I have been waiting impatiently for this film… well, pretty much since I first watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy and fell hopelessly in love with it, but I thought it would never happen. Then, when I heard the news that The Hobbit was going to be made I could barely contain my excitement. After, as if fate was somehow in my favour, my dream film suddenly turned into three films! Curse or blessing? I wasn’t sure, but since seeing the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I am almost certain that Peter Jackson made the right decision.
I’m utterly horrified by the idea that some people out there might not know the plot, but just in case…
‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…’
Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is a Baggins, and Baggins’ are respectable Hobbits; they never do anything unexpected or go on any adventures. That is, until one fine day Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) shows up with an unusual proposal. To Bilbo’s dismay a party of 13 dwarves ransack his home, getting mud on the carpet, eating everything in his parlour and drinking all his mead. They talk of dragons, stolen treasure and a kingdom lost; Lonely Mountain.
It just so happens that they need a burglar, one agile and small enough to sneak past the dragon Smaug to reclaim their home.
Three guesses who.
Bilbo, Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves must embark on the journey of a lifetime across Middle-earth, but will they ever return?
The plot of the film varies a lot from the book, but I was expecting that and it’s a while since I actually read the novel (around two and a half years ago, and it automatically went onto my favourites pile so I highly recommend it!) and for these reasons it was a lot easier for me to see the film and the book as two separate entities. So I have to say, I think most of the changes Peter Jackson made were improvements. They either helped tie in The Hobbit more with LOTR for the benefit of those who enjoy and revel in their connections, or they helped with the general pacing of the film. Placing two familiar faces at the start; Frodo (Elijah Wood) and old Bilbo (Ian Holm) helps ground the fellow moviegoer and refresh their memory. Equally the depiction of the battle at Lonely Mountain which follows helps you to feel that you’re diving straight into the action!
I did feel like it was a little slow in parts due to some of the extra’s they added in order to give Middle-earth more depth, and I suppose a few scenes could be argued as being tedious. Is this film self indulgent? Perhaps a little, but for anyone who is as passionate about Middle-earth as I am, will love every minute of it. 😀
In my eyes, it seems that Peter Jackson can do no wrong, and that includes his choice of cinematography. The locations are beautiful, and the sweeping camera shots give them a air of magic and fantasy. The composition of the shots are also really impressive. My favourite parts of his work though? The battle scenes, and it was the same with LOTR. I have never come across another person that presents them so well, every time I watch one I’m utterly consumed, I feel like I ‘m right there with them battling orcs and goblins. I shuffle left and right in my seat making little movements as if I myself am ducking and lunging left to right avoiding a fist. His sense of humor is always inserted as well which leads to some memorable scenes. I will never forget the first time I saw Legolas slide down the steps of Helm’s Deep as if on a skateboard, and The Hobbit has several scenes that rival this in equal awesomeness!
The visuals had a very unusual effect and I am still not all that sure if I liked it or not. At the beginning of the movie I found the fastness very difficult to follow, in fact it actually made me feel a little queasy and cross-eyed. As the film went on my eyes adapted to it pretty quickly so thankfully, it wasn’t an issue. The picture was unbelievably clear, and had a sort of video game effect. Everything felt very surreal, but in this case I think it worked because of the fantasy genre. Overall though, I’m kind of impartial about the quality of the visuals, they didn’t rock my world but didn’t have anything against them either. The jury’s still out! I think a re-watch is in order. 😉
As for characterization well, there were so many good performances where do I begin?! Ian as Gandalf was his usual brilliant self and it was great seeing him be a little more lighthearted. I particularly loved the pivotal scene between him and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett the only freakin’ girl with lines!!) about the importance of ordinary folk. (And if it was down to Tolkien there wouldn’t be any girls with lines! Hmmph. Thank you Jackson.)
The introduction of the dwarves was perfect and exactly how I imagined it. All their crazy personalities intertwining to make one hell of a scene. I also have to give the musicians an enthusiastic nod for coming up with the fantastic Misty Mountains dwarves melody, which I cannot get out of my head!
Gollum was on top form too, it was interesting seeing him look a little more human and a little less twisted. Richard Armitage (as Thorin) was also pretty spectacular. His part is extremely embellished in comparison to the book, I suppose in order to give the watchers a hero to route for similar to the likes of Aragorn. But again it was an improvement that made his character more interesting. (Also, Armitage is way too hot to be a dwarf, just sayin’. :P)
The only character I was a little unsure about was Bilbo. Don’t get me wrong, Martin Freeman did a really good job, he just wasn’t quite how I pictured Bilbo to be. He didn’t seem as innocent and wide eyed as I expected him to be, nor as jolly or smiley. But what can I say? He had a lot to live up to!
CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery): 5/5
Have you seen or will be going to see the Hobbit? What did you think? 🙂
Ticket: My own image.
Bilbo running: http://therevivalgeneration.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/movie-reveiw-the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey/2012thehobbit/#main
Gandalf and Galadriel: http://www.moviefanatic.com/2012/12/the-hobbit-ian-mckellen-on-gandalf-going-grey/
Dwarves round the table: http://www.google.com/imgres?
The one ring: http://images.google.com/imgres?q=the+hobbit
Fight Scene with Thorin: http://images.google.com/imgres?q=the+hobbit+battle