Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Posted: December 26, 2012 in Drama
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the hobbit

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) has a great life, he’s got a nice house, given to him by his Hobbit ancestors, lots of food, and the beautiful surroundings of the Shire.  One day, Bilbo is visited by Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) who wants him to go on an adventure.  Many years before Gandalf visited Bilbo, Thror, the king of the elves, started hording gold, in his castle on top of Mount Lonely A gold loving dragon named the Smaug chases the dwarves off Mount Lonely  and stays in the castle, surrounded by heaps of gold  Gandalf wants Bilbo to help him retrieve the gold.  Bilbo flatly refuses, so Gandalf invites 13 dwarves, including their leader, Thorin (Richard Armitage) to eat Bilbo out of house and home.  Bilbo is still adamant about staying put in the Shire.  Bilbo finally relents, when he realizes the elves are going without him.

Gandalf shows Bilbo a map of Mount Lonely, but the dwarves can’t read it, because it’s in Elvish, so Gandalf takes them to Rivendell, where Elrond (Hugo Weaving) reads the map and tells the dwarves of a secret passage to Mount Lonely. Bilbo and the dwarves decide to take the secret passage, but don’t know that the goblins are lying in wait.  The elves  and Bilbo get separated and Bilbo falls into a cave with Gollum,(Andy Serkis) a creature driven mad by the ring he possesses, and the power it gives him.  Bilbo takes the ring, and sees that it gives him the power of invisibility.  Bilbo has a chance to kill Gollum, but pities him, and sneaks out of Gollum’s cave unseen.  Thorin can‘t believe his eyes, but near Mount Lonely, he sees Azog (Manu Bennett) who killed Thorin’s father, and who Thorin thought was long dead.  The two battle, but who is victorious?  Does Bilbo survive his first adventure?

Despite all the hype, I did not like this movie.  I blame Peter Jackson, who wrote and directed this movie.  Jackson takes a relatively simple story about battling a dragon, and recovering gold, and turns it into a bloated, special effects laden three hour monstrosity.   This movie is one long battle scene after another, and when there are no battle scenes, there are overwhelming special effects, like the scene where two mountains fight each other.  It’s like after the success of the LOTR series, Peter Jackson felt pressured to make this movie into a three hour epic.  The difference between LOTR and The Hobbitt is that the  LOTR had plenty of material, the Hobbit is relatively short.  I don’t know about casting Martin Freeman in the lead role.   He’s great in Sherlock, but that is in a supporting role, and this movie seems more action oriented movie, that is maybe too physically demanding for Freeman.  Richard Armitage won’t make anyone forget Viggo Motensen.  All the good performances come from past cast members  of LOTR.

The Hobbit. Not Hobbit forming.

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