The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has some issues. However, any time spent in Middle-Earth is time well spent. The movie seems to be weighed down with superfluous fluff and fan service, but it goes to show that Jackson is just excited as the audience is to be back in Middle-Earth. The lighter adventure is exciting and captivating and, of course, is set against a truly breathtaking backdrop. The familiar sights of The Shire and Rivendell have never looked better and the rolling landscapes of New Zealand are a marvel. Bilbo and the Dwarves are casted wonderfully and will entertain audiences for the next few years. Martin Freeman captures the perfect essence of a hobbit and plays extremely well along side the dwarves who are just as equally talented. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had the task of setting up for the next two films, but after a slight clumsy start the movie definitely finds its stride and will fortunately be around to entertain and amaze for the next few years.

What is there to say about Lord of the Rings and Middle-Earth? I, like so many others, have been anxiously waiting for my trip back to Middle-Earth on the big screen. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to take part in the Lord of the Rings Marathon that was held across various theaters. It was a nice tease for what was to come once The Hobbit opened nation wide. Even then, the marathon wasn’t enough; I set a goal to finish reading The Hobbit in time for the movie’s release. I knew it was overkill to finish the book before the 14th since the story was to be spread across three movies. However, the brevity and quality of the story allowed me to finish my goal in time, as well as question just how this 300 page novel would be adequately translated into three movies.
The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey

It should be said that The Hobbit is a completely different adventure from The Lord of the Rings. I like that they kept this lighter, humorous tone from the book but it seems as though the movie struggles to balance the tone in the beginning of the movie. Pair that with the fact that they’re trying to stretch the book across three movies and it ends up with a jumbled up pace for this first installment.  I couldn’t help but get the sense that I was watching an extended cut of the movie, which as a Middle-Earth fan isn’t a band thing, but there seemed to be a lot of superfluous fluff and fan service.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey delves deeper into Middle-Earth than the novel did which helps to pad the movie’s length. Elaborating more on Radagast the Brown, The Necromancer, and the importance of Gandalf’s side quest help to widen the scope of Middle-Earth as well as set into motion events for The Lord of the Rings. An Unexpected Journey has set up a lot for the next two movies, and I believe now after its clumsy start the series will find its stride.

Another small disappointment with the movie is the abundance of CGI elements. The Lord of the Rings series is no stranger to CGI, but I felt as though there was a good balance between highly detailed and elaborate costumed actors and computer-generated actors. However The Hobbit uses a lot more of the computer generated enemies, which isn’t bad when used to beef up numbers, however it was used to create very key figures in the movie (Azog and The Goblin King). The CG isn’t bad by any means. It looks great on screen but it lacks the same charm that made The Lord of the Rings as awesome as it was.

Having said all of that, I want to be clear, I loved The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Any time spent in Middle-Earth is time well spent. The amazing world of J.R.R. Tolkien through the eyes of Peter Jackson is an amazing marvel on screen. The Shire, Rivendell, as well as the rolling landscape of Middle-Earth are meant for the big screen, and Jackson is once again able to transform the already beautiful New Zealand landscape into a spectacle work of art.

I really enjoyed the fact that they’re staying true to the lighter tone of the novels. Although The Lord of the Rings is an amazing film series, it’s incredibly dense and emotionally draining to get through. I’m looking forward to this lighter tone as a great contrast to rings trilogy. Don’t be mistaken though; The Hobbit still has its own epic adventures as well as intimidating foes. The battle beneath the Misty Mountain was thrilling and captivating from the moment it started. Even the beginning of the movie starts off with intimidating action as the telling of the fall of Erebor plays out before the audience. Although the movie can still depict dark battles, the chemistry between Bilbo and the Dwarves helps keep things light on its feet even at the face of dark enemies.

Martin Freeman does a wonderful job as a younger Bilbo. I will say that he laid a little too much in to the, “I’m just a Hobbit, I don’t like adventures,” aspect in the beginning but he, much like Bilbo, finds his own and is able to deliver an extremely solid performance. The dwarves as well are casted perfectly and all of their quirks and unique personalities are brought to the big screen. Richard Armitage plays Thorin Oakenshield wonderfully and is able to capture the leader essence while delivering a performance that is easily connectable. The movie delves deeper into his backstory and allows you to get a deeper feel for him. Ken Stott plays Balin, who just might be my favorite out of the dwarves. Wise, caring, and deeply loyal, Stott brings to life this loveable character. The strong cast of The Hobbit is highly enjoyable and I look forward to seeing this group of actors as they play out the rest of these adventures.

Now the highlight of the film is hands down the scenes that depict the riddles in the dark. Andy Serkis delivers a performance of Gollum that captures the character in such a powerful way. The amount of emotion that Serkis brings to Gollum’s expressions and movements is truly a work of art. The interactions between Gollum and Bilbo are done perfectly and it helps show so much of each others character. We get to see such a humanizing side of Gollum that you can’t help but feel sorry for him. This scene is such a pivotal moment for not only Bilbo and Gollum, but for the series itself and I’m incredibly happy with the way it was done.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has some issues. However, any time spent in Middle-Earth is time well spent. The movie seems to be weighed down with superfluous fluff and fan service, but it goes to show that Jackson is just excited as the audience is to be back in Middle-Earth. The lighter adventure is exciting and captivating and, of course, is set against a truly breathtaking backdrop. The familiar sights of The Shire and Rivendell have never looked better and the rolling landscapes of New Zealand are a marvel. Bilbo and the Dwarves are casted wonderfully and will entertain audiences for the next few years. Martin Freeman captures the perfect essence of a hobbit and plays extremely well along side the dwarves who are just as equally talented. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had the task of setting up for the next two films, but after a slight clumsy start the movie definitely finds its stride and will fortunately be around to entertain and amaze for the next few years.

Interested in writing reviews or news posts for Thinking Cinematic? Contact me at rrsolis@me.com! You can also send your guest reviews there too!

Connect with me at:

Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic
Email: Rrsolis@me.com

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2 responses to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

  1. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of December 17th | thinkingcinematic

  2. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of March 18th | Thinking Cinematic

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