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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


Date Posted: 2012-12-18
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

As a Tolkien fan I was both excited and nervous about a Hobbit adaptation. While I am a huge fan of all of Tolkien’s books, I do not dislike the LOTR movie trilogy and they only served to make me love Middle-Earth all the more. I find that some of the changes Sir Peter and Co. have made to the Trilogy and the Hobbit actually enhance the story for the screen. So when I say I was nervous, it was not due to being a “purist,” who believes Bombadil should have been in the LOTR (sorry, but that would have been dreadful!), but due to a fear of whether or not they would achieve a balanced tone between a Hobbit film(s) and the Trilogy. My fear was that they would be, on the one hand, too faithful to the childish tone of the book (which Tolkien himself regretted, and thought highly of intelligent children who called him out on it), which I don’t mind in the book as I see it as Bilbo’s tall tale version that he would tell to Hobbit children. And on the other hand, I was afraid that they would lose the more innocent tone all together and drain the story of its charm if they went too dark and serious.
I am glad to say that Sir Peter and Co. have, so far, achieved that oh so delicate balance in An Unexpected Journey.
The way they weaved the extra material from the Appendices and Unfinished Tales into the simple story of thirteen dwarves seeking to reclaim their stolen gold with the unlikely aid of a simple, and somewhat silly, Hobbit was beautiful (and I can‘t wait to see more of it). I was there with the dwarves as they lost their home to the fire of Smaug, and felt the cold stab of betrayal as Thranduil his back on them. I was just as much there with poor Bilbo as his nice, quiet evening meal was disrupted by those uncouth dwarves who ate him out of house and home and nearly broke his mothers good dishes!
While I loved the film, I do have some nits to pick - such as the Azog battle at the trees (I’m ok with him being alive but the execution seemed a bit forced), and Bilbo being too heroic this early (I‘d say Sting has deeds enough already for its naming), not to mention Thorin hugging Bilbo! Wat?. But those are such small things when compared to such delights as the amazing, and somewhat sad, return of Gollum (48fps is worth it just to see Gollum that realistic), the disgustingly awesome trolls, the fantastically goofy and loveable Radagast, and the creepy goodness of Goblin Town.
From Erabor, to Hobbiton, to the awakening of ancient evil in Dol Guldur, to Goblin Town and riddles in the dark, to the burning trees, back to the Lonely Mountain and the awakening of yet another great evil, I was there in Tolkien‘s Middle-Earth once more. And I have two more trips before me. The road goes ever on indeed!

The Ratings
The Other Ratings
Martin Freeman 's performance as Bilbo Baggins?
Richard Armitage 's performance as Thorin?
The Overall representation of The Dwarves ?
Andy Serkis' performance as Gollum?
Ian McKellen's performance as Gandalf?
Bilbo's retelling of the history of Erebor and of Thror/Thrain/Thorin
The Eagles rescue sequence?
The Goblin King ?
Initial impression of Thranduil?
Hugo Weaving's performance as Elrond?
Radagast's portrayal in the movie?
The representation of Goblintown?
Cate Blanchett's performance as Galadriel?
The Bag End Supper scene?
The scene of the Trolls?
The representation of the Arkenstone?
The Stone Giants?
Escape from the Goblin cave?
Riddles in the Dark scene?
The return to Rivendell?
The attack on the party by the Wargs
The first glimpses of Smaug?
The ending of the movie; in regards to leading well into the next film, and serving as a good ending point.
The overall pace of the film
Peter Jackson's vision in bringing the Hobbit to the big screen.

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