* Prices may differ from that shown
The Hobbit is a film I had been looking forward to ever since Peter Jackson announced the plans to put the classic adventure on the big screen. Even though I was only 7 when The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring came out in the cinema I went to watch it with my family and I remember being gripped. The Lord of the Rings series are some of the only films of their length I can tolerate watching again and again and the Hobbit certainly lives up to their legacy.
Without giving too much of the plot away If you haven't read the book, The Hobbit is about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit from the Shire who enjoys a peaceful life, this is disrupted when Gandalf the Grey visits him and offers him the chance of an adventure with thirteen Dwarves who are on a quest to reclaim their homeland. Bilbo is reluctant at first but soon agrees and sets off on an adventure which is sure to change his life forever.
Having read the book before going to see the film, this I didn't do with any of The Lord of the Rings films, I was a bit reluctant as there are tons of examples where the film does not live up to the book. In this case however Peter Jackson does justice to J.R.R Tolkien. Bilbo is played by Martin Freeman who does an impeccable job of conveying Bilbo's slightly awkward and loveable character. Alongside Ian McKellen, the acting from Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin, really make the film what it is.
The soundtrack to the film is as beautiful and spine chilling as The Lord of The Rings and the scenery just as serene and fairytale like.
The only bad points I found about the film was that it is quite long and it's the first of a trilogy, I can understand that Jackson wanted to fit as much detail in as he could but I think it could have been done in two parts.
Of course this kind of film isn't for everyone and they have changed quite a bit from the book to make it more action packed but if you love adventure then take this one.
Over a decade ago, JRR Tolkien's well know trilogy hit our screens as three feature films: The Lord of the Rings was here. And wow what an epic trilogy it is. Director Peter Jackson managed to do what no one had done before, and brought the entire trilogy to the screens with rumours of the prequel, The Hobbit, being made at some point in the future.
Now that future is here, and the film has been hyped up beyond belief because of the trilogy's success. A single book, it is to be released in three parts, and this first one sees the start of the story gently waded into, as we meet the titular character, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (the very same from LOTR but now much younger). Bilbo keeps himself to himself and doesn't really do adventure, but when Gandalf the wizard marks him as being the final member of a party of dwarves seeking to restore their control of their land, he has little choice but to go with them.
I remember the book very well from when I was a kid. The way Jackson has brought these characters to the screen is very clever indeed, painstakingly creating the world of Bag-End and revisiting a lot of the locations that may be familiar to us from LOTR. Similar music is used, the same melodic and restful feel of Hobbiton (Bilbo's town/village) juxtaposed by the anxious and dark dangers lurking around the rest of Middle Earth. We get to see monsters and villains not met before and although there will be inevitable comparisons between this film and LOTR, I think Jackson has done enough to differentiate between the two with ease.
The book reads like a series of individual adventures, and this is no different. I'm kind of glad that they're drawn it out a bit and made it into three films, as it gives them chance to actually tell the whole story, which did not completely happen with LOTR. One criticism was that too much had been skipped, and while this is commonplace in book to film adaptations, it's not something that ever really sits well with purists, and the missing bits are more noticeable due to their absence. I can't honestly say that I thought anything had been completely missed out here, although we're only a third of the way through the book and already a lot has happened.
The company is off to travel to the lair of Smaug the dragon, who has captured all of the dwarves' treasure. There's the added danger of an evil beast stalking them, a giant orc or something by the looks of him, who once fought against leader Balin's father and grandfather, and Balin himself just before the dwarves were overrun and defeated. Now Balin, along with his family and friends of best fighters, is after Smaug and this evil enemy to reclaim what is rightly his. Needless to say, we'll back him not just because he's the good guy, but because Jackson paints him as a solid leader and Richard Armitage acts out the character with pure charisma.
The actor has become instantly recognisable to anyone who has watched the Robin Hood TV show and the Vicar of Dibley over the past decade or so. He is well supported here by established comedy actor Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and I'd say these two along with Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the wizard play the three main parts of the film. The rest of the dwarves are well cast, and the way they all interact with each other is very impressive. There are comedy moments as well as the action and occasional beautiful song, and I found myself grinning at the screen a number of times while watching this.
It's quite long, over 2 hours, and when you consider there are another two films like this to come then be prepared for the long haul. I shall be holding out for the ultimate boxset when this trilogy is done and it's combined with LOTR to create a Middle Earth ultra boxset, no doubt on 3D with everything that goes with it. Until then, I'll probably watch this as many times as I can with more smiles. Big grins, happy with the adaptation.
