Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Movie Review

Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Sylvester McCoy, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis.
Directed by Peter Jackson.


I decided to read The Hobbit last month. I've made it through six chapters, approximately 120 pages.  That covered this 170-minute movie.

I don't mind at all being transported back into the world of J.R.R. Tolkein by way of Peter Jackson, and it's nice to be a lighter adventure than the broody end-of-the-world Lord of the Rings.  Here we meet a younger Bilbo Baggins, played here by Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Love Actually).  Gandalf shows up on his doorstep one day and volunteers him for an adventure.  Bilbo will join the wizard and thirteen dwarves on a quest to help the dwarves reclaim their homeland from a greedy dragon.

I wanted to be able to name all the dwarves and tell them apart, but unfortunately it'll probably take a couple viewings and seeing Part 2 before I'll be able to do that.  We're given all their names; we're just no introduced to half of them as distinctly as some others.  For instance, within the first hour I could tell you who Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Bofur and Bombur were.  It's taking me going through the IMDB pics to put the names with faces of the other dwarves.

Once the fourteen set on their quest, it becomes a series of one darn thing after another.  They run into trolls, goblins, orcs, storm giants, elves, eagles, etc.  They're in danger, they get out. They're in danger again, they get out.  Any time a dwarf gets injured, he shakes it off for the next scene.  Even for dwarves, half of them would need weeks to just rest in a hospital somewhere and let their bones mend.

The highlight of the movie is deep into the movie, when Bilbo meets Gollum.  I don't remember if he shows up again in the book, but it wouldn't surprise me if Jackson didn't find a way to get him in a sequel or two somehow.

Looking forward to Part 2. Curious to see how Jackson's going to stretch it out.  But I think most folks are going to feel like this could have been a half-hour shorter without losing much.

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