Rated PG-13 for extended
sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.
Directed by Peter
Produced by Peter
Jackson, Fran Walsh, Carolynne Cunningham, and Zane Weiner
Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and
Guillermo del Toro
Based on The Hobbit by
J. R. R. Tolkien
Starring Ian McKellen,
Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and Benedict
Music by Howard Shore
Editing by Jabez Olssen
New Line Cinema
Distributed by Warner
Release date(s) 12 December 2012
(An Unexpected Journey)
Country New Zealand
I hate The Hobbit.
Let me back up and please, put down the pitchforks and torches.
What I mean to say is, I hate The Hobbit novel. It's
nothing that J.R.R. Tolkein did, after all, he did create the
fantastic world of Middle Earth that millions of nerds pledge their
virginity to every generation, so he must have been doing
something right. His style just doesn't mesh with my way of
thinking. To me, a story needs to hook you from the beginning.
To him, a story needs to start with eight chapters of food.
Again, I don't blame him. It's probably just my ADD or perhaps it's
that squirrel out the window. Man, I love video games.
Kittens are funny. Whatever happened to that kid who played
What I'm trying and failing miserably to say is that my exposure to
this book is limited only to what I have seen in the animated version
of the film (which I actually liked, so don't give me any shit over
it). I know that shouldn't color my view of the movie, I'm just
telling you where I'm coming from. I'm kind of a Tolkien noob
so, if I say anything that makes you think I'm an idiot about this
story... you're sort of right. So shut up about it.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the
prequel to the fantastic Lord of the Rings trilogy. In
it, we learn of Frodo's uncle, Bilbo and how, upon taking an
"unexpected journey" with Gandalf and a bunch of dwarves intent on
taking their mountain home back from a colossal fire-breathing dragon,
he comes into possession of the Ring of Power which, as you might
remember, is the driving force of the original trilogy.
So, here we go... This movie is dull.
Let me start over.
This movie starts dull and gets better, but it's still dull for a good
45 minutes. Sure, Peter Jackson had the good sense to throw in
some flashbacks with gigantic war scenes and dragon attacks, but those
only serve as a temporary reprieve from the plodding and apparently
necessary slowness of the opening act. To be honest, I wasn't
really even interested in this movie, the dwarf's quest, or any of it
until the Trolls steal the horses and that's almost an hour into this
Once stuff actually starts happening, An Unexpected Journey
is a damn diverting piece of entertainment. It made me feel
nostalgic for the original trilogy, the action scenes are cleverly
staged, and it makes me want to see the next movie next year.
pacing problems are related to splitting the book up into three
movies, I'm sure. Annoying, yes, but it is what it is.
It's the Hollywood beast nowadays. Just thank your lucky stars
more movies aren't doing it. Bad enough that I have two goddamn
Twilight movies to sit through before I'm done with that
stain for good, imagine if The Smurfs had a Book One and Book
Two or Eddie Murphy released 500 Words and then 500 More
Words the following Summer. What if Atlas Shrugged had...
Wait... Oh, goddammit.
Forgetting the regrettable pacing problems of the movie (which really
aren't a problem once the movie wakes up and actually does something),
The Hobbit is spectacular, grand, and a lot of fun.
Seeing Gandalf again in all his gray glory is a real treat and the
dwarf characters are a lot of fun even if I still don't know which is
which. Surely the following movies will flesh them out.
Hey, it's got Gollum too! I missed this little bastard so much
and I'm actually kind of sad that this will likely be his last
appearance in the film series (unless Peter Jackson shoves him in
somewhere like he did with Frodo - which wasn't that bad, mind you).
In An Unexpected Journey, Gollum seems even more alive than
he did before. There's more dimension to him, more weight...
He's more alive and real. Whatever tweaking they did, it worked
great. The scene with Gollum is wonderful as well. Not
only nostalgic for stories long over, but also essential to the
plot... it doesn't feel like it was just thrown in for fan service.
I should also point out that I did see this movie in 42 frames a
second 3D even though I hate 3D and, since everyone else is bitching
about it, I thought I would throw my balls into the ring even though
you didn't ask.
I thought it was pretty neat.
Granted, it's new technology still in its infancy and there appear to
be some bugs to work out namely that the action is a little too smooth
and I believe that our eyes are accustomed to some blur even in real
environments, but the action and landscapes are so crisp and alive
that, for once, I feel like the 3D was an actual augmentation and not
a gimmick. The 42 frames a second work best in wide epic shots
while, in close ups, it does make a strange effect where everything
appears to be moving a little too fast, but overall I think that there
is hope for this technology. I really don't see how it made
things look "fake" or "cheap," I simply believe that the added realism
of the technique has thrown some people for a loop. With some
refinements, it will be much better. It was so great to see the
grand action scenes in the goblin stronghold without everything
blurring when the camera swooped through.
I liked The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but I will
acknowledge that it's the weakest of the Rings movies that have been
released. The movie's drawn out and plodding nature coupled with its
dull starting execution is definitely a strike against it, but if you
can hang on long enough, the movie will take you on your own
unexpected journey and you'll love every moment of it... at least
every moment after the trolls show up.