I read the LOTR books - all of them - when I was younger, and I did not find (unusually) that my attachment to the original literary masterpieces detracted from my enjoyment of the films. Yes, there were some differences in plot and some disappointing interpretations of character and themes, but overall Peter Jackson produced a series of three films that were entertaining and reasonably faithful to the spirit of the original. I am sorry to say that I cannot say the same for his latest effort - what should have been the crowning glory to the LOTR set, and a much easier story to interpet to boot. 'The Hobbit' as a book is a fundamentally different animal to the other LOTR books,in tha it is a simple, clean-cut adventure story with few of the complications that tie the other books of the LOTR trilogy together. In an attempt to make his trilogy (and it's a TRILOGY - how ridiculous!) of Hobbit films tie firmly to his LOTRtriology, Peter Jackson has destroyed this simplicity and disasterously over-egged the pudding. The first problem with the film is the constant attempt to unify Bilbo's story with Frodo's later adventures, when for me the joy of the original book was the ignorance of all of the characters (and indeed the author) about just what the significance of the ring Bilbo found was. These extra hints and asides detracted from the pace of the story. The second problem for me was the characterisation - Bilbo is no longer the homey creature of the book, and the story is no longer really about his struggle to find his own inner strength and courage; instead the film makes a point of rubbing in our faces the fact that Bilbo is a hero in the making. I was particularly astounded by the scene in which Bilbo single-handedly takes on a Warg, and rescues the foolhardy Thorin from his own failed attempt to kill the White Orc. This was made even more ridiculous by the fact that Thorin appears to have only one expression in his repertoire, and it reminds me of nothing so much as constipation. This brings me to the third problem I had with the film - the sheer ridiculousness of a number of scenes. Whether it be Bilbo's extraordinary ability to defeat a ferocious wolf three times his size with nothing more than a short dagger, or the constant collapse of furniture under the grotesquely obese Bombur, or - horror of horrors - Radagast the Brown's bunny-drawn chariot, the eloement of the ridiculous failed to add any comic relief to the film, and instead merely detracted from any seriousness with which one might have otherwise approached the distended storyline. This distention is my final issue with the fim - it was simply too long, and with not enough pace to keep my interest. Endless chase scenes and fight scenes reminded me of nothing so much as watching someone else play a computer game badly - they were tedious, and failed to add any excitement to an already slow-moving story.
Having said all of that against the film, I do have two positive comments to make. Peter Jackson's strength in the first three LOTR films was his flair for creating beautiful, sumptuous scenery and visual detail, and 'The Hobbit' is no exception to this rule (except where fight/chase-scenes are concerned - see comments above). Finally, I cannot find fault with the soundtrack - the dwarves rendition of 'Far Over the Misty Mountains' was beautiful and haunting; definitely the best part of the experience.
Having seen the LOTR movies, I came into the cinema hoping that Peter Jackson would keep some of the excellent changes he made to the trilogy while avoiding some of the awful, awful changes he also made. By and large, he has succeeded.
I was well aware in advance of the criticism concerning the running length. This is largely unfounded. I enjoyed the time taken at bag end to build the Dwarves characters. Without doing this, the viewer would soon cease to care who's who, apart from Thorin. And that would have been a shame.
The film lives or dies on the main character, and I'm happy to confirm that Martin Freeman was the perfect choice for young Bilbo. The original reluctant hero, he finally gives in to his Tookish side in order to go on an adventure.
Not being a fan of "Useless Frodo", I get the feeling that Freeman's Bilbo is not going to be in any hurry to give away the one ring to the enemy or collapse spontaneously in slow-mo when spotlit. The elves this time around do a little less mincing, though women's hair is still de rigueur for the males.
There are many guest spots for returning actors. Ian McKellan injects Gandalf with a little extra humour, Christopher Lee manages to exude screen presence in his 90's and even Hugo Weaving's Elrond is a little less dour and more generous ini spirit this time around. Cate Blanchett continues to look stunning but also continues to be less Galadriel and more judgemental new age hippy.
At least there's no blast off scene this time around. Or pouty teenage shield-surfing Legolas, both of which are huge pluses. Picking up the bow this time around is Kili. Here's a good example of Jackson taking a big risk which for me pays off hugely.
Not only does Kili (and several others including Thorin) not look like sterotypical Dwarves, here we have a Dwarf using a bow. And it works. You don't get the feeling that you're looking at latex mask #3 obscured by a huge beard. There are some of those in the company, and they are the ones that most fade into the background.
If you do like your Dwarves sterotypical, the best of that lot is Dwalin. Scottish accent? Check. Bald, tattooed head? Check. Axes? Check. Gruffness? Check and grrr. Jackson's managed to please both camps here, not an easy task.
Major changes to the book? The character of Azog has been expanded hugely. For a start, he's not long dead. But there is a clear need for an immediate antagonist and this one suits nicely. In Goblin town is where there were two silly sequences I found jarring. Both involved the party in long falls that were utterly, utterly unrealistic.
In stark contrast to this is the battle of Dimrill Dale where the lonely mountain dwarves are in an epic battle to the death with an orc-horde. One that leaves few survivors, accounting for why this small band is so faithful to each other. This short sequence is the single most powerful one I've ever seen for Tolkien's middle earth. It even managed to eclipse the start of fellowship or the final battle outside the Black Gate. Simply superb.
Acting is of a high standard all around. The best supporting actor is Richard Armitage as Thorin. I saw this in 2D, which I believe suits all the CGIness far more than something that might end up seeming rather fake.
In summary, well worth watching. I will be buying a copy on Blu-ray when it emerges.
I have never seen Lord of the Rings, so I was less than thrilled when I was forced to go to the movie with one of my friends who is a die hard fan. Personally I wanted to sit through Les Miserables for a 4th time this week, but I could not find an argument to stop my friend from dragging me into The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. So, much to my dismay I went with him.
