The time is finally upon us. It is time for a new adventure, one that many have already gone on, yet still new too many. Though it may not stand as high as the LOTR, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has arrived, and after sitting through the action packed 2hrs and 46min, is worth seeing.
The Hobbit is about a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the adventures he had. After a flashback of the Dwarves and how they lost their mountain home to a dragon, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives at the Shire and invites Bilbo on an adventure. After meeting the thirteen dwarves, one of them being Thorin (Richard Armitage) the leader of the group, Bilbo then decides to join them on their quest to take back the mountain from the dragon, Smaug. This adventure takes them too many locations, some old and some new, along with meeting familiar faces, as they make their way to their ultimate destination.
I saw the movie in 24 frames a second, so I wont be making any comments on that, but I plan on seeing it again in HFR (48fps), and will write another review about it.
Story and pacing in the movie felt good, even though it took a while for the adventure to actually begin, after the flash backs to the dwarves and the long dinner sequence in Bilbos home. The direction by Peter Jackson makes this movie feel very much like the other LOTR movies. This one doesnt have as serious of a tone as the LOTR did, and you dont connect as well to the characters at the end of this movie as you did the first of the other trilogy, but all are likable. I have not read the books so I do not know how well it is following it, but I felt like there was a good amount of detail and background story to keep me unformed of what is going on and what is to come.
Visuals in this movie are just as good as the trilogy. The Shire is as cozy as ever, Rivendell looks gorgeous, the woods are woody, dark caves feel tight and wet, and one scene in the mountains is very intense. The sets for this movie are so detailed you could live in them. Bilbos home is cluttered and full of many things that make it feel like the cozy little home that it is. Large locations are equally as detailed, like one in the caves full of wooden bridges and platforms, Orc items scattered all over. Its hard to not give away too much. The one thing I would have to say about details is the amount of CGI used. Now, I dont dislike CGI, but I did enjoy all the very real battles in The Lord of the Rings. Nothing is more real than having those lifelike costumes on real actors. Most every enemy was CGI and sometimes it lost its believability, as most characters looked real but were obviously not. Battles looked great but you could tell they were not real and one part where everyone is falling just looked out of place to me.
That said, one of the best characters in the movie was Gollum, the completely CGI creature hiding in the depths of the caves. His performance was amazing; his characters emotions were so well shown through his voice and even better his face that you wish he was in the movie longer. He was probably the only CGI that really worked well in the movie. All of the actors in this movie did such a good performance, making every character believable and easy to connect with. Freeman was the lost Hobbit who just wants to be home, McKellen remains the great wizard he always was and continues to be so in this movie, and all of the dwarves had their personalities, though you never really connect with any of them other than Thorin. I hope they expand more on the dwarves but I do look forward to seeing them all change throughout the next two movies.
Let us not forget about the music, as it plays a huge role in all of these movies. Some similar music is used, but to great effect, as it bring back memories of the other movies. This feeling helps you dive into the movie and feel like youre back at home in the shire. All the music is spot on and helps your emotion response to the different scenes. As I wrote this review I played some Lord of the Rings music in the background, specifically the music heard when we see the Shire.
This is one of those movies that you dont want to end. Even after the almost three hours you have been sitting there. Everything was done so well, just like the previous trilogy, the whole world and all of the lore felt so real that I was instantly drawn into the movie until the very end. You arent left with much of a cliffhanger, other than knowing there is still more to the journey. Although it may not be as great as LOTR trilogy, it still feels right at home in the series. I highly recommend seeing this movie whether you have seen the Lord of the Rings or not, as it is a treat that everyone should experience.