The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Film Review

SDC13786Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! It’s here! It’s here! EVERYBODY CELEBRATE. The Hobbit is finally out in cinemas!!
Ahem. I’m calm, I’m calm.

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…

The Plot
‘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 Hobbit Bilbo
The Verdict
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 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeynever 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. 😉   gandalf in the hobbit

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!

the hobbit dwarves round table

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!

The Hobbit the one ring

Originality: 5/5
Entertainment: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cinematography: 5/5
Computer-Generated Imagery): 5/5

Overall: 5/5

 Have you seen or will be going to see the Hobbit? What did you think? 🙂

Image Sources:
Ticket: My own image.
Bilbo running:
Gandalf and Galadriel:
Dwarves round the table:
The one ring:
Fight Scene with Thorin:

40 thoughts on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Film Review

  1. Look at the state of that ticket: student entry. Rubbing it in that you got a bargain entry fee.

    I haven’t seen it, and I’m interested in all this 48 frames malarkey as well. Good to see you enjoyed it, I reckon that the rest of the Day household breathed a sigh of relief. There’s nowt worse than having a hobbit ruin your Christmas.

    • Ha ha, I know right? There definitely are a few perks to being a student eh? 😉 Michael you could always give it a go and say you are a ‘mature’ student, you never know, they might believe you. 😛

      In that case you better got your butt over to the cinema and watch it! 😀 I liked it so much that I’m going to go and see it again! Haha, they did indeedy.

  2. It sounds like you saw it in 48 frames per second without 3D, which is interesting because in North America, the only way to see the film with the higher frame rate was in 3D.

    I saw the movie two days ago and I thought the whole thing was amazing. Some of the added scenes could have been better (I thought they took a little too much time away from Bilbo), but they were entertaining enough. I’m interested to see where Jackson takes that story in the next two films.

    I can see why some people don’t like the high frame rate, but it didn’t take me long to get used to it. By the time the flashback to the Lonely Mountain happened, I was already happy with it. Everything seems more clear. The New Zealand locations looked great, almost like I was there.

    • Hmm really? Maybe I didn’t see it in the higher frame rate then….but it sure seemed it! I’ve taken that bit of my review out for now just in case it’s wrong, I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone. Either way, I’m going to be seeing it again but in 3D next time to get the full experience (even though I’m not the biggest fan) So if I didn’t get the frame rate experience this time, I certainly will next time.

      Ahh yeah I totally agree with you there, at a lot of points it seemed a film much more about Thorin than it did about Bilbo. I thought the choice to include Radagast (hope that’s how you spell it, :S something like that anyway!) was interesting, it definitely wasn’t really needed but I still enjoyed seeing it. So I guess it is up to the person’s individual thoughts really.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the film so much! I know you were a little worried about it. 🙂

  3. I must be honest, I am nervous about seeing it, that my expectations would be too high…but it sounds like that is unfounded. Yay! Must see it soon! 🙂

  4. Awesome review! I have no problems with Armitage being smoking hot as Thorin- he’s always been my favorite character in the book (what can I say? I found him most interesting, and his heroism at the end was complete perfection despite its tragic ending). And I actually thought Bilbo’s peevishness worked because it was always kind of there in the books- he doesn’t ever really get over it, even though he gets a lot tougher as it goes on. But that could just be different interpretation at work 🙂
    I loved Galadriel in this movie, which is weird because I really didn’t like how they wrote her part in the Fellowship of the Ring movie. But for some reason they nailed her personality here, and I loved seeing Saruman be sort of a grumpy academic- I could totally understand after that why no one actually paid him any attention in later events, since he would seem boring rather than a menace.
    In re the Misty Mountains song, I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve been playing the soundtrack on repeat for the past 48 hours at least. No regrets at all 🙂

    • Aw thank you. I was worried I wouldn’t do it justice, especially as I had so many thoughts about it so it was difficult to put them in some sort of sensible order. 😛
      Haha I know, neither do I, I’m not complaining in any way! 😉 Lol. I found Thorin interesting in the book too, although I’m not sure if I had a favourite character….possibly Smaug because I’ve always loved dragons. Ohhh **** I’d forgotten about the tragic ending!!! NOOOOOOO! 😦
      Haha quite possibly, I think The Hobbit might be one of those books that each time you read it you get something a little different out of it?
      That’s an interesting comment, because I don’t actually remember much about how Galadriel was presented in the Fellowship, in fact if I’m honest, I don’t remember the book very well non-stop, although I do remember that I really enjoyed it. 😀 I’m glad it worked better for you in this movie! Although I have to ask out of curiosity, did you happen to find her pacing just a tad hilarious? Ha yeah, I loved the portrayal of Saruman in this too.
      Oooh really? I have been considering getting the soundtrack actually, so I may have to join you there. 😛

      • I’m going to be a total wreck when that ending comes up. And the worst of it is that he isn’t the only one who’ll be gone…