Within the first few minutes of the movie when it is describing the great battle that took place in the past, I could not help but think about how horrible the movie was going to be. I had very low expectations, but as soon as the movie turned over to the "present" time in their lives I was hooked. I laughed at Bilbo Baggins and his friends for the first portion of the movie and there were certain times that I could not help but giggle at the funny one liners and funny happenings throughout the movie.
I was not happy that the movie was around 3 hours long, but once it ended I felt as if I'd only been watching the movie for an hour at most! I stayed entertained the entire show and the parts that annoyed me were minimal. I did not like any of the songs that were sung in the show. I just feel that a movie about a journey and a war type thing is not great surface to have any musical parts included (that is definitely just personal preference though). The songs they did include in the show were done well they just seemed kind of forced into the movie in a way. The most heartbreaking moment of the movie was the very end. I had no idea that it was a 2 part show so I was very disappointed to find out that I have to wait months before I get to see what happens to Baggins and his gang.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised and would watch it again a second or third time if given the opportunity! I have now been inspired to watch all of the Lord of the Rings shows!
LOVE THIS MOVIE!
T he Hobbit was GOOD. Yeah, it was a bit too long, but in general it wasn't lame or boring. Naturally, a lot of things were added to the original story in order to devise the book into 3 films, but they are all events that are relevant to it, and I think they were nice additions.
We get a huge dose of the character, Thorin (the film focuses a lot on him, definitely more than the book does), but this is not necessarily bad (although the special 'bonding' between him and Bilbo was too much for me; to be honest, I expected a less soft and a bit dummer Thorin. and now I understand where all this 'Bagginshield' business on tumblr and deviantart comes from). Richard Armitage did a great job, has a wonderful voice. I also liked the way Fili, Kili, Balin and Dwalin were portrayed - adorable. The Gollum scene was AWESOME, I absolutely loved it. Finally, having recently read the book, I was really amazed by the flashbacks, the stories of the fall of Erebor and the battle of the dwarves against the Orcs that were told in a few pages in the book, but were so beautifully brought on screen.
One thing that annoyed me a little (apart from the "Bagginshield" thingy) was Thranduil.
Uhm, this is all that comes to my mind right now. I truly liked this movie and I'm really curious to see how they have handled the action scenes in the next two ones.
About the film
The Hobbit is a 2012 epic fantasy film, and the first in a trilogy based on J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit. The film is rated 12A and has a run time of 169 minutes. The film was released in the UK on 13th December.
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit living in The Shire, living a peaceful life and minding his own business. While sitting outside of his house one day, Gandalf the Grey comes to visit offering Bilbo the chance of an adventure. However, Bilbo likes his quiet life and refuses to go. It isn't long until a large group of dwarves turn up at his door and make themselves at home. The dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, are on a quest to reclaim their home in the Lonely Mountain, which was claimed by a fire breathing dragon many years ago. Although reluctant, Bilbo agrees to go on the journey and change his life forever.
Bilbo Baggins - Martin Freeman
Balin - Ken Stott
Bifur - William Kircher
Bofur - James Nesbitt
Bombur - Stephen Hunter
Dori - Mark Hadlow
Dwalin - Graham McTavish
Fíli - Dean O'Gorman
Gandalf the Grey - Ian McKellen
Glóin Peter Hambleton
Kíli - Aidan Turner
Thorin Oakenshield - Richard Armitage
Óin - John Callen
Ori - Adam Brown
Nori - Jed Brophy
What I thought
After loving The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I really wanted to go and see The Hobbit. I haven't read the book or any of The Lord of the Rings though so I didn't really have many expectations beforehand apart from hoping it was going to be good. The film is also about 3 hours long and I didn't want to have to sit through a crap film.
Firstly, I have to say that I wasn't overly impressed with Martin Freeman playing Bilbo. Now, as I haven't read the book, I'm not sure about how his character is supposed to act but overall, I just found him to be a bit strange and uneasy to listen to. However, there were times that Freeman did good though, especially in parts where he had to stand up for himself or during some of the larger scenes in the film. I think my reason for not liking him so much in the film compared to The Lord of the Rings is because I loved Ian Holm as the older Bilbo Baggins.
I did really like the new cast members though. The dwarves were an interesting bunch and there was a wide variety of looks and personalities between them all. Thorin is the leader of the group, trying to lead them back home to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. I really enjoyed the backstory about the dwarves and where they came from and also why they were on this journey in the first place. Richard Amaritage is extremely good playing Thorin and does come across as a born leader, full of bravery and courage along with keeping his men happy. My fiancé thinks I'm extremely strange to say this but there was also some eye candy within the group of dwarves. Maybe it's the long hair and the arrows, just like Legolas but Aidan Turner was great as one of the young members of the group, Kili.
Although the new cast and characters were great, it was nice to see some of the other characters from The Lord of the Rings throughout. The elves especially were my favourites to see again although there are some more as well. I know there will be more characters popping up throughout the next two films so it will be good to see them again too.
I didn't go and see this film in 3D or Imax because I just didn't want to pay the extra and for my fiancé to have to pay for a stupidly expensive ticket. That being said, the effects were pretty spectacular but I never expect anything less from a Peter Jackson film and knowing what The Lord of the Rings was like. I really loved the changes in scenery throughout this film and as the group never stay in one place too long, there is always something interesting to look at. The fight scenes were as spectacular as always and quite elaborate at times. I was quite surprised at how many there were though because they seemed to happen quite often.
