Originally published on Tired of Previews.
Question: Do you think you stay in a comfort zone that actually keeps you from taking risks and adventures? Well, that’s what Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, comes to realize when he is asked to take on a quest that will force him away from his beloved Shire home.
I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey over the weekend with my children. Before I continue with this review, I must confess that I did not read the books in my youth, but I have seen (and own) The The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I quite enjoyed the series but am not an avid fan like some. Have I been waiting patiently for the release? Sure, I suppose, but as usual, I avoided the previews, extra trappings that social networks have been riddled with of late and any discussion of the film. It’s easy to know what to expect with Peter Jackson’s work. Plus, I have seen the animated version of The Hobbit, so any enticement to get me to see the film was not really necessary.
So, how was part 1 (of 3) of the fantastical adventure with a hobbit, a wizard, and a plethora of Dwarves? Well, Peter Jackson and the crew did a good job telling the story of the J.R.R. Tolkein’s first children’s novel. On the other hand, since this was not originally a trilogy I believe the story was a bit too long (169 minutes). However, if you are a rabid fan of these tales, you might enjoy the beginning of the marathon Bilbo and his companions endured.
Martin Freeman was fantastic as Bilbo Baggins, the younger version. Ian Holm plays the older Baggins, like in LOTR started out the film. He begins by writing down his tales of adventures to inform his cousin, Frodo. Both actors embodied the little man from The Shire very well. Another actor that I must mention, Ian McKellen, plays Galdalf. This will be his fourth film as the cryptic wizard, but I couldn’t get enough of seeing him on screen. Gandalf is my favorite character of all the stories. Ian McKellen breathed remarkable life into the magical man. I could watch him on screen for hours, and I did.
Now as for the rest of the cast: Dwarves, elves and lots of dark creatures, there are just so many that there is not enough room to discuss them all. The 13 Dwarves that intrude on Bilbo’s home and life are cute, comical, strange looking and acting, and I can’t remember one name despite sitting through nearly 3 hours with them on the screen. As for the elves, there are a few familiar faces along with a couple of new ones.
I did not see The Hobbit in 3D. I know this particular film was meant to be seen in a certain screen type (real D 3D, HFR 3D or IMAX 3D) but not being the avid fan like some, I chose not to. Yes, some of the special effects, especially with the large fight scenes, appeared unrealistic. And I know this is a fantasy and not a real story so some argue it isn’t supposed to look “real”. What I mean, it looked cartoony instead of live action. Perhaps my thoughts would be different if I saw the film in 3D, but I really don’t like seeing films in that method. The make-up, costumes and scenery (real and green screen) were all at the top of their game and allowed you to feel a part of Middle Earth. The visuals of the The Hobbit will take you into the fantasy and out of your world, and for me that is always a sign of good filmmaking.
There was one particular special effect that deserves high praise and should win some awards no matter what: Gollum. The ring-loving creature was so unbelievably real it was almost disconcerting. Andy Serkis played Gollum so well and mixed with the computer enhancements I almost believed that was a real “person” on screen. Well done.
Speaking of Gollum, we only come to him about two-thirds of the way through the story and it was until that last hour did I fully enjoy the story. On the whole, I will admit I was a tad bored, my children became enervated while watching the film, and the overall wonderment that LOTR held wasn’t there in The Hobbit. That’s not to say it was a bad film. But honestly I think going on the adventure with Bilbo and the gang should have been kept to one film, maybe two. However, if you are a fan of these tales you might think the opposite and that’s okay with me because filmmakers should create films for their fans. If others discover the wondrous tale of The Hobbit and enjoy the few hours then I cannot complain.
Despite what I said in this review, don’t let any of the negativity keep you away from taking an adventure to the cinema. Magic always happens at the theatre.
My favorite part: Gollum – the effects and Andy Serkis were brilliant.
My least favorirte part: Too long for me.
Directed (and co-written) by Peter Jackson, Warner Bros., 2012
Length: 169 minutes
Review: 6 out of 10
About the Author: Katy Kern
Movie reviews that won’t spoil the story with the critique. Movies are my passion and I want to share my opinion on the movies I see to give you more insight on what to see next.