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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

aka The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Directed By: 
Details: 0 mins · English

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Good, But Could Be Better

One thing about the Hobbit that casual viewers of J.R.R. Tolkien's work don't often understand is that Tolkien was perhaps one of the greatest storywriters in history. Not only did he write the LOTR trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion, but the lore of an entire universe, languages and everything. The universe in which The Hobbit takes place is one full of subtelties and nuances that were difficult to transcribe into film, even for such a director as Peter Jackson. Now, I don't fault him or any of the cast or crew for this shortcoming, but it is an important one. So many things that were seen in this Hobbit film fell into two categories: stuff that wasn't in the book and added for dramatic effect OR stuff that was in the book but not added to the film.

So much of the Hobbit's rich plot and backstory rely on a bank of Tolkien information of which the average moviegoer tends not to be aware. I will save you the trouble of rattling these things off here, but rest assured, the myth...(more)

One thing about the Hobbit that casual viewers of J.R.R. Tolkien's work don't often understand is that Tolkien was perhaps one of the greatest storywriters in history. Not only did he write the LOTR trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion, but the lore of an entire universe, languages and everything. The universe in which The Hobbit takes place is one full of subtelties and nuances that were difficult to transcribe into film, even for such a director as Peter Jackson. Now, I don't fault him or any of the cast or crew for this shortcoming, but it is an important one. So many things that were seen in this Hobbit film fell into two categories: stuff that wasn't in the book and added for dramatic effect OR stuff that was in the book but not added to the film.

So much of the Hobbit's rich plot and backstory rely on a bank of Tolkien information of which the average moviegoer tends not to be aware. I will save you the trouble of rattling these things off here, but rest assured, the mythos goes much deeper than this film makes it out to be. To his credit, though, Radagast the Brown with a film role was the ultimate Tolkien-Fanboy treat of the movie.

I was excited for the return of Ian McKellan as Gandolf, and Martin Freeman as young Bilbo Baggins was pretty much the choice I'd make as a director. What I didn't like about the cast was the overwhelming number of Dwarves introduced in a very short amount of time. Credit where credit is due to Tolkien for giving them homophonic names, but having Gandalf mutter them lightly under his breath while the (admittedly) awesome soundtrack played in the background was not the best directorial choice.

That being said, the visual effects in The Hobbit were nothing short of stunning, especially the flashback battle scenes of Moria, the battle in the trees between the Dwarves and the Wargs, and the added fight scene between the three Stone Giants; a cacaphony of yelling, crashing, and general badassery. I am in suspense for the other three movies in the trilogy, but can't help thinking that, if the pacing of the other two is like this one, the last two will either have too much crammed into one movie or leave us wanting more. (less)

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gave

A Great Cinematic Experience

I have to say, this was the first Lord of the Rings movie I watched, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. A visual experience, as well as an immersive one.

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A reasonable first chapter

Despite my love for Tolkien and his stories, I can't give this more than a 3/5. The cinematography is beautiful (just like all of Peter Jackson's adventures in this realm), the characters are fun, the music is great. All of this makes for a positively satisfactory movie. But, it really doesn't go beyond that. Unfortunately, there is a status quo for Middle Earth, and while this doesn't slip below it, it doesn't exceed it either. No one's performance was ground breaking, the writing was decent, the sets and costumes were fun. Like a baseball game in June, The first installation of The Hobbit franchise is fun, but when it really comes down to it, isn't that memorable.

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Cast:

Small Bilbo Baggins
Small Thorin Oakenshield
Small Gandalf
Small Gollum
Small Beorn
Small Galadriel
Small Saruman
Small Radagast
Small Bilbo Baggins
Small Frodo Baggins
Small The Master of Laketown
Small Bard
Small Legolas
Small Elrond
Small Tauriel
Small Dáin II Ironfoot
Small King Thranduil
Small Azog
Small Lindir
Small Kili
Small Bofur
Small Dwalin
Small Great Goblin
Small Balin
No_movie_poster King Thror
No_movie_poster Dori
No_movie_poster Oin
No_movie_poster Bifur
Small Smaug
No_movie_poster Tom Troll
Small Tauriel
Small King Dain