One of the things I loved about this film was the soundtrack. There is some music used here from The Lord of the Rings films but also new music as well. Each song is magical and fits each scene perfectly. When something wonderful and special is happening, the music is light and airy while during the fight scenes, it is exciting and makes the scene tense and more thrilling if that is possible. It really isn't often that I love a film soundtrack so much but I do for this film.
Overall though, while The Hobbit had good and bad points, I feel it was too drawn out. Even though I haven't read the book, I know scenes were added that didn't happen and I assume this will be done in the other films as well. I feel like the whole story could have been done really well in just one, long, 3 hour film (maybe spread over 2 films) but I think 3 films is going a bit overboard. I'm not sure how much is going to happen in another 6 hours worth of films.
Over the Christmas period I managed to get chance to go and watch this at the cinema. I was keen to do this as I have watched the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, the sequels to The Hobbit, in cinematic glory. I was therefore keen to see this one on the big screen too. We could only get tickets to watch this in 3D, so my comments on film will also take this into account.
The film is directed once again by Peter Jackson. While I have read The Hobbit, this was many years ago (around ten) so although I did recognise certain things in the plot, I was not able to decide how closely this film stuck to the events from the novel. This is quite a long film, with a run time of 169 minutes. I think that overall, this was a bit too long for the content of the film. I was also quite surprised that this was only part one of another trilogy, as after watching the conclusion of the film, I felt that it was a neat point to end the story. I am unsure how keen I will be to watch the other two parts after seeing The Hobbit. I imagine I will as I like to complete what I have started. I feel a need to re-read the novel to see exactly where the story goes on to make the decision properly.
As the film started, I was pleased to see familiar landscapes and locations from the Lord of the Rings. It has been a long time since I originally saw those films in the cinema, but as they have all been recently shown on television, it was strange but in a good way to see Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in the little house in the hill. Watching Bilbo sat writing his incredible journey in a big red leather bound book, there has been some attention to the smaller detail. Indeed, we watched Frodo sit at the same desk and carry on writing in the same book at the end of the final part of the trilogy.
The plot of The Hobbit features a younger version of Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman) as one of the central characters. He is a typical hobbit in that he is perfectly at home living in the Shire, never venturing very far and making sure he gets all of his meals every day. He is horrified one day when a party of dwarfs turn up at his house, and try to persuade him to join their company of 14 to try to win back the Dwarf kindom, the Lonely Mountain, which has been captured many years earlier by a dragon called Smaug.
Along the way, they are persued by Orcs who want revenge for the result of an earlier battle, and Bilbo manages to also meet Gollum and find the Golden Ring which is such a feature of the plot of The Lord of the Rings.
I remember when I first read The Hobbit, while it is not essential to know the plot from the story to like The Lord of The Rings, it is really nice to fill in some blanks about where the ring came from and see Gollum again.
I don't want to feature too much more on the plot of the film, but on the acting and the special effects. Firstly, I feel that the film is really far too long. A lot did happen in the story, but there was a lot of time spent showing how The Lonely Mountain was first stolen from the dwarves, and again, showing the group of 14 being persued by orcs and goblins. There is a real sense of deja vu along this journey, and it wasn't always in a good way. At one point, I honestly did find my head starting to nod, when the party reached the Elven kingdom and they all sat around having a meal and talking about the purpose of their journey, and it was so dull.
I found the 3D effects to be quite poor in places. I will be honest and admit this is the first full film I have seen in 3D, but after watching this I am not sure if I would bother again. It seems these days that every film is available in 3D, but I don't feel that it added anything spectacular to the film that I wouldn't have got from watching it in high definition. There were a couple of moments like when Galdaf started batting about pinecones that were lit which were designed to jump out at you. Apart from that, most of the panning shots were too fast to the extent I felt a bit sick, and not always filmed in 3D. The result was an effect that was patchy, and a bit hard going on the eyes when you were watching such a long film. The only bit that was really worth it was that Gollum did look pretty amazing and I felt it was more spectacular than the first time I had watched him on the big screen ten years ago, but I also imagine computer animation techniques will have improved further as well.
The battle scenes between orcs and goblins just felt like we had been there and seen it all before. I found the Goblin battle scene to just be a bit hilarious, with so many near misses and not even a cut for the good guys at the end of it, all while no-one noticed that Bilbo had completely disappeared from there company. It probably didn't help that I felt the head goblin was a cross between Fat B***ard from the Austin Powers franchise and Jabba the Hut. He was more comical than scary. I see now looking online that he was played by Barry Humphries, who I know much better for his comedy role as Dame Edna Everage, so no wonder I found it hard to take him seriously.
I also felt casting James Nesbit as one of the dwarves was a bit dubious. I normally find him a fine actor, but here, he is too well known vocally for me to do anything other than spend most of the film thinking oh, its James Nesbit. I prefer the anonymity of the other actors playing the rest of the dwarves, which allows me to fully immerse myself in the story. Maybe if the plot were more fast paced, I wouldn't have been so distracted.
I thought Martin Freeman was excellent as Bilbo, and he was similar enough in appearance to Ian Holm (who played the role in LOTR) for me to notice any lack of continuity. Elijah Wood as Frodo did not seem to have a lot of screen time here, and it would not have been noticed by me if he was not there at all.
