The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D(2012)
Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth with part one of his trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. A young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman, The Office), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage, Spooks) and a posse of dwarves journey to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug.... More
Their quest will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although they've got to get to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels where Bilbo meets Gollum (Andy Serkis). It is there with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring... a simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth.Hide
BY Dominic Corry Flicks Writer
Despite benefiting from the world-establishing goodwill generated by the Lord of the Rings movies, this film stands ably on its own, offering up generous piles of large scale fantasy underscored by genuine emotional heft and boundary-pushing visuals.... More
The structure heavily recalls Fellowship – opening history lesson; Hobbiton tranquility; a long walk; an Elven meeting and some fun inside a mountain. But the character dynamics and gargantuan set-pieces set it apart.
The theme of stepping outside one's comfort zone to engage in the big, bad world is palpably evoked by Martin Freeman's Bilbo. The hesitant, beleaguered Freeman is so perfectly cast, it's easy to see why Peter Jackson shifted the shooting schedule to accommodate him.
Jackson does an admirable job of corralling the thirteen dwarves, who each somehow manage to display individual traits. As their leader Thorin Oakenshield, Richard Armitage grandly embodies the heroism of the story, and will surely be the recipient of a Viggo Mortensen-esque career bump.
The tone occasionally skews a little younger than LOTR, but the disparity isn't huge. It does allow the low-brow humour of Jackson's early work to shine through however, especially in the form of the grotesquely jowly, flatulent Goblin King, performed mo-cap style by Dame Edna herself, Barry Humphries.
Spartacus star Manu Bennett gives a fantastic mo-cap performance as pale orc Azog, once again displaying Jackson and company's gift for creating iconic antagonists where Tolkien didn't. Indeed, any concerns about this feeling too much like preamble had evaporated by the end of the film. There's a natural arc here and it runs its course.
Enterprises of this scale are par for the course in Hollywood these days – but this film simply reinforces what Peter Jackson and his collaborators do better than anyone else: they take you on a real emotional journey, unexpected or otherwise.Hide
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D
BY adamatdramatrain superstar
As with 'King Kong' and 'The Return of the King,' Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth is overlong - especially bearing in mind the brevity of Tolkein's source material. But Martin Freeman makes an excellent Bilbo and it's in his scenes with the likes of Andy Serkis' Gollum that the film excels. Whilst the narrative is occasionally flabby and the childish gags silly but fun, the technology on display is to the fore and it's hard not to be reminded of the 'Star Wars' prequel trilogy movies which often played more like an advert for what can be achieved with cutting-edge tech than solid examples of storytelling and character-building.
As for the high frame rate? It's not just the story that's lighter but the look too, and whilst the 3D looks great, it may take audiences time to adapt or even accept images so pristine that at times it's like being immersed in the latest 'Halo' game.
Like a computer game, once 'The Hobbit' gets going it's a fun ride that should keep little ones engrossed and die-hard 'Rings' fans happy. As for the rest of us? The technology on display, the locations, sets, costumes, make-up and weapons are, as we expect of the team behind 'The Lord of the Rings,' first rate and the spectacle on offer is suitably spectacular. But one can't help feeling that with a little more judicious editing and a little less desire to throw everything in from 'The Rings' in an attempt to cement links between the two trilogies, this could have been a far leaner, meaner and more satisfying introduction to the latest missive from Middle Earth.Hide