The time is finally upon us. It is time for a new adventure, one that many have already gone on, yet still new too many. Though it may not stand as high as the LOTR, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has arrived, and after sitting through the action packed 2hrs and 46min, is worth seeing.
The Hobbit is about a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the adventures he had. After a flashback of the Dwarves and how they lost their mountain home to a dragon, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives at the Shire and invites Bilbo on an adventure. After meeting the thirteen dwarves, one of them being Thorin (Richard Armitage) the leader of the group, Bilbo then decides to join them on their quest to take back the mountain from the dragon, Smaug. This adventure takes them too many locations, some old and some new, along with meeting familiar faces, as they make their way to their ultimate destination.
I saw the movie in 24 frames a second, so I wont be making any comments on that, but I plan on seeing it again in HFR (48fps), and will write another review about it.
Story and pacing in the movie felt good, even though it took a while for the adventure to actually begin, after the flash backs to the dwarves and the long dinner sequence in Bilbos home. The direction by Peter Jackson makes this movie feel very much like the other LOTR movies. This one doesnt have as serious of a tone as the LOTR did, and you dont connect as well to the characters at the end of this movie as you did the first of the other trilogy, but all are likable. I have not read the books so I do not know how well it is following it, but I felt like there was a good amount of detail and background story to keep me unformed of what is going on and what is to come.
Visuals in this movie are just as good as the trilogy. The Shire is as cozy as ever, Rivendell looks gorgeous, the woods are woody, dark caves feel tight and wet, and one scene in the mountains is very intense. The sets for this movie are so detailed you could live in them. Bilbos home is cluttered and full of many things that make it feel like the cozy little home that it is. Large locations are equally as detailed, like one in the caves full of wooden bridges and platforms, Orc items scattered all over. Its hard to not give away too much. The one thing I would have to say about details is the amount of CGI used. Now, I dont dislike CGI, but I did enjoy all the very real battles in The Lord of the Rings. Nothing is more real than having those lifelike costumes on real actors. Most every enemy was CGI and sometimes it lost its believability, as most characters looked real but were obviously not. Battles looked great but you could tell they were not real and one part where everyone is falling just looked out of place to me.
That said, one of the best characters in the movie was Gollum, the completely CGI creature hiding in the depths of the caves. His performance was amazing; his characters emotions were so well shown through his voice and even better his face that you wish he was in the movie longer. He was probably the only CGI that really worked well in the movie. All of the actors in this movie did such a good performance, making every character believable and easy to connect with. Freeman was the lost Hobbit who just wants to be home, McKellen remains the great wizard he always was and continues to be so in this movie, and all of the dwarves had their personalities, though you never really connect with any of them other than Thorin. I hope they expand more on the dwarves but I do look forward to seeing them all change throughout the next two movies.
Let us not forget about the music, as it plays a huge role in all of these movies. Some similar music is used, but to great effect, as it bring back memories of the other movies. This feeling helps you dive into the movie and feel like youre back at home in the shire. All the music is spot on and helps your emotion response to the different scenes. As I wrote this review I played some Lord of the Rings music in the background, specifically the music heard when we see the Shire.
This is one of those movies that you dont want to end. Even after the almost three hours you have been sitting there. Everything was done so well, just like the previous trilogy, the whole world and all of the lore felt so real that I was instantly drawn into the movie until the very end. You arent left with much of a cliffhanger, other than knowing there is still more to the journey. Although it may not be as great as LOTR trilogy, it still feels right at home in the series. I highly recommend seeing this movie whether you have seen the Lord of the Rings or not, as it is a treat that everyone should experience.
