Film & Television Reviews

Review – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The HobbitThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Director: Peter Jackson
Featuring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Running Time: 169 Minutes
Rated: PG-13

While I hadn’t actually read any reviews of The Hobbit prior to seeing the movie, I’d heard from multiple people that many of the critics were underwhelmed. I have no idea what any of them were watching, because I thought The Hobbit was fantastic.

The one complaint I consistently heard was the length. I felt like there were a couple places where I felt like it dragged – for instance, the unexpected party could’ve easily been shorter. However, it wasn’t so horrible that I wouldn’t sit through the movie again.

Now that I’ve got the negative out of the way, let’s move on to all of the things I loved: everything else. I was a little curious as to how The Hobbit – which is shorter than any of the Lord of the Rings books – was supposed to turn into a trilogy, but I trust Peter Jackson and knew that whatever he did would be true to Tolkien’s vision. If you’ve read the book, you’ll notice that there were many, many things in the movie that wasn’t in the book. Some of us – myself included – recognized most of these additions from Tolkien’s appendices. For those of you not in the know, there were many, many things going on in the background while Bilbo and the Dwarves are on their quest, things that set up for the conflict in The Lord of the Rings. Jackson seamlessly worked these things in alongside the original source material, giving us the big picture we didn’t see in the book because we were limited by Bilbo’s perspective. As a huge Tolkien Nerd, I spent the entire movie fangirling over this.

There were some things added that weren’t in the book or the appendices (and yes, I checked as soon as I got home) – namely, the conflict with Azog, who was supposed to be dead before the movie’s events. I thought this change was fantastic, because it added another layer to the story, not to mention adding more depth to Thorin with all of the CONFLICT in his past resurfacing.

Speaking of characters, I loved them. All of them. Martin Freeman is the Bilbo I’ve always pictured in my head when reading the book. Richard Armitage spent the whole movie brooding – and really, would you expect anything else from him? – but I felt like it suited Thorin’s character, since Thorin always struck me as similarly brooding. And Andy Serkis was once again brilliant as Gollum, which might’ve been the best part of the whole movie.

Overall, I thought The Hobbit was brilliant, exactly what I’d expect from Peter Jackson. I saw it in regular old 2D, because I have a hard time with IMAX and 3D, and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything – it was as visually stunning as The Lord of the Rings, partly due to Jackson’s vision (and stellar special effects), and partly due to all of the sweeping shots of New Zealand. And if you’re a film score person, Howard Shore’s score is something to listen to again and again. I’d easily pay the $10 to see this movie again.

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