Secret Agent Lime
Date Posted: 2012-12-18
Tolkien Fan Level: 5
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
(Naturally, film spoilers ahead.)
I went into The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with the highest of expectations. Leading up to the day I saw it, I had thought about it every single day, and I'm pretty sure I was on the brink of annoying my family with my persistent reminders of Hobbit Day. I found myself wondering unceasingly, "How is Jackson's version going to Then I finally saw it. And my jaw dropped to the floor of the theater when I observed, in the Erebor flashback, a shot of Dale and the doors of the Mountain that had been exactly ripped, down to the details of the door, from my imagination. The film only got better from there. Martin Freeman established himself early on as a fussbudget eternal, maintaining a demeanor of being ready to throw his hands up at the things presented to him. I thought his characterization was very well handled, and complimented Sir Ian McKellen's Gandalf, who has not lost a single step since the days of the Fellowship. The dwarves finally arrived, and my excitement grew. Each personality shining against the other, like actual individuals with costumes and manners that had finally been separated from a certain earlier interpretation which depicted them as rejected Disney dwarf clones. My only complaint would be that I cannot for the life of me recall Bombur being given any lines distinct from the others, but it is only a minor gripe, as I remember him having more to say later on in the story. The standout dwarf is Thorin, easily. Richard Armitage paints a character that is hard to like at first, stubborn and racist and harboring deep wounds. The film progresses and so does his character, and he more than shows the quality that lies within. Radagast the Brown was another wonderful surprise. I did not know if I was going to like him when he first appeared, but the more he stayed, the more I found I was enjoying his presence. His fumbling manner works to highlight that wizards are people too (except that they are not). Gollum, Elrond, and Galadriel, like Gandalf, have not missed a beat in their return to Middle-Earth. Even Saruman continues his snide remarks with that deep English swagger that only Sir Christopher Lee can muster. Azog the Defiler was all right as a character. Like Radagast, I initially thought I was not going to like him (this time, though, on the grounds that he was CG and not like the spectacular Uruk-Hai) but in the end, I found myself accepting his place in the world. A bigger breakout surprise than the brown wizard and the white Orc was the Chief Goblin; part Boomer from Left 4 Dead and part Broadway star, I found myself really enjoying his performance and the attention to detail put into making him seem more real than his goblin counterparts. Everything about this movie was about attention to details. From the minute stitches on the costumes to setting up all the plot points for future episodes to the place settings on an Elvish banquet hall and the things scattered about in Gollum's lair. Then there's the Wargs and their more Nordic design, the manners in which the different races of folk move, the addition of the Orc language... the list goes on and on. Everything culminated in the last five minutes of the film. Without looking at a time-telling device, I could tell this portion of the adventure was finally coming to a close. I sadly assessed the situation and all I could come up with mentally was, "Don't stop... keep going... I could watch this all the way through... please..." That is when I knew that this had been completely worth all the time waiting for it. And if this is any indication of the quality of the films to come, then this is surely an adventure I will sign a contract to join.
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