As an artist and someone who has a background in film as well as game production...This "Version" of the Hobbit only impressed in me in ONE area and failed in the rest. That one area is the visuals...matte paintings, cg creatures and flashbacks...ectThe rest however was not very good.First, ask yourself... do the 3 stooges belong in Tolkein's middle earth? How many of you actually recognized and identified what they did with the 3 trolls? They made them into the 3 stooges, intentionally, because they thought it would be "funny". In no universe should the hobbit, a book i loved dearly growing up, be nothing more than a means to create a slap stick comedy. That is essentially what the movies plot boiled down to.Not only did Peter Jackson take too much liberty with the narrative, adding characters and events which were not part of the Hobbit, but he did so in the worst possible way. It was an alienating experience to see non dwarfy looking dwarves as part of the main cast, when the flashback dwarves were actually designed consistently. Why does one dwarf look like a skinny mongolian guy? Why is another a comical ball of fat? Or another look like a skinny red neck? I can only think PJ wanted to make them so different from one another, he lost track of what it meant to be a dwarf in middle earth. Summing up the hobbit, I would call it a visually entertaining disappointment full of bloat and bad narrative arcs... and a partial slap in the face to fans. The target audience of this film was clearly not supposed to be those who have read the book.
@Shiftfallout I have three introductory questions: When was the last time you read The Hobbit? Have you ever read the appendix of Lord of the Rings? How does being an artist validate your criticism of canonical accuracy?
Perhaps you will humor me by answering these.
@almagester I'll start off responding by informing you that your egotistical and epeen based elitism seen in your closing comment has been noted... and thoroughly dismissed as internet dribble.Should I assume you are a small minded individual? Pointing out a background, such as in art, plays right into the fact my mini review/comment to this review appreciated...shock...the visuals. Were you unable to connect the dots? Clearly an intellectual person would have been able to tie the fact I bring that up as a means to validate my appreciation of the art side. Bringing up a film background also ties into my choice of critisms of the film itself, which aspects lead to immersion via emotional response and alienation, identification of what doesnt seem right. Now in my comment, did I say everyone must feel as I do? No.In short, you are confirming your bias by overlooking the entirety of my comments and making some absurd assumption that my artist role is tied directly to the criticism of inaccuracy within the novels being presented as cinema, which it is not. That belongs to the fact I consider myself a fan. You are more than welcome to debate that aspect, but if so, do it objectively without your silly little bias making connections where none existed.In answer to your question, I have read the Hobbit prior to seeing the film again, though it wasnt necessary. Yes there is whats known as tension and release within the narrative art of the hobbit. Some of this can be interpreted as "comedy", but that is subjective in its interpretation. It most certainly is not "slap stick comedy" in any way shape or form.The appendices of the Lord of the Rings is something you refer to, not read as a novel. If you choose to disagree with me, use a source and then make a logical argument why it belongs in The Hobbit movie, which is based off the novel. IF you cannot do that we have a problem.
@Shiftfallout Either you've completely lost your mind, or I'm being trolled really hard; possibly both. Either way, I'm done with this conversation. Peace.
@Shiftfallout On the contrary, I made no assumptions; I asked questions. You explicitly tied your prowess as an artist to your knowledge of Hobbit trivia with, "As an artist [. . .] the Hobbit only impressed in me in ONE area and failed in the rest." You rightfully praise the visuals, followed by a scathing criticism of what you identified as "the rest": The Hobbit's inaccuracy. So again, how does being , no doubt, an accomplished artist enhance your ability to criticize canonical accuracy?
Since you have not read the appendices, I suggest you do; they're a fantastic read that I hope you enjoy. (Yes, you do read them like a novel, or at least a compendium). Within them you will read the tale of The Battle of Azanulbizar and the events that follow. With careful consideration one should realize the importance of such histories to Bilbo's company, after-all, good motive is important to character development.
Now, for the facts: Yes, the trolls are indeed akin to the Three Stooges trope. Between their pragmatic villainy, comedic violence and confusion of words the troll scene (both book and movie) amounts to a great much ado about nothing interlaced with classic slap-stick. Here's a great line to show you what I mean, then I will move on.
