The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan.
Synopsis: Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a simple life with his fellow hobbits in the shire, until the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives and convinces him to join a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor. The journey takes Bilbo on a path through treacherous lands swarming with orcs, goblins and other dangers, not the least of which is an encounter with Gollum and a simple gold ring that is tied to the fate of Middle Earth in ways Bilbo cannot even fathom.
My thoughts: Peter Jackson has done his work well. Once again, staying very true to Tolkien's vision, he has brought everything to life, sharing with us this adventure. Because I haven't seen the HFR version, I won't be talking about it, but the 3D worked relatively well!
Many minutes of this film were focused on the Necromancer, and I think that degraded the experience somewhat. Here, we are given two great evils (Smaug and the Necromancer), and Jackson only delves into the Defiler to momentarily satisfy viewers, which is hard to do after this long wait. We'll simply have to appreciate the fleshed-out story world before our eyes, and scour the internet tirelessly for Cumberbatch's voicing of Smaug. Even a single word would do.
What does satisfy dedicated fans is the attention to detail in the books, and for hardcore fans, the striking nostalgia of scenes re-imagined from the 1977 animated Hobbit film. One that comes to mind is Gollum paddling across the water.
I have to admit, the battle scenes were once again incredible. Indeed, sometimes unbelievable. Near the end, the company seemed to have the luck of leprechauns. Everything happened conveniently, with no reason for it. Also, Gandalf suddenly uses powerful magic at the end. Why not use it before?
Anyway, those qualms did little to sink the pride I felt for Jackson's accomplishment. Gollum was fantastic with his riddles and rhymes, and his selves were quite distinct this time, which was great to see. The dwarves were so much fun, but I wish I'd heard more of certain ones (such as Bombur). I love the energy they have with each other, it's very enjoyable to watch, especially their songs at the Shire.
In conclusion, Peter Jackson has brought Tolkien's story further to light, and with much skill. The characters were great, and I look forward to seeing some new ones in particular. (cough) Cumberbatch (cough)
My rating: 9 stars
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