        The Hobbit was the book that made me fall in love with fantasy as a kid. It means a ton to me both in how I look at heroes and in how I write, and each time I read it, I feel like there all these hints at bigger things- even the ending in which Gandalf tells Bilbo that he is only a little fellow in a wide world. So in sum, yes- I think you do get different things out of it each time you read it 🙂
        She basically had too much standing around being portentious for my taste; she’s supposed to be wise and watchful. I thought they got that really nicely in this one, though why they couldn’t get her right in Fellowship is beyond me. I actually didn’t mind her pacing since I heard someone advance the theory that she wasn’t physically present, but watching via her elven ring. I don’t know if that’s actually supported by what Tolkien wrote about the rings, but it would be interesting to check.
        It’s a very good soundtrack; I definitely recommend it 🙂

      • I know. 😦 It’s going to be so much worse with Armitage is playing him! *Sobs*

        Ohh really? It has a lot of history for you then, you must have been very anxious about the adaptation. Looks like I picked the right person to ask! I would love to re-read it in the future if I get the chance, as well as the LOTR books (and I STILL haven’t read the last one, determined to do that this year!)

        Ohh right I see, yes she does come across as slightly pretentious, you begin to get slight glimpses otherwise when she give Frodo their most beloved star (I’m going to go with that ’cause I can’t spell it’s actual name lol) and when Frodo is knocked out by Gollum in the third one but they are far and in-between.
        Ohh wow, that’s an interesting theory, she did disappear rather quickly so I suppose that could be interpreted that way, very interesting!

  5. Like, like, like – oh heck, I need a “love” button!!! I saw The Hobbit on Monday, and I thought it was amazing!! I’ve heard about the problems with the different frame rates, but I didn’t notice anything that bothered me. However, we did see it in 3D which as usual didn’t impress me. I’m not a 3D fan. With that aside, I thought Jackson did a wonderful job. I know it was maybe a little slow at the beginning, but that was necessary in my opinion to properly introduce the world and the characters. And I know some people have been putting it down a bit because they try and compare it to LOTR, but you simply can’t do that because LOTR is a far more intense story in my mind than The Hobbit. I laughed, I watched in awe, I held my breath in the action scenes, and I totally drooled all over myself when Kili came on the screen for the first time. He is totally hot LOL!!! All in all, I loved it and can’t wait for the next one. Too bad I’m in the middle of a really good book right now because I left the theater wanting to read The Hobbit once again :).

    • Ha ha ha! Awwwwwh!!! Glad you liked it so much. 😀 I’m glad that you thought it was amazing too! I’ve only actually seen one negative review of it so far so it seems to be going down well.
      Ahh I haven’t seen it in 3D yet, but I am going to probably after Christmas because I want to get the full experience – although like you, I’m really not bothered by 3D, I think it’s a bit of a gimmick to be honest.
      Agreed, I just love Jackson as a director. He did The Lovely Bones and I thought that was really fantastic as well. 🙂 I’m with you on the need for the slow start as well!
      Aggh agreed again! You just can’t compare The Hobbit to the LOTR even though they have crossovers because they are just such contrasting stories.
      Mmm yeah, Kili and Thorin. NOM. 😛

      It’s so long till the next one though! Not until the summer of 2014 *sobs* 😦 We’re going to have to wait a long time.

      • We’ll just have to keep reading the book over and over again while we wait!! And yes, Thorin is not too hard to look at either :). I have a picture of Kili on my computer at work, but now I’m off for the Christmas holidays and I miss him already. I think I might have to put him on my laptop at home too. I may be 47 years old, but I’m not dead yet LOL!!!

      • Ha ha too true! I don’t actually own the book but have been trying to get hold of it for ages, the problem is I want a specific cover, lol. So shallow. 😛 But I really want to re-read it!

        Oooh really? Ha ha I bet that works well for incentive to do work! In that case, you should definitely put him on your home laptop, we can’t have you going into withdrawal now can we? 😉 I used to have tonnes of pics of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer on my wall.

      • Ooooh, oooh that sounds beautiful! 😀 Picture! I demand a picture! 😛 Pretty please?!?! Don’t suppose you could do one of your photo posts on it in the spirit of celebrating the film release? :S Where did you get it from?

      • OMG Becky I am freaking out!! I just went to a bookstore and they just got in a gorgeous hardcover book called The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Chronicles. It’s about 12×16 inches and it describes all about the world and the characters with beautiful colour drawings and photographs and it ties in with the movie. My hubby bought it for me for an extra Christmas present!!! I will definitely do a post about my special books just for you sometime over the holidays :). You are going to freak!!

      • Ohhh wow, that sounds fantastic!!! Fantastically perfect. 😀 You are so lucky to have a husband willing to buy it for you. I hope you enjoy reading it, and I look forward to seeing it in the post, I am totally going to freak! 😛

        Expect a like and a long gushing comment! 😉

  6. ASDFGHJKL!!! I can’t wait until I get to see it! Come out in cinemas here already!! 😛 I’m glad you thought it was good, though. It gives me good expectations. I am not ready for a disappointment and Peter Jackson will not let me down!

