‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012) is an unexpected joyride.

6 Jan

The Hobbit-An Unexpected Journey posterThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a film for Tolkien fans. Lets get that out there, because this movie is aimed at the appendix-reading fantasy fiction heads than the Lord of the Rings trilogy was. For the disciples of Tolkien, this film is a wonderfully detailed and elaborate retelling of his first novel. For the casual movie-goer, it is an exciting if overlong series of battle sequences which ends far too abruptly.

This film acts less as a direct prequel, and more as a provider of backstory for the previous Jackson trilogy. Bilbo Baggins, the adoptive father-figure of Frodo’s from the Lord of the Rings, is hesitantly persuaded to join a group of dwarves (featuring a return of Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey wizard) in a quest to reclaim their stolen mountain fortress from the dragon Smaug. Cue battles with orcs, trolls and goblins galore as the group ploughs on in its lofty plight.

Seeing as the novel is a mere 300 pages, which is shorter than any individual part of the Lord of the Rings saga, dragging the film out to not only the three hour mark, but also making it the first part of a trilogy, seems like a major stretch. Various plot lines were pulled from the assorted appendices and lore of Middle-Earth’s history, so it’s all Tolkien’s work. But the narrative unquestionably suffers as a result of this padding. The movie goes off on so many tangents; scenes with Radagast the Brown wizard are awesome in their own right, but are so removed from the main plot that they just feel tacked on and unnecessary.

The acting, scenery and music is all as immaculate as one would come to expect. Howard Shore returns to conduct another beautiful score, and Jackson returns to his home of New Zealand, its rolling hills and snow-capped mountains providing the perfect fantasy backdrop. Martin Freeman plays an excellent younger Bilbo, and Ian McKellen is as reliably amazing as ever. Several major characters from the last trilogy return, though their presence is justified, and are not mere cash-grabbing cameos.

That being said, however, I still didn’t enjoy this film nearly as much as any of the Lord of the Rings movies. Now I know that this is the first of a trilogy, and so a dramatic arc needs to be established. But I adored The Fellowship of the Ring on its own, simply because it functions well as a standalone movie. Sure it ends on a cliffhanger, but it knows when to stop. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey just ends so abruptly and, to quote the title, unexpectedly. The Fellowship of the Ring was about forming the fellowship, which it showed. This starts the “unexpected journey”, but doesn’t finish it.

I had the luck of catching this film not only in good ol’ 2D, but also in the regular frame rate. I haven’t read a single positive review for the 48FPS version of the film anywhere, apparently it makes the experience more akin to watching a badly made video game. I’m told that the 3D isn’t as dark as most other movies, but contains that awfully tacky gimmick of throwing swords, arrows etc. at the audience just for the sake of it. I’d recommend seeing this the same way I did.

In short, if you’re a fan of Tolkien’s work then I heartily recommend The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as its attention to specifics and detail should enthral you. However, if reading simply isn’t your thing, then maybe you should check out something a little shorter, and perhaps a bit more concise.

Simon says: fool of a Took!

Advertisements

2 Responses to “‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012) is an unexpected joyride.”

  1. CMrok93 January 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    If you’re not a LOTR fan, you might not like this movie though. I can’t wait for the next two movies, but God forbid they end up like the Star Wars prequels. Nice review.

    • Simon Mernagh January 7, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

      If you’re not a LOTR fan, you almost certainly won’t like this. Unless you’ve some crazy bias against the LOTR trilogy for some odd reason, I can’t think of a single person who’d love this and dislike LOTR. Thanks for your feedback dude, much appreciated! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Brian Finnegan

www.brianfinnegan.ie

beanmimo

Me and all of you

Metallomusikum

Music, Metal, Mayhem

The Neighborhood

society online's social conscious

Waving at Magpies

There's no marmalade at Paddington Station.

niavsmiz

Productive procrastination from my final exams to compliment my final exams. Can't go wrong, right?

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

CinEnemA

some kind of wonderful

Talking Horror

A Podcast About All Things Horror

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

ScreenSeer

A look into film - past, present and future.

Frame Rates

It's about movies

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

The writer gives life to a story, the reader keeps it alive.

The Lady's Sanctuary

Whisps and Whims, Writing, Wishes and Whispers.

Audio SeXXX

Eargasms found here!

feral love

night waste; an experiment in largely unedited nighttime musings & thoughts

Film Through Time.

A look at film through the years, in all shapes and forms.

Independent Cinema

Watching movies alone. Always.

Nameless Horror

Unspeakable Acts

Bib Overalls Film Blog

This is my personal blog about Bib overalls films and TV series. It's my first blog. You will find here informations, trailer videos, low-res images and personal comments/ratings. You will not find here complete videos, download links, shopping links etc.

film review london

concise movie reviews & news

The Silver Fox

I like to tell stories.

Keith Broni

Keith Broni's blog.

Ello world, it's me!'s Blog

whatever passes through my mind...

Dublin to Hollywood

Writing my way to Hollywood - one script at a time

theroboticcaterpillar

A great WordPress.com site

Poshknacker's Blog

coming proudly from left of your peripherals.

The Evolution of Eloquence

Improving the English language one letter at a time

Katie Ingram

storyteller

The Noise Made By People

Reflections on music and life. But mostly music.

Lateral Love

"The time is always right to do what is right" ~ Martin Luther King Jr

Celluloid Wicker Man

Reviews, Essays and Analysis of Film and Art By Adam Scovell

Shouting From The Left

Combining Marxist/Humanist/Socialist ideals with satire to create a rhetoric which aims to deconstruct current political socio-cultural events.

Eye-Dancers

A site devoted to the Young Adult sci-fi/fantasy novel The Eye-Dancers

DGAF

Sounds way better than Cheese and Crackers.

Lonely Eskimo Films

We're just a team of friends that want to show the world how creative we can be :)

CURNBLOG

Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.

Little Thread Crafts

Stitching Away One Thread at a Time

Bad horror, Good times

Reviewing the best of the bad!

%d bloggers like this: