Since Peter Jackson brought the Lord of the Rings trilogy to life on the big screen, I have been eagerly awaiting someone to tackle The Hobbit. I was always very curious as to how it would be done, given that The Lord of the Rings has a much darker tone and The Hobbit is more in line with a children’s tale. A few years back, Peter Jackson announced that he would be bringing The Hobbit to the big screen as a trilogy as well. This had me wonder even more, as The Hobbit is fairly short book (compared to the LOTR). Having now seen what Jackson did as well as what he has in store, I couldn’t be happier.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a wonderful, beautiful, and poetic assault on the eyes and the ears. The scenery is absolutely stunning, and seeing it in the high frame rate (HFR) format is like going to the movies for the first time. I was worried that the sets and costumes would look fake, but it is very obvious that Mr. Jackson and crew took my worries into consideration. Everything about this film looks real.
While I like the literary versions by Tolkien, I am not by any stretch of the imagination a huge Tolkien fan.
For those of you that are, you are in for one great treat. Jackson took the time to add much that was not in the book version of The Hobbit. He did this by using the back stories that Tolkien created in his other Middle Earth literature. Tolkien was much vested in his characters, and showed this by creating intricate histories for the fiction world he created. Some of these are chronicled in the massive Appendixes for LOTR, as well as in other books, such as The Silmarillion. By doing this, Jackson is able to really flesh out a great story.
The acting in The Hobbit is great. I was a little worried that the dwarves would end up being too comical. All the actors played them perfectly. I also really loved seeing some old faces, as Jackson was able to tie the two trilogies together in a very natural way.
My only real complaint about the movie, and yes, I am nitpicking, is the music. While the original new music is amazing, a lot of the songs from the LOTR are recycled. For example, when Bilbo discovers the ring of power, Jackson uses the same music associated with the ring from LOTR. Other viewers may like that, but I thought it was treating us as dummies. It does not distract from the overall presentation though.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the best movie I have seen this year. For three solid hours, I was transported away into a world filled with orcas, goblins, trolls, elves, and dwarves. This is one of the few movies I have seen that I wanted to see again as soon as the credits rolled. I cannot wait till next year for the next installment.