    • Ohhh no! It’s not out where you are yet? You poor soul! How long do you have to wait? :S
      So am I, I was a little worried when I first went in because I had such high expectations, but luckily they were unfounded. Although it is very different from the book, it is different in a good way. 🙂

      I hope you enjoy it when you get to see it!

      • It doesn’t come out until Boxing Day D: I’m kind of looking forward to it being different, not much really happened in the book really, so they’d need something extra for three movies.

      • Ohh no! Still, that’s not that long now I suppose.

        It is definitely different, there’s a few sub-plots woven in that help a lot with the pacing of the film! 🙂

  7. Nice review of the film, I won’t come close to this when I try and review it 🙂 It was rather enjoyable was it not?! Rhetorical question, of course it was. The dwarves seemed to be more badass than in the books, but I do understand that it’s a film. We could discuss this until next year really 😛 I wish I could talk to you face to face about it, you being someone else with so much excitement! (And it’s Sir Ian to you :P)

    • Awwwh, thank you. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll do a great job! I’ll be looking forward to your review now.
      Haha it totally was, it was awesome! Ohh yes they definitely were more badass than in the books, I think their separate personalities were a bit more prominent too, even though they were mentioned in the book. Or maybe it was just more obvious on screen because you can keep track with the visuals as well as just the names…hmm.
      Lol, I really could! I cannot get enough Hobbit at the moment, I’m actually hoping to go and see it again, just ’cause. 😛 Aggh me too, do you have any friends that are as crazy about The Hobbit as you? Also – what did you think of the Goblin King?
      Ohh yes, I beg your pardon, SIR Ian. 😉

      • I do have some friends who are crazy about it, but they just don’t seem to have the same zest as you do 😛 I’m definitely going to see it again! I think the goblin was quite well done actually, he had a bigger part, but it helped build up the dislike for him 🙂 you?

      • Ahh I see, same with me really, a few of my friends like it, but none of them are really crazy about it or as passionate as I am. HOW DO THEY NOT SEE THE GREATNESS?! AGGH. * despairs*
        Ohhh good, I hope you enjoy it even more the second time around. 😀

        Hmm…he was actually the only thing I didn’t like in it really, I don’t know.. I felt like they were making him into a bit more of a caricature than he needed to be, but that’s probably just me.

        Hope you had a nice Christmas, and looking forward to your review. 🙂

  8. I still haven’t read the book but I will go see the film. I loved Lord of the Rings and find it hard to believe that it’s been more than a decade since I saw The Fellowship of the Ring in the cinema. How time flies.

    • Oooh ooh, you gotta read the book Emma, you’ll love it I know it! It’s so full to the brim with magic and epic fantasy. 🙂
      Wow a whole ten years?! Really? I had no idea. I mean I knew it must have been a long time because I was too young to go and see it at first….but ten years, wow.

      I hope you enjoy the film!

  9. I was so excited when I went to see The Hobbit. It’s been one of my favourite books since I was little and I read it every three of four years when I feel like reading a lovely fantasy book. I’ve always seen it as a bright and happy book, even though some sad things and scary things happen in it. I suppose my idea is fixed to how I felt when I first read it.
    When I went to the cinema (I saw it in 2D so that I didn’t have to think about the filming of it and I could just enjoy the film!) I was very prepared for it to be different to the book because I KNEW that I would get really angry and upset if I went in ready to compare the two. Putting that distance between the book and film has been a relief because it means I can just enjoy it for what it is – an AMAZING film! I have to say that the Radagast thing may have gone a bit too far for my liking though…

    • Me too! I was literally jumping up and down. Ohh that’s so cool that you read it when you were younger, I didn’t come to it until a lot later and I often wonder what I would’ve though of it if I discovered it when I was a child. I bet I would probably have loved it even more! I see it as a bright and happy book too, even though there are sad parts it still dwells on the positives. 🙂

      I saw it in 2D too. Yeah I think that is the only way that you can go about it, to expect the unexpected because that way you won’t be upset when there are a lot of changes. I’m glad you loved it so much! I know Radagast annoyed quite a few people, but he didn’t really bother me to be honest, I quite liked him although the portrayal wasn’t exactly subtle. 😛 My main issue was actually with the goblin King, he seemed a bit too over the top and caricature-ish for my liking!

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  10. I was quite happy with the changes Jackson made to this flick. I don’t always advocate changing the story from the book, but this worked completely for me. I am disappointed I have to wait for a whole year for the next one.

    • Me too, I know they might have upset some hardcore fans but I thought that they were mostly for the better and helped make it a little more up to date and relateable for the 21st century. 🙂

      Ohh gosh I know me too! It’s so long until the next one, I don’t know how I’m going to cope! When the movie finished I was already ready for more Middle-Earth. 😀

      Thanks for commenting, and for following!

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