It is a real shame that this has not been made a bit more pacey, as there is no reason why this fine story should drag in cinematic form. However, it does, and as a result, I didn't find this as enjoyable as I expected. It was ok, but not great.
Maybe I am being a bit B'ah humbug, as I did hear a few people commenting as we left the cinema how good it was, but these were mainly younger viewers who would not have been to see LOTR in the cinema. I just felt a bit let down as the wait has not been worth it. All 4 of us in our party felt the same.
"I feel stretched... like butter that's been spread over too much bread"... So says Bilbo Baggins, protagonist of 'The Hobbit' in its sequel, 'The Lord of the Rings'. And it might just as well apply to the Hobbit movie as the hobbit character. This is a movie that has stretched its source material to breaking point, and will most likely disappoint fans of both Tolkien's stories, and Jackson's interpretations of them.
Given that Tolkien was more often than not predisposed to verbosity and long-windedness when the mood took him, alarm bells began to ring when I realised that Tolkien had outdone Peter Jackson in terms of brevity when it came to The Hobbit. The story, in principle, is a relatively simple one, following a small cast on a straightforward adventure as Gandalf the Wizard sends our hero, Bilbo Baggins, on a character-building quest with a company of dwarves to reclaim their treasure-stuffed homeland from the clutches of a greedy, malevolent dragon. Those of you familiar with the book will most likely greet the notion that this is the first, three-hour-long part in a trilogy with a scratching of heads, wondering why on earth such a simple story warrants such epic treatment... until the answer hits you 0.37 nanoseconds later that trilogies are, of course, more profitable than tightly executed standalone films devoid of unnecessary scenes and bloated waffle. Jackson and co., it would seem, have succumbed to the power of the almighty dollar and sacrificed common sense on the altar of profitability. The same altar is drenched heavily with the lifeblood that made Star Wars so great and such a rancid disappointment when the prequels finally came out. Come to think of it, there are startling similarities between the two series, and the way in which these second trilogies have been handled. Although I will mention now that The Hobbit is nowhere near the artistic catastrophe that 'Phantom Menace' et al. turned out to be.
Deviation from the book was expected to a degree, but not to the point that it becomes self-sabotaging. In the book, Thorin's party of dwarves are portrayed as well-meaning but slightly naive in their determination to take back their subterranean kingdom, with only Thorin, Gandalf and one or two really sure of the dangers that lie ahead of them. This is reflected in one line at the start of the film, where Thorin muses that his company are 'tinkers, toymakers, tradesmen... they are not warriors', only for the same party to be shown armed to the teeth and slaying hordes of clunky CGI goblins like they were shelling peas. It was very difficult, at any point, to feel as if our band of gregarious heroes were in any peril at all. It is a flaw of the story itself, though, rather than the film adaptation that the dwarves are hard to engage with, as they are not really characters in their own right. In the book they are basically a catalogue of silly names attached to people who occasionally do stuff. Only Thorin has any kind of depth to him, but some of his lines are so clunky (thanks, Fran Walsh) it's very difficult to engage with him.
It is almost impossible to disentangle The Hobbit from the LOTR films, seeing as much of the same cast and crew turned up for the project. This was of course inevitable, but what starts to rankle is the number of LOTR references that have been shoved in for no reason other than familiar association. Perhaps they were intended to be little references, but they are so numerous and glaring it makes one wonder if the writers have any original ideas at all. Gandalf bumps his head on the low beam at Bag End, the Ring flies up and falls on Bilbo's finger in exactly the same manner as it does with Frodo, Gandalf becomes enveloped in sinister shadow in a fit of temper in the same place AND location in Bag End, and later he summons the eagles by whispering to a moth (not in the book) Saruman clucks disapprovingly at recreational drugs use... It's all so lazy and unimaginative. At least Jackson didn't repeatedly shove his big-eyed kids in front of the camera this time round, presumably because they're all having teenage tantrums and swapping texts with Lindsay Lohan. Or something.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding this picture, as it has been shot in 48 frames per second and 3D, both of which have been decried as being pointless gimmicks that serve no purpose. I was fortunate enough to see it screened in 2D at the standard 24 fps, which looked fine in terms of treatment. However, it is apparent that Jackson's hollow gimmickry extends beyond just weird framerates- the Hobbit is *saturated* in suspense-breaking, cheap-looking CGI which wrecks what immersion the film conjures up in the first instance. During the sequence in the goblin kingdom, I lost count of the number of bone-shattering falls onto rocks and bridges the dwarves came away from unscathed. And the goblins themselves look horrible, all computer-generated and unthreatening, lacking in real momentum and clearly the actors are struggling to engage with a tennis ball on the end of a stick. For the goblins and orcs in LOTR, Jackson opted for real actors in extensive make-up and prosthetics, which gave them a real screen presence. None of the monsters here possesses such presence, and much of the action sequences look like they've been lifted from some cheap video game trailer; something I felt that Jackson had resorted to in 'Return of the King' which cheapened it somewhat in places, and that the effects become noticeable as such. Special effects are special when you can't tell that they are effects, and are accepted by the audience. LOTR had wraiths flying around on giant lizard things and CGI-created volcanoes, all of which looked totally fine and didn't break the suspense at all. By contrast, the Hobbit is repeatedly shattered by its own cartoonish effects.
