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Thorin Oakenshield

Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


Date Posted: 2012-12-19
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 3D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

I remember being very excited when I heard that Peter Jackson will be directing The Hobbit and including stuff from the LOTR appendices to the film(s). And then, Jackson's production videos: they made me even more excited. Last december we got to see the first trailer. And what a feeling that left; Gandalf in Dol Guldur, though later moved to the second movie, I guess, Galadriel and the epic theme... And Gollum. And Bilbo, played by Martin Freeman, and Ian Holm's older Bilbo in the beginning....

Perhaps needless to say that "Misty Mountains" song was playing in my head ever since.

And last summer it came clear that there will be THREE movies. It's hard to describe how great it felt, as it seems that we'll be getting lots of material about the various events from the time during The Hobbit novel. I was especially thrilled with