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Movie Review: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

December 19, 2012

Warning: Some Spoilers in Review, Proceed with Caution.

On the date this review is being written, it is the 10th Anniversary of “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” being released in theaters in the U.S. Tomorrow (from the date this is written), it will be the 11th Anniversary of “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” being released in theaters in the U.S. And Yesterday (once again, from the date this is written) was the 9th Anniversary of “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” being released in theaters in the U.S. So I suppose it is only fitting that I ended up (not purposely) seeing the return of this film franchise with the first of an all new trilogy, The Hobbit Films.

Almost a decade ago, I ended up watching the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and fell in love with it like many others. I sadly did not get a chance to watch the first two films when they were in theaters, I had to catch up with dvd releases that I still own to this day. (They rest comfortably in between my Back to the Future Trilogy and The Dark Knight Trilogy.) But I still remember going to see the Return of the King in theaters almost 10 years ago, and feeling so satisfied with the ending. It was a great movie trilogy.

So now, almost 10 years later, when my life has radically changed, I did everything I could to make sure I got a chance to see the start of an all new trilogy in this movie franchise, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And man, it was worth it. This film did live up to the hype, and did not dissapoint.

The cast was fantastic! Martin Freeman did a fantastic job playing Bilbo Baggins, and it was great seeing him evolve from a play-it safe, “I don’t want to go on any adventures” guy to someone who was willing to risk his life in the last battle of the movie. I particularly enjoyed his scenes with Gollum (once again brilliantly played by Andy Serkis). Ian McKellen once again did a fantastic job playing Gandalf, to a point where I think he stole the show. Richard Armitage also did a nice job as Thorin, as it was very easy to understand why he would be willing to go against great odds to get back his home without an army. He did a very good job of conveying his anger and urgency to fulfill what his father and grandfather couldn’t do, as well as avenge their deaths at the hands of the Orcs.

The rest of the cast was also very enjoyable, although they did seem to blend in a little too much. It’s understandable given the number of other dwarfs on screen, but I could only really think of one or two others that stood out from time to time, although I forget their names.

The film looks absolutely beautiful, particularly when showing how the original kingdom at the Lonely Mountain once looked, as well as other long panning shots in the mountains, like when the Stone Giant fight was happening. It truly is a gorgeous film, and Peter Jackson did a fantastic job filming as well as editing CGI scenes to make them truly feel alive and look fantastic.

My only issue was that the beginning did feel a little slow, although that isn’t to say it was bad. This truly is a fantastic film, but (at least for Part 1) something is missing that would truly put it at a 5/5 grading that I really want to give the film, but can’t. I have a feeling that may be because the film was trying to set up quite a few important details for the second and third films, which is understandable. Still, it’s puzzling to me that I can’t figure out what exactly is holding me back from giving this film a top score. It’s definitely not because I thought the original trilogy is better (it has been awhile since I watched the films, and I haven’t had time to go back and re-watch them before I watched the movie.) so I’m not sure what it is.

Regardless though, I give this film a strong 4/5, and highly recommend you go check out the film. Even if you missed out on the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, you shouldn’t have an issue watching the film. This film is truly worth every penny, and I highly recommend it. I look forward to next December so that we may continue this unexpected, cinematic masterpiece known as “The Hobbit”.

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