Thursday, 28 March 2013

Kiwi Film Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

IMDB: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 65% (critics) 84%(audience)
Roger Ebert: (currently none, I'll check again in a few days and add then)

Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis.
Written By: J.R.R. Tolkien(novel), Fran Walsh(screenplay), Philippa Boyens(screenplay),  Guillermo del Toro(screenplay), Peter Jackson(screenplay)
Directed By: Peter Jackson

Release Date: 14 December 2012
Described by IMDB as: "Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever ... Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's 'precious' ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities..."

This film is definitely an epic one. I've heard some people criticizing that the film is stretched thin because they've pulled 3 movies out of a relatively small book, but I don't think thats what happened at all. I actually felt like pretty much every moment was jammed full of action. I don't really know how they could possibly could have enough plot-line left for the next 2 films. I think its great that Peter Jackson decided to add the couple of books that took place at the same time as the Hobbit. I think it will add a lot of interesting back story, and its a great chance to really meat up the run-time. 

The other unique thing about this film the frame rate. Most films are filmed in 24fps(frames per second) but The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was actually filmed with double the frame rate using 48fps. Its supposed to make it seem more like real life, but it has a pretty similar look to low budget TV shows like Coronation Street to me, but I guess thats sort of the points, its supposed to look like real life, not a glammed up move. I keep hearing that its something that you will get used to over time, and apparently we will be left with no choice because in the next few years this is where we're headed. Despite everything I just said, I actually didn't mind it too much. I heard that in some parts of the film it looked like they were in fast forward, but the only time I noticed it was at the very beginning when Old Bilbo(Ian Holm) was hiding his treasures from his thieving family while talking to Frodo(Elija Wood). I noticed it especially when he was opening his family chest and putting some stuff in it. Besides that it actually didn't look that bad.

The first of the two times I saw it was in IMAX and it looked gorgeous. They've really perfected their special effects this time. Gollum(Andy Serkis) looked absolutely beautiful(well, as beautiful as Gollum could possibly be.) All of the goblins were fantastic, the Goblin King had so much detail, it was really amazing. The landscapes were equally as beautiful, I wish so deeply that Rivendell was a real location because there really is no place on earth quite as beautiful. 

I've heard a lot of people saying that they hated how long the Dwarves and Gandalf(Ian McKellen) spent at Bilbo's(Martin Freeman) house in the Shire, but I thought it was such a fun scene, and an important one. Thats where we were a lot of their history, where they tell us about the mission and why they've chosen Bilbo. It also really sets up their characters, and allows us to see them briefly as separate characters, rather then the unit that we see them in for the rest of the film. I also loved that haunting song Thorin sings.

Martin Freeman was the perfect choice for Bilbo. His witty, dry humor really added to his role and he was just brilliant. His reaction to the dwarves hosting a party, uninvited, in his home, was completely hilarious. I watched "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Sneak Peek" hosted by Peter Jackson last night and one of the things that impressed me the most was how impressed he was by Freeman's performance. He showed us several takes of the same scene to show us how Martin would deliver the lines completely differently each time. It was actually very interesting to see. I've loved Martin for quite a while now so I was very excited to see he had been signed onto the role.

I absolutely loved this film. The first time I spent the whole time waiting for different things from the book to happen, and I wanted to know at what point in the story this film would end, so I have to say that the second time I watched it, it was far more enjoyable, which actually pretty surprising because of the length of the movie, I would have thought it would be less entertaining.

So, final thoughts? If you enjoyed The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, you will definitely enjoy the first instalment in the new Hobbit trilogy. I'm giving it a 8.8/10. If you haven't seen it yet, its now on DVD and Blu Ray so get on it asap. I enjoyed every minute of it!


  1. Nice review Gill. The movie is almost 3 hours long and the first hour of the film is slow. I realize that the movie needs build-up, but this time around, it wasn't as interesting as in LOTR. I'm probably going to piss some people off by saying that, but it's just what I felt.

  2. I can definitely understand where you're coming from, but I enjoyed it. I thought that because it was so long I'd be bored out of my mind when I went to go see it the second time, but I still loved it. I agree that I enjoyed LOTR better, but I still definitely enjoyed it!