Crew:

Small Peter Jackson Director
No_movie_poster Howard Shore Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Fran Walsh Producer
No_movie_poster Philippa Boyens Screenplay
Small J.R.R. Tolkien Novel
No_movie_poster Andrew Lesnie Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Richard Taylor Costume Design
No_movie_poster Victoria Burrows Casting
No_movie_poster John Hubbard Casting
No_movie_poster Liz Mullane Casting
No_movie_poster Dan Hennah Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Jabez Olssen Editor
No_movie_poster Carolynne Cunningham Producer
Small Guillermo del Toro Screenplay
No_movie_poster Toby Emmerich Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Callum Greene Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Rick Findlater Makeup Department Head
No_movie_poster Zane Weiner Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Ken Kamins Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Andy McLaren Art Direction
No_movie_poster Alan Horn Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Amy Hubbard Casting
No_movie_poster Miranda Rivers Casting
No_movie_poster Ann Maskrey Costume Design
No_movie_poster Warren Mahy Storyboard
Small Peter Jackson Production
Small Peter Jackson Writer
No_movie_poster Fran Walsh Writer
No_movie_poster Jabez Olssen Editing

Plot:

Approaching his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins begins writing down the full story of his adventure 60 years earlier for the benefit of his nephew Frodo. Long before Bilbo's involvement, the Dwarf king Thrór brings an era of prosperity to his kin under the Lonely Mountain until the arrival of the dragon Smaug. Destroying the nearby town of Dale, Smaug drives the Dwarves out of their mountain and takes their hoard of gold. Thrór's grandson Thorin sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside, and is dismayed when they take their leave rather than aid his people, resulting in Thorin's everlasting hatred of Elves.

In the Shire, young Bilbo is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey into hosting a party for Thorin and his company of dwarves: Balin, Dwalin, Fíli, Kíli, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. Gandalf's aim is to recruit Bilbo as the company's "burglar" to aid them in their quest to enter the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo is unwilling to accept at first, but has a change of heart after they leave without him. Traveling onward, the company is captured by three trolls. Bilbo stalls the trolls from eating them until dawn, when Gandalf exposes the trolls to sunlight, which turns them to stone. They search the trolls' cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.

The company encounters the wizard Radagast the Brown, who tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a Necromancer that has been corrupting Greenwood with dark magic. The company is then chased by orcs on wargs. Radagast covers the company's escape as Gandalf leads the company through a stone passage to Rivendell. There, Lord Elrond discloses a hidden indication of a secret door on the company's map of the Lonely Mountain, which will be visible only on Durin's Day. Gandalf later tells the White Council—consisting of Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White—about his involvement with the Dwarves. He presents a Morgul-blade Radagast obtained from Dol Guldur as a sign that the Necromancer is linked to the Witch-king of Angmar and may attempt to use Smaug for his evil purposes. Saruman is skeptical, not believing the Necromancer to be a true threat.

Without Gandalf, the company journeys into the Misty Mountains, where they find themselves amid a colossal battle between stone giants. They take refuge in a cave and are captured by Goblins, who take them to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo becomes separated from the dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a golden ring while killing a stray goblin to eat. Pocketing the ring, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins or eaten by Gollum if he loses. Bilbo eventually wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket. Noticing his ring is lost, Gollum suspects that Bilbo possesses it and attacks the hobbit. Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum.

Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the Dwarven kingdom of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin's head. Gandalf arrives and leads the dwarves in an escape, killing the Great Goblin. Bilbo, sparing the pursuing Gollum, exits the mountain and rejoins the company, keeping secret his newly obtained ring. The company is ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, and takes refuge in trees. Thorin charges Azog, but is knocked to the ground. Bilbo saves Thorin from the orcs just as the company is rescued by eagles, who fly them to the safety of the Carrock. In the distance, the company sees the Lonely Mountain, where the sleeping Smaug is awakened by the knocking sound of a thrush.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2012-12-14 : United States of America

theatrical : 2012-12-14 : India

DVD : 2013-03-19 : United States of America

DVD : 2013-04-08 : United Kingdom

DVD : 2013-04-15 : Serbia

Blu-ray disc : 2013-03-19 : United States of America