Before I begin this review: yes, I read the book. When the opening title appeared reading “The Hobbit” and the familiar tune played, I was overcome with delight—I have been closely anticipating this movie for a long time. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” ran a total of two hours and fifty minutes: a substantially lengthy movie. Yet it is still part one of three. I find it a bit odd that they decided to make three movies out of one book, while they made three movies for three books when making Lord of the Rings—even though The Hobbit is shorter than any of The Lord of the Rings books. Is “trilogizing” The Hobbit really necessary? The Hobbit is not even as epic or complex as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I wondered at first how they would even find enough material for three whole movies without adding things not in the book.
Preceding Walden Media’s production of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, many fans cried “bloody murder” when they found out about the incorporation of “green mist” as a representation of the White Witch because it was not congruent with the original book. But unless you’re a hardcore purist, there are none such drastic differences or additions in The Hobbit in comparison with the book. Admittedly, there are some things not “in the book” but I am told that these adages still count as original cannon Tolkien because they are included in various appendixes.
Having read the book, I was expecting a few people to die, but they surprisingly did not. If you read the book, you know whom I’m talking about, though I will not spoil it for those who have not. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next two movies to find out if they die. The scenery and CGI was as spectacular as The Lord of the Rings movies, perhaps more so in some parts. You won’t see much of Smaug in this movie, which may disappoint you. You never even see a full-body shot. But I will be looking forward to seeing more of the dragon in the next movies. The ending was handled well—it did not leave you hanging too desperately, but did indicate that there was more to come.
The actors. Lord of the Rings fans will enjoy once again seeing Elijah Wood, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, and of course, Andy Serkis—though the actor of Gollum is not technically seen.
Approximately ten years later they “haven’t aged a day,” to quote Gandalf from The Fellowship of the Ring. What form of witchcraft is this?! No doubt the One Ring had something to do with this remarkable absence of aging. Frodo, Gandalf, old Bilbo, Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman all look just like they did in The Lord of the Rings. Of course, some of this aging magic admittedly has something to do with digital alteration.
Martin Freeman as Bilbo was an excellent casting choice. I am not just saying that because I’m a BBC Sherlock fan, in fact I haven’t even seen that show. So when I say that I loved Freeman as Bilbo I speak completely objectivity. The dwarves’ personalities were of quality and memorable. However, I still do not have a grasp of all of them individually. Thorin was well done and true to the book. Not that I personally likehim, but his character design was excellent. Who’s my favorite dwarf so far? Kili, brother of Fili. An no, not just because he’s younger and more good looking than the other dwarves, but because of these reasons: I think his acting was of a good quality, he had a more substantial role, I liked his personality, he was entertaining to watch, funny, and yes, he’s younger and sorta good-looking.
The Hobbit is rated PG-13, mostly for fantasy violence. I do not find this to be anything to worry about, other than perhaps for very young children. I highly recommend The Hobbit, even for people who are not familiar with Tolkien’s middle earth, as The Hobbit comes chronologically before The Lord of the Rings. In conclusion, the entire film was incredibly impressive—by far the movie of the year. The sweeping landscapes, beautiful sets, incredibly detailed props, creative costume design, and wonderful actors all make for a truly epic movie.
As a note, you may want to check out the Hobbit movie app, which includes character bios and photos, production videos, a 360 view of Hobbiton and Bag End, and a map of Middle Earth. Though most of the things in the app are available on the internet, it’s a gorgeous app that I have downloaded and enjoyed.
Creative Characters: 10
Emotional Involvement: 8
Mature Content: 3