It's also very poorly edited. While the film-maker's level of research into Tolkien's notes on the backstory of the Hobbit is to be commended, their attempts to flesh out the film with these bits only serve to drag the pace into the mire. There is a scene akin to the council meeting at Rivendell, which is deathly boring by contrast and completely unnecessary. It also contains an uncharacteristically poor performance from Christopher Lee, who fails to deliver his lines with any kind of gravitas or enthusiasm at all. The whole film feels more like an extended edition with these scenes, which perhaps should only have been released when the whole trilogy was completed and released on DVD. These optional extras were cool in LOTR extended editions, but serve no purpose in the plot and pace of this film on its own. In an attempt to create a series of films as a prelude to LOTR, the writing team have hovered up all sorts of bits from Tolkien's 'Unfinished Tales' and the exhaustive (and exhausting) 'History of Middle Earth'. I've always felt that Tolkien's works needed a major overhaul to turn them into filmable works, and Jackson succeeded in doing that for LOTR. Here, he hasn't.
And now the good bits, few though they number. Ian McKellen gives another grand performance as the wizard Gandalf, and the ever-so-British Martin Freeman is excellent as the fussy and unconfident Bilbo who has been sent packing on this adventure against his will. Ian Holm is excellent as the elder Bilbo Baggins in the prologue, even if his appearance is very brief, and Hugo Weaving does fairly well as Elrond, even though his part is pretty dull and functional (he reads a map for the dwarves, and does little else. That's hardly a spoiler, is it?). Though this brings me round back to the bad - Sylvester McCoy is cast as Radagast the Brown - a wizard mentioned in LOTR as something of a recluse. Here he is portrayed as an incredibly irritating 'comedy' character, with some fake-looking CGI animals. Is there a part of this film that doesn't have tacky CGI vomited all over it?
The New Zealand photography is gorgeous as ever, with panoramic shots of its plains and mountains filling the screen and giving the story the epic landscape within which it lives. And Howard Shore has managed to conjure up another good score, albeit not a great one. Even here there is quite a bit of LOTR nostalgia, as themes and leitmotifs recur, and there is perhaps a bit of laziness here too. It will still sound grand on the hi-fi though.
Perhaps it was my own sense of anticipation that built this up to be a disappointment, but since leaving the cinema and reflecting on the film and its many flaws (which have grown in my mind since numerous discussion in the pub and on the internet), I have to conclude that this is a poor film. Ever since the enormous disappointment of the last Star Wars films I have mostly wary about setting my expectations too high, but in this case I let my guard slip. This film is a poor treatment of the book, and Jackson fails to live up to his pedigree. Maybe the slew of mixed reviews might prompt Jackson's editing team to give parts two and three another look and load it back onto the editing suite, but I get the impression that he doesn't care that much. He openly said he didn't want to direct the Hobbit, and discussions plunged it into development hell for years. All this shows; which is a real shame as all the right ingredients were there for another treat for the fans.
I found this movie very slow and boring, however this may be because i'm used to fast action films with an exciting story-line to follow it up, Not some dwarves and a hobbit walking halfway up a mountain to look at a derelict castle which took them 165 minutes.
Now before all of the LOTR fans come and shout at me saying that the had to fit in as much of the book as possible, hear me out!
It is apparent to me that yes, they may have tried and attempted to fit in as much of the book into the movies as possible, but have they? I'm pretty sure that the (Spoiler alert) pale orc had no part within the books, and was never even a part of it, so nice one there book fans (y)
One think i did like about the film was when there was some action it was presented well and allowed for some fast paced and tense action that only LOTR could present with the mythical weapons of middle earth and the riddles scene with Golum was by far one of the most chilling and most appealing parts of the entire movie which had me gripped to my seat to see the outcome of what would happen between the two hobbits (yes, i just googled it, and Gollum/Seagol is/was a hobbit :O! Game changer)
I'm sure that many people would disagree with most of my points here, but this is my review and my views to help present the different opinions of the film.
I appreciate others opinions and i hope that you will do the same! :)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy created a whole new cinematic universe, inspired media culture and created some of the most iconic scenes in cinema, not to mention it won 17 Academy Awards and broke Box Office records, so when the idea came for them to make J.R.R Tolkien's prequel 'The Hobbit', who could say no?
Split into three films (originally two), each over two hours long, one might ask 'HOW?'- and the answer is that the film-makers decided to stretch it out to make more money. Not to worry, fans of the franchise will receive a lot of bonus side story, history and even more of Middle Earth, all adapted from Tolkien's works.
The movie opens with an old Bilbo Baggins writing his story about his adventures and recalling the ancient thriving Dwarven kingdom of Erebor, a city of gold, which was then taken siege by fire dragon Smaug, driving the dwarves into exile which is interrupted by Frodo (a pleasant cameo by Elijah Wood).
Whilst blowing smoke rings, Bilbo recalls the night his life changed forever.
60 years ago, Gandalf (an aging Ian McKellen) the wizard pays a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) a visit and invites him on an adventure. With thirteen dwarves led by the descendant of the great dwarven king, Thorin (Richard Armitage), Bilbo leaves his comfy Shire and embarks on a life-threatening adventure of a lifetime.
