily. After arranging for a small army of Dwarfs to arrive at Bilbo's house unexpectedly, it doesn't take long before Bilbo reluctantly changes his mind.
From here, our protagonists embark on epic adventure that'll tickle audiences' imaginations, and take us places that may seem familiar to some audiences; while taking us to others that were not introduced in the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
Before I delve into my thoughts on this film, I would like to point out that if you're expecting this movie to be anywhere near as epic as the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, then you're going to be disappointed. Not that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a bad movie, as I certainly loved it. However, when the stakes are lowered in any movie franchise, it just seems rather pale by comparison. In "Lord of the Rings", the entire earth was in danger of falling into darkness, as it was an epic war that was waged on a global level. Not only that, but it was a classic good versus evil tale, as it touched upon such themes like choices, temptation, betrayal, and striving through adversity.
Whereas the "The Hobbit", it's essentially a story that focuses on Bilbo's adventures with the Dwarfs, as they quest to save their mountain and gold from a dragon that stole it years ago; while worrying about a pack of Orcs chasing them as well. Again, I loved this movie, but if you're expecting this to be anywhere near as epic as "Lord of the Rings", then you'll be disappointed. Although a lot of this isn't the film's fault, as there's really only so far a film can stray when adapting a novel of any kind onto the big screen. However, it's worth pointing out.
Having said all that, how does "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hold up on it's own? Well, lets get into that now. On it's own, "The Hobbit" Is actually a pretty damn good movie. Arguably one of the best fantasy films out there, as it also invokes a lot of universal themes as well. For example, how we often tend to judge others before even getting a chance to know them, and how when given the opportunity, we're all capable of rising to the challenge that life throws our way. The film also teaches us that you don't have to be the toughest to overcome adversity, as even the smallest of us all is capable of great things if we choose to believe in ourselves.
However, the most valuable lesson we can take from the film is that even though it's always more comfortable to sit in the safety of our homes, the reality is that sometimes to experience great things, we have to step outside our own comfort zone every once in a while. Granted, the outside world can seem scary, but if you can summon the courage to face those dangers head on, then you might find yourself in adventure worth bragging about for years to come.
Although "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" may not be as great as it's predecessors, it's still a genuinely entertaining film that's sure to delight audiences for years to come. Featuring solid performances from the entire cast, as Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) brings a certain charm and wit to the character; while adding a pinch of humor to it as well. Sir Ian McKellan is great as always, but he also manages to bring humor to the role that was absent in the previous films.
Also worth noting is that sometimes the characters tend to break out into musical numbers throughout the movie. Although I haven't read the novels, I have been told that the songs in the movie are from the book itself. When thinking about this film as one of the prequels to "Lord of the Rings", I have to admit it does seem a bit out of place. However, it does establish early on that these prequels are geared to have more of a lighter tone to them, so on that note, it does work rather well.
As for the special effects, they're pretty much what you'd expect from a movie like this; which isn't necessarily a bad thing to say the least. However, what impresses me more is the revolutionary cinematography that was used for this film. For those that don't know, Peter Jackson decided to have the entire "Hobbit" trilogy shot in 48 frames per second (fps); versus the standard 24 fps. I know some readers might be wondering how the heck that makes a difference, but when it comes to 3-D films, the 48 fps actually enhances the 3-d effect; hence the viewer gets a higher visual quality.
Overall though, I'd have to give "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" a three out of four. It's a great fantasy film, and if you have a chance to catch this movie, then I'd certainly recommend it.