The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

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When watching The Hobbit last night, I was just thinking how it felt right that it was another holiday season and I was watching events unfold in Middle Earth.  I loved hearing some of the musical themes, seeing old friends like Gandalf and just going on another adventure with this group of people.  While I might have had some small issues with the film, I think it is still a good addition to the Lord of the Rings mythos.

The movie starts with the telling of the dwarfs’ history with the evil dragon Smaug.  The dragon covets the gold in their kingdom and the dwarves are unable to stop him from taking over their mountain and expelling them.  Many years later, Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and the grandson of the king, Thorin (Richard Armitage), plan to take back the land with a small posse of dwarves and a burglar.

The burglar just happens to not be a burglar at all, but simple pleasured Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman).  Bilbo is not aware of these plans, and is quickly thrown into the events when 12 dwarves come to feast at his Hobbit hole.  While I have read that many people found these scenes long and tedious I enjoyed the happier moments of the movie before the action kicks in.  It was nice just to see joy that was mostly lacking in the more serious minded Lord of the Rings films.

"And I declare burping to be the new Dwarven language!" "HURRAH"

"And I declare burping to be the new Dwarven language!" "HURRAH"

Soon afterward, the group’s journey starts, and while they're making their way to the Lonely Mountain they encounter trolls, goblins, treacherous mountains and a very important meeting in the dark with Gollum and a certain ring.   At the same time, Gandalf has more pressing thoughts on his mind about what a fellow wizard told him about a powerful necromancer growing powerful in the

Like I stated earlier, I did have a few problems with the film and the biggest being the overuse of CG.  In the original trilogy, most of the baddies were humans in heavy makeup/prosthetics and that gave them a gravity and sense of presence that is lacking with all of the CG characters in this film.  The worst use of this was the Goblin King, who was an ugly creation straight out of the computer.  I know that they are supposed to be gross and scary but for some reason, they decided to give him testicle-looking growth coming out of his chin that was VERY distracting.

I also found the movie becaming too frantic and distracting at some parts.  Once the movie started going it never slowed down, and there were so many characters growling, snarling, jumping, shrieking, running, falling and in a perpetual sense of motion that it becomes too much.  When the movie slows down like the riddles in the dark scene with Gollum and Bilbo, my head was happy that it was getting a chance to relax for a moment.  The movie is long and a bit stretched out but as a fan of the extended editions of the original trilogy, it did not bother me much but casual fans of the series might see their patience tested a few times.

"I hope no one was around to hear that fart. It was a real Gandalf Butt Gobbler."

"I hope no one was around to hear that fart. It was a real Gandalf Butt Gobbler... I also hope no one knows I call my farts 'Gandalf Butt Gobblers'. I probably should stop talking out loud."

While I might have had issues, the positives far outweigh them.  I loved some of the extra back-story that Jackson and his group added to the movie.  While it is spoken of briefly in some of the material’s JRR Tolkien wrote, the scene with Thorin fighting in the mines of Moria was a classic battle scene that helped flesh out his character and made him a bit less of an ass as he was in the book. I also enjoyed the scene of Gladriel, Elrond, Gandalf and Saurman discussing about the “dark presence” as a good scene that foreshadows upcoming events.  Was it a shoehorned scene put in for fan service?  Possibly, but this fan still enjoyed it.

Finally, the three main actors were wonderful in their performances.  Ian McKellan falls easily back into his role as Gandalf and since this is before he is turned into “Gandalf the White” there is a much more playful version of the character that had not been seen much before.  There are certain characters that I can’t imagine anyone else in the role and McKellan and Gandalf are one of those.  Martin Freeman as Bilbo was another inspired casting.  Freeman has a lot of to balance in this role and he has to be smart, afraid, brave overwhelmed, and terrified at different parts.  Freeman never becomes a wet blanket that the character could have and when he rises to the occasion, it is easy to believe.  Finally, Armitage has the toughest role to take Thorin who could easily become a surly asshole, and made him a hero to root for.


"We're leaving behind a valley of Gandalf Butt Gobblers! RUN!"

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a really good movie that's fun for fans of the series.  While it might not reach the magnitudes of the original trilogy, very few blockbuster films have reached that almost unobtainable height. Simply put, if you like Lord of the Rings films you will like The Hobbit, if you were never were a huge fan of the series, noting in this film will change your mind.  I was glad to visit the world, and I will be back again next year for the next chapter.

NOTE: I saw the movie in glorious 2-D and on 35MM at 24FPS, I can not remark on how the high frame rate looks.

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Posted by Ryan

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Oh good I can watch this. I usually (I think you liked TDKR so there are exceptions) side with you on movies. Notably I’ll read this after I watch the movie first.

    • Hey Nova, glad we agree on most films. I am curious what your thoughts will be on The Hobbit. I think if you liked LotR you will find much to enjoy with this film.

  2. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I WAS a fan of LotR, I did like the gentler scenes and I can certainly see their appeal but this movie took far too long to establish a direct conflict (I think it took an hour or so to mention our main antagonist, the pale ale orc dude, and then another half an hour for his baddies to catch up to the gang.) The part of me that liked the books loved a lot of the fan service but the part of me that cared about good story telling hated all the world walking they did with little regard for pacing or conflict development. I sure there are people who will be happy they’ve cut this movie up into three parts but with no intersting antagonist in sight I’m afraid I’m just not one of those persons.

    Also I have to agree with you on the CG bit (though it wasn’t my biggest gripe with the movie) but the Goblin King was actually the only character I thought put any real color into the movie. I even thought his death was pretty enjoyable. Also while I did hate the sudden violent mele I legitimately hated the riddle part. With like every fiber of my body. I just think it’s insulting to take a fantastic colorful medium that can move and breathe and talk and fill it with “what stand on two legs in the evening and breathes white in the day?” ” oh I’m not sure give me a moment to mutter to myself and think.” Utterly useless.

  3. I appologize for the spelling and grammar mistakes but I’m writing this from my phone. Thanks for the review, by the way!

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