Movie Review — The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

by Ryan on December 16, 2012

in Anything Else,Nostalgia,Pop Culture

Finally, a piece of the latest JRR Tolkien-inspired trilogy is in theaters!  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hit theaters Friday and will surely blow-up this weekend’s box office.  I have already contributed to that pile of cash:

No significant plot spoilers

First, the goodThe Hobbit is well-acted, with great special effects and soaring musical score.  Its 2:46 run-time has turned-off many critics for seeming to drag, but honestly back in the day we used to call that “plot development.”  I think the first hour’s slower pace reflects the slow life Bilbo Baggins was living in the Shire.  The film also has much more depth than the book, and doesn’t dumb-down all the names and places for a mass audience — as a super-fan I appreciate that.  All the extra material helps the plot more than hurts it.  Unlike the book, we actually get a sensible explanation as to why Gandalf chooses Bilbo over the other hobbits!  Finally, Andy Serkis’ Gollum is simply worth the price of admission — it’s likely the best rendering of the “Riddles” scene I think one could put to film.

Now, the issues I have with the film:  Some have called An Unexpected Journey Peter Jackson’s Phantom Menace.  If that’s the case, then Radagast the Brown is definitely Jar Jar Binks.  While not nearly as annoying, Radagast is important, moves the plot along, but seems over-the-top.  Also, while not minding that the film has a long run-time, I still think that it could have been trimmed without hurting the overall movie.  In case you were wondering, the film quality was no big deal in 2D — no nausea here, just the sense that Ian Holm uses botox.  Finally, while technically not a prequel, the film occasionally falls victim to the classic prequel trap — unnecessarily forcing in material connecting this film to the previous ones.  You’ll notice.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to any fans of the original films.  Entering Middle-Earth once again was like cozying up with a warm blanket on a cold day.  It has its flaws, but they are mostly superficial.  An Unexpected Journey easily gets an A- in my book.

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Movie Review — The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug | Axis of Right
December 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

rightonoz December 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

And filmed where I grew up and went to High School!

Lush green of Matamata in New Zealand’s Waikato region.

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Ryan December 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Nice! New Zealand IS Middle-Earth. It’s beautiful out there.

Reply

Rightonoz December 17, 2012 at 4:45 am

I’m back there for a holiday in Feb. Lived in Aus for the past 25 yrs

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