Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
We're going on an ADVENTURE!
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (DVD)
Member Name: pmcds
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (DVD)
Advantages: Casting and direction, feel good factor
Disadvantages: Not a lot, pretty damn good really
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.
Summary: First installment of the Hobbit trilogy