Alrighty then here we are! This is the big one! I like many other people around the world have been waiting for this film for the majority of the year. Out of the big three films of 2012 (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and this one), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I think would have been the most anticipated. There’s been so much hype, it’s been building up continuously for months, with all the video blogs, images, trailers and TV spots. It’s been absurd! And it’s all led to this moment in time… So was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey worth the wait? Well read on to find out!
The film is set sixty years before The Lord of the Rings and the story is about the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who is hired by the wizard Gandalf to accompany thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield on a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. The story of this film was interesting and was definitely a tale worth telling, however it does take a while for the story to get going and initially things do move at a slow pace. Though once the plot finds its feet and picks up the pace it never stops, and then it becomes the kind of film you were waiting to see. It was great to see of the dwarf back story, get Bilbo’s adventure, the introduction of Gollum and see key events that tied into LOTR. And speaking of LOTR, the story of An Unexpected Journey wasn’t nearly as engaging or as impactful as the previous trilogy, but again it was a tale worth telling and I enjoyed it very much.
The characters of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was one of the strongest elements of the film and we’re going to start with Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. Freeman played the role very well embodying all of Ian Holm’s mannerisms while introducing new elements of Bilbo’s personality too. I liked the journey that he went on as a character and to see him grow and change into a much more capable adventurer. Now to move onto my man of the hour Gandalf the Grey played by Sir Ian McKellen. McKellen was just as amazing as ever as Gandalf, his dialogue was great and his interaction with the dwarves was cool, and I liked how he happened to take on this mentor role for Bilbo. Also Gandalf had some proper badass scenes and when he was throwing down in the heat of battle he was SO. DAMN. COOL! And then there was Thorin Oakenshield, the living definition of badass played by Richard Armitage. Thorin had a great back story and the way he acted on and off of the battlefield was nothing short of awesome. Armitage was great and also liked how initially he was cold toward Bilbo and how their relationship would grow over the course of the film. As for the other dwarves they were all wonderful, strange and funny individuals who had a great deal of personality and charm and while they don’t quite compare to the fellowship in Fellowship of the Ring, they were still pretty cool.
And then there’s the character that’s been causing talked about a lot in this film Radagast the Brown played by Sylvester McCoy. His character in the film is pretty weird and while he seemed relevant to the plot, when he was on-screen he was just weird and sometimes annoying. Now some people have compared him to Jar Jar Binks of the first Star Wars prequel and whether you’ll feel the same about him you have to decide for yourselves, as for me I just thought he was a bit strange. It was also great and nostalgic to see all of the characters from LOTR making appearances here with Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood reprising their roles as Galadriel, Elrond, Saruman the White, old Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins. And lastly but by no means least we have Andy Serkis as Gollum. When he came on-screen I was so giddy, Serkis feels like he never left the role and delivered some of Gollum’s best scenes yet, and his interaction with Bilbo with the riddles in the cave was perfect and very funny. I also feel like Gollum was a little more humanized in this film, but still just as strange, aggressive and fucked in the head as he was before and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When it comes to the presentation this film, Weta Digital already set the standard for CGI and special effects in The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, but now in this film they somehow seem to have outdone themselves. Never have I seen such sharp, crisp and beautiful CGI in any film for a long time, this easily rivals anything that Industrial Light & Magic have put out in recent years. It also has to be mentioned that the CGI tech used on Gollum looks so incredible and realistic that you could assume he was really there in the scenes which he was involved in. Also the cinematography and overall look of the film was grand and picture-perfect. All of those amazing camera shots and sweeping camera movements that were made famous in LOTR is back and looks better than ever, along with the vivid colours and gorgeous locations Middle-earth never looked so good. And there’s the soundtrack by Howard Shore, it was lovely, I was worried that the soundtrack wouldn’t hold a candle to the previous film but luckily it was really good. While nowhere near as memorable as LOTR it does have its own themes that stick out and kick ass, the dwarf songs are very lively and catchy and I especially like “Misty Mountains” which I think is used as the main theme through the film in instrumental which was incredible! Shore takes several themes from LOTR and inserts them into this film and they work wonderfully.
In conclusion The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was totally badass, though not without its faults. After a night to think about it I do believe that I enjoyed The Avengers and The Perks of Being A Wallflower much more than this film (those two films being my number 1 and 2 favourite films of 2012), however do not be disheartened by the reviewers giving this film a low rating. This film was a lot of fun and returning to Middle-earth after nine years really did bring back some nostalgia! The story was interesting, the performances from the actors involved were strong and the presentation in both the visual and audio department were superb. An Unexpected Journey was just pure and simple fun and I can’t wait to see what happens when The Desolation of Smaug comes out next year. BRING IT ON! 😀
Well there’s my thoughts on The Hobbit Part 1, what did you think of the film? Drop me your comments below! Anyways I’ll see you lot on the next review.