"[Burt] put his fist in William's eye. Then there was a gorgeous row. Bilbo had just enough wits left, when Bert dropped him on the ground, to scramble out of the way of their feet, before they were fighting like dogs, and calling one another all sorts of perfectly true and applicable names in very loud voices. Soon they were locked in one another's arms, and rolling nearly into the fire kicking and thumping, while Tom whacked at them both with a branch to bring them to their senses - and that of course only made them madder than ever."
I'm not sure what you mean when you say two look like a "skinny mongolian" and a "skinny redneck". I've never met a mongolian. Are they traditionally fatter than our dwarves? Either way, a dwarf that remains homeless for many years is sure to lose weight and inherit flavors of style from the communities in which he finds work. Bombur, however, is certainly a ball of fat.
In summary, there are a number of inaccuracies (not mentioned by you) but they make no difference on the arc of the story. In fact, they often enhance the movie's ability to lead directly into the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (e.g. the belated rise of the necromancer).
@Shiftfallout Actually the narrative is mostly still Tolkien's writing; they just dove into his extended works that he wrote about later and incorporated it back into the movie. As far as I'm concerned I'm glad they made the decisions that they chose, because to be honest The Hobbit by itself was a fairly boring book that was merely about a shallow quest for greed. The additions of Radagast the Brown, the lost home of the dwarves, and other plot elements were welcome and made the story more interesting in my view. I was skeptical of Jackson's decision to make this into a trilogy, but having seen the first movie now, I can see the value in the added content.
@Derpalon The narrative is not actually ALL of tolkein's writing. While they use some of the same names for certain characters, they took liberties to make plenty of changes. For example, Azog is supposed to be dead before the events of the Hobbit and the quest to get the heart of the mountain. Any tie to Azog during the events of the Hobbit would be in the form of his son who also wants revenge.Thats a pretty big mess up. The inclusion of Radagast was also a bad idea. Not only did they portray him as more stupid comic relief (like most of the characters) but they use him and Azog as the means to push the Dwarves in a certain direction when thats clearly not the case. In the book, Gandalf specifically goes out of his way to make sure everyone avoids the necromancer, which in turn limits their pathway to Smaug. Now consider what Peter Jackson is doing. In the Lord of the Rings, he has frodo being chased by the Nasgul, in which the the character is driven by being chased, so he can be in certain areas at certain times. PJ is doing the same with the Hobbit, he is turning it into a "being chased" narrative instead. That is NOT how Tolkein wrote it. From what I hear, the original footage of Azog being dragged off in a fit of rage was actually that of his son, but they switched it over to a one armed Azog as a means to bloat the story more....and make no mistake..the story is insanely bloated and often innacurate in how the events took place. Far too much comedy involved (goblin king? 3 stooges as trolls? )
@Shiftfallout I agree with a lot of that, but I'm hoping the next movies will add a lot more background to the characters and take on a bit more serious tone. The best scene in the movie was with Gollum because you actually felt for him and the few funny things weren't so much slapstick like the rest of the movie. It's still a good movie but could have done without some things.
I saw it in 3d/48 fps, and it was an interesting experience with pro's and cons compared to the normal 24fps. Slow-motion action scenes were absolutely incredible, and the increased frame rate really added to 3d experience. On the downside, green-screen background textures stick out like a sore thumb, particularly when the characters are outside (most notable when they arrive in Rivendale). All in all, it was a unique experience that isn't necessarily better or worse then the 24 fps version. As for the film, it was great.
I too plan on watching it first in 2d, 24fps like I've watched every other movie in my life. I will likely try the 48 fps sometime but I don't want to potentially ruin my first watch.
Higher fps just makes the action too smooth to me, it makes it look too realistic. We watch movies for a cinematic experience, not something that looks like a documentary. If you watch a homemade video as opposed to a cinematic movie, you will immediately notice the difference in the smoothness of the motion.
@Falru big time lotr fan, and i watched it in 3d hfr imax for the first showing. i loved it. the 48 fps was a shock because it was so different, but i loved it. i respect jackson (despite some concerns with the original trilogy) and wanted to see what he did, what he intended viewers to see. i m going to see it in 2d 24 fps, although i dont know what to expect... i was so impressed with the new format. i know that when the sequels come out it will be 3d imax hfr again.