The pace of the movie was rather slow for the first hour (so much action packed content!) and recruiting Bilbo took forever, only slightly lifted by the humour of the dwarves. Calm before the storm moments happened regularly and was slightly dragged out, but once it picked up, it got good, real good.
At first you question all these side storylines and you wonder about their relevance to the plot, but be patient, for they will all be tied up at the end. They add much more depth to the story, which is otherwise rather linear. For those who just want a cinematic adventure getaway with no knowledge of LOTR or The Hobbit (you disgust me- just joking), this film is not for you. Well, you just won't enjoy it as much and would be wondering why everyone around you is raving on about this madness.
My friend (who saw the film last week) said to me that you really need to have read The Hobbit to get the most out of the movie and actually I might have to disagree. Since I last read it when I was maybe 12 or 14, I kept pondering if bits were from the book or not; how some of their 'escapes' were quite convenient etc and that distracted me greatly. Had I watched the film with none such knowledge, I might have absorbed it more.
The realm of the Lord of the Rings trilogy has been brought back as much as possible with the return of familiar orc, goblin and troll races, an introduction to the likeable wizard Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) and familiar characters Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman (who is not so evil at this point).
One of my favourite scenes is the iconic 'Riddles with Gollum'. It was filled with humour, excitement and wit- the animation of Gollum was perfection and brings back one of the most memorably characters of all time for this moment, which is definitely the highlight of the movie.
Middle Earth is as stunning as ever. The beautiful gold lined caves of Erebor to the beauty of Rivendell, contrasted against the dark gloomy orc mines and the mysterious Dol Guldur. This moves me on nicely to the visual effects and quality.
As you might have been aware, the movie was intentionally filmed at 48 frames per second compared to the standard 24 frames per second. This means double the amount of frames per second, which means double the information. So what effect does it have on the viewer? Great clarity, more 3D visuality. I saw this at the higher frame rate (both out of curiosity for the fuss as well as the fact that this was shown at the time I went to see it).
The verdict? Both good and bad. Firstly, the visual clarity was breathtaking. The opening scenes were so realistic, it was like I was actually there. The quill Bilbo used to write with, the wooden interior of his Hobbit-hole, the feathers of the eagles- a real feast for the eyes. This was no doubt the best 3D visuals I have seen in any live action movie. Yes Avatar was good, and it too created a whole new world, but no film showed realism quite like this.
The downside? Almost TOO real. When Smaug attacked Erebor at the beginning, the painted set pieces was more than obvious and these tiny things stick out like a sore thumb, rendering this beautiful fantasy world, dare I say it, fake. I felt like I was watching a high definition BBC documentary at times, or even worse some sort of BBC drama. As the first three films were made before the domination of 3D movies, there was a haziness, a non-clarity which gave the others a recognisable cinematic style, which is lost in this movie.
That said, I'm an observant person and I pick these things out, but you'll probably not notice it at all- so don't avoid seeing it in this format just because of what I think!
As the movie reaches its climax (the most dramatic of which- yes, even beats the goblin escape sequence) and all the loose ends are tied, we reach a wonderfully executed finale, full of courage and tension, finishing on an upbeat moment of peace, appropriately leading us onto the next chapter, 'The Desolation of Smaug', which comes out next year in December, 2013.
Ian McKellen- Gandalf
Martin Freeman- Bilbo Baggins
Richard Armitage- Thorin
Andy Serkis- Gollum
Benedict Cumberbatch- Necromancer
Also stars Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Lee Pace and Christopher Lee.
The outstanding cast, led by returning thesp Ian McKellen and newcomer Martin Freeman was sublime. Freeman is perfectly cast as Bilbo Baggins, who plays the role with such flair, humour and character. If you've ever seen any of Freeman's acting before, he transforms the role and makes it his own.
It is always great to see familiar faces and Cate Blanchett is as ethereal as ever, shows sublime Elven grace and is just a pleasure to see return.
Surprise surprise is the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is actually Smaug/the Necromancer which I remember reading about but forgot when I watched the movie- will definitely be on my mind for the next one. Pushing Daisies and Twilight star Lee pace gets a cameo role as Elven King Thranduil, good to see he is getting bigger films even if it is for a cameo.
'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is a must see for fans of the franchise and those looking for a visual thrill- this movie was visually spectacular and stuffed full of extra side story and Middle Earth culture that it will blow your mind away.
Compared to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is inevitably not as 'epic' nor will it ever be, but it is a good attempt as making it as exciting as possible. This movie definitely adds value to the trilogy and gives you a greater glimpse into the world of Middle Earth.
With a beautiful world, a sublime cast and iconic sequences, this will certainly break records once again. To be honest, apart from 'Life of Pi', what else is there to see this Christmas anyway?
At one point, it seemed we were destined never to return to Middle Earth. Despite the success of the Lord of the Rings films, the prequel became bogged down in development hell, passing through the hands of a number of potential writers and directors before finally returning to the man who started it all - Peter Jackson. Surely, the man who wowed the world with his Rings trilogy was the best and safest choice for this new trilogy?
Well, on the evidence of part one of the trilogy - An Unexpected Journey - it's perhaps not quite that clear cut and the crucial word in that sentence is "safe". Unlike Lord of the Rings, which revolutionised some aspects of film-making, The Hobbit lacks any real innovation. You do wonder whether actually the baton might have been better being passed to someone new; someone who could bring new ideas and not just stick to tried and tested ways bring in fresh ideas. As it is, The Hobbit lacks the same sense of passion and newness of The Lord of the Rings. It's nine years since the last Rings films. The world of cinema has moved on. Peter Jackson, it seemed, has not.
The one innovation that has been employed is not particularly successful. Jackson's decision to film at 48 frames per second (rather than the usual 24) has divided critics, and I'm afraid that I stand on the negative side of that divide. Rather than enhancing the look of the film, it actually spoils it. Yes, the images are crisper and sharper, but it also feels like you are watching a live TV episode of something rather than a film and it actually negatively impacts on the world Jackson so successfully created in Lord of the Rings. Even though it was filmed in New Zealand, just like the original, it actually looks very set bound at timesThe 48 frames per second rate really does the film no favours and robs it of the epic scope and feel that characterised its "brothers".
The decision to stretch the film out to another trilogy also backfires with An Unexpected Journey (which clocks in at just under 3 hours) feeling very bloated and stretched. New sequences have been inserted, whilst some have been extended beyond the scope of the original book. It's not all bad news, since some of these new segments do work. The Council between Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman at Rivendell, for example adds to the overall story arc: it feels like a natural part of the plot for the Hobbit, but also foreshadows and further explains some of the events in Rings. Elsewhere, it is little short of disastrous. A dull and ridiculous sub-plot featuring fellow wizard Radagast The Brown, for example, adds nothing and feels like filler, slowing the plot down and frustrating the viewer.
There are also points where The Hobbit feels rather self-indulgent. As Mrs SWSt astutely observed, segments of it feel like Peter Jackson is simply re-staging his favourite bits from Lord of the Rings trilogy, only in 3D. Thus, the scenes in the Goblin kingdom are essentially the battle in Moria restaged; the rescue of the Eagles recalls the ending of The Return of the King. It's not that there's necessarily anything bad about this, it just adds to the whole feeling that there's nothing new here that you haven't seen before.
It's not all bad news, though; and whilst The Hobbit might be disappointing (and leave you fearing for the two films to come), it's not a dead loss. Amidst the bloat and self-indulgence, there are some excellent sequences. Particularly in the early stages (the party at Bilbo's house), Jackson once again recaptures the tone and style of Tolkien's book perfectly, bringing locations and characters to life. And whilst casting might not be quite so flawless as the earlier films, it gets more right than it does wrong.
The large company of actors does a good job on the whole. You would expect that from the returning cast (Ian McKellan etc.), but they keep their performances up to the standard of their previous ones and are not tempted to phone it in. There is a sense that some of the returning faces are being shoehorned in so that Jackson can get the old gang all back together again (Ian Holm and Elijah Wood's re-appearances are particularly forced), but it's not as bad as I feared.
Amongst the newcomers, Martin Freeman is acceptable as Bilbo, but not in the same ball park as Ian Holm. As you might expect, Freeman excels in the sequences where he is required to look bewildered, but struggles to convince in the more action-oriented sequences. Still, like other aspects of the film, he's not as bad as I feared he might be.
Amongst the dwarf cast, Richard Armitage is excellent as Thorin Oakenshield. Proud and arrogant, he nevertheless manages to maintain a sense of dignity and bravery that makes it possible to like him. Ken Stott is similarly dignified as Balin and actually feels a far better developed character than he did in the book. Inevitably, some of the dwarfs get a bit lost in the mass of small bodies on screen, although when given the opportunity Dean O'Gorman and Aidan Turner do well as Fili and Kili respectively. There were certainly none that made you grit your teeth and I can certainly see myself enjoying more time in their company over the next couple of years as the sequels come out.
The high point, of course, comes from Andy Serkis' Gollum. But then you already knew that. Once again, though, it does leave you fearing a big hole in the remaining two films since (assuming Jackson follows the book faithfully), that's Gollum's part done
Howard Shore's music score is also superb. Whilst it might not ever quite hit the heights of some of the Lord of the Rings tunes, it is still excellent. Once again making use of the Celtic inspiration behind much of the Rings music, it is perfectly suited to the gentile nature of The Shire. Equally, when called on to do more stirring tunes, Shore effortlessly turns out militaristic pieces to accompany the battle sequences. Like so much else in the rest of the film, it no longer feels as innovative as it did, but it does sound good.
Reviewing on Dooyoo sometimes makes me feel like Scrooge at a children's party. Professional reviewers have been salivating overThe Hobbit and awarding four or five stars across the board, and I'm sure many of my fellow Dooyoo-ers will do the same. I can only call it as I see it and whilst there is plenty to like about The Hobbit, it is also over-long, self-indulgent and a little safe and stale feeling. A change of director, or reining in the existing one a little would probably have benefitted the film no end.
The most telling thing is this: whilst I certainly will go and see the next two films, I don't have that same sense of restless anticipation that I had when I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring and couldn't believe I had to wait a full 12 months for the next instalment.
The Hobbit: an unexpected journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Running time: approx. 169 minutes
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012