I have watched it in 3D48fps. Great movie. Just didn't knew it was going to be a trilogy like the Rings. Don't know how Jackson's gonna stretch 300+ pages into three movies, seeing as all the Rings books were bigger than the one Hobbit book. Either way, I will be seeing the movies so...
@DiamondDM13 There is a ton of stuff in the Hobbit that's just kind of indicated rather than actually written. Such as Gandalf's departure and return, the appendices give information about where he goes and what he does but the actual book never really explains that. Jackson says he plans to take much content from the appendices to flesh out the movies, and the third movie will act as a sort of bridge between the Hobbit trilogy and the LotR trilogy.
The best we can do is watch the movies and decide for ourselves whether we like them or not!
@Falru Well it is linked with the LOTRs. At the start when he's writing the book and Frodo goes to see Gandalf, that's the start of the Fellowship of the Ring...
I haven't seen it yet, but I reread The Hobbit last year in anticipation. I think puffing up the action and characters for a film adaptation is almost a necessity. In the novel, neither Bilbo nor any of the 13 dwarves really do anything heroic until the end. Up until then they are mostly either running away from danger or getting themselves trapped. I don't think most of them even had weapons. But in these trailers they're all hacking and slashing like epic superheroes. But I'm happy to treat the movie version as it's own thing, and appreciate the novel for what it is.
@Exquisite they did mostly running in the movie too. There were just a few extra scenes of combat in the film to tie in the altered plot line with Azog and the fight scene with the trolls which didnt happen in the book either.
I liked the movie. Didn't like the 3d 48 frames version too much, at least at first. Takes getting used to
@Poodger I think it was better since cgi tech has gotten better since the other trilogy released. The wargs actually looked like wolves in this one (as opposed to sock puppets) and the orcs/goblins actually looked 'orcy' not like nuclear apocalypse mutants like in the trilogy films. (Only a few orcs in LotR actually looked like orcs to me maybe its becuz of alot of them being uruk hai)Only thing that was kinda weird to me was the orcish in the movie sounded like native american language not orcish. The orcs hunting them looked and sounded almost like Comanches.
One thing I cant work out, the first movie of what is now a trilogy is 3 hours long. You can read the entire book in 3 hours. How is Jackson doing it? To borrow a Tolkien phrase, too little butter spread over too much bread?
@6orange6 well unlike the LoTR where he left out a lot of stuff, the hobbit actually has a lot of scenes that probably can be stretched into multiple movies.The Hobbit still has to do Beorn, the lost in Mirkwood with the spiders scene, The Silvan Elf King's dungeon (Legolas' father which is how they are gonna add Legolas to the movie he wasnt in the book) and floating down the river in the barrels, finding the entrance to the mountain, all the riddle scenes with Smaug, Smaug attacking Dale and being killed and then the Battle of Five Armies.
@6orange6 The pacing is phenomenal. Even without the added stuff they did, I feel that the movie would have felt incredibly rushed if jammed into one movie. The added stuff justifies a trilogy though.
Movie was excellent! I loved it! If you can't find something in the movie that wasn't in the book try searching the book "Unfinished Tales" by JRR Tolkien that is said to be used as well by Peter Jackson to enrich the movie.
I'm still baffled as to how Gandalf managed to pop out of the nether to save the dwarfs, but then had to fight his way out while fighting hundreds of goblins, I still don't get it. The other part that had me scratching my head was the whole stone giant fight, I'm still scratching my head wondering if it really happened. Overall, I found the movie to be fun, even tho some parts made no sense to me. Go see it!
@ahpuck the scene didnt play out like it did in the book. In the book the goblin city was a maze of tunnels and was very dark. It wasnt a bunch of wooden platforms. Gandalf was with them in the cave but didnt get sucked into the crack in the wall Bilbo screamed and woke him up and the goblins closed the crack behind them. In the book they jumped out of the crack and grabbed the dwarves, in the movie they fell thru the crack like a trap door.Later all of the goblins crowded up around a big fire to view the dwarves, Gandalf snuck in thru the tunnels and used magic to turn out the lights. He then stabbed the king and they made a break in the ensuing chaos. Bilbo basically described the scene in the darkness as seeing the glowing blue blade run thru the Goblin King. Also, in the books the goblins were terrified of the elvish swords so lots of them ran etc when they saw it. They kinda portraited that in the movie when the goblin king knew the names of the blades.I dont even remember the giants being in the book but i havent read it in a long time.Alot of stuff in the movie wasnt in the book they strayed a lot farther from the book in this movie. In the trilogy they left out a lot of stuff in the books, it the hobbit it seems they're adding lot of stuff.
@ahpuck Ah, you MUST read the book! It's too wonderful for words. In the book, the dwarves are just as baffled as you are about Gandalf showing up so suddenly; Gandalf, of course, has a good explanation.
@ahpuck The giant scene was awesome! But yeah Gandalf is good at showing up at the perfect time, but he is a wizard! I need to read the books...
humm not a bad movie...but a lot of great parts from the book just become boring or without soul in the movie...well...again...not a bad movie...
Two quick things, since the reviewer said he did not read the "books". 1) The Hobbit was only one, rather short, book. So, they have substantially padded the movie. Page one of the book doesn't start until about 30 minutes into the movie. Before that there is a lot of history as to why the movie is taking place. However, this is done well, even though I like how it was presented in the book better. 2) A completely new sub-plot between Thorin Oakenshield and an Orc named Azog is created for the movie. It is not part of the book at all. There were a few other differences that are minor (Gandalf having a conference with Elrod, Saruman and Galadriel never happened in the book, and Gandalf left Rivendell with the dwarves in the book), but they are minor. Overall, the movie was quite enjoyable, and the creative differences do not detract from the original story.
@wilson336 Thanks for that info, interesting that they added the Orc but it did work well in the movie. I will have to read the book, I'm just not a big reader. =P
@LightEffect @wilson336 The tale of Azog can be read in Apendix A of Return of the King. In the written tale, Azog is killed in Moria (though not by Thorin's hand). It is Azog's offspring, Bolg, who chases the company to Erebor and who [SPOILER][SPOILER][SPOILER]slays Thorin at the Battle of Five Armies.[/SPOILER][/SPOILER[/SPOILER].
I suspect that they made the character change for two reasons: "Azog" is a cooler sounding name than "Bolg" and it creates a smoother, easier to follow narrative having the badguy seek personal vengeance as opposed to familial vengeance.
Another interesting (though not terribly vital) detail is that the Necromancer's rise to power happens before the events of The Hobbit. It is in the Necromancer's dungeons that Gandalf finds Thorin's father and is given the key and map.
@almagester @LightEffect Ahhh yes, i had forgotten about the "Necormancer"/Sauron rising to power in Mirkwood before the Hobbit started and Gandalf getting the key and map from there while exploring who the Necromancer is....I must have been too distracted by the sight of Radagast as a nutjob with bird-droppings in his hair....
I guess I'll have to wait some time until this movies will be shown in my country...I so want to see this movie...my precious...interesting review btw :)
Dude, this would be awesome to post in the League of Reviewers. You covered all the basis: you spoke about the plot, the visuals, the characters, music. Dude you're good at making reviews :) It would be cool if you started making movie video reviews... but I'm sure youtube would find a way to take it down since the movie industry is kinda anal about posting movies online. :(
@pspitus Hey thanks! I will definitely try doing video reviews of games but yeah, video reviews of movies would be harder =/
Personally, I thought the HFR made the 3D experience far more tolerable, but I'm keen to see it at 24 fps as well for comparison - the former was quite unforgiving in many ways.
@pokecharm That's what I have heard but I still want to see it to have my own experience, but I will probably just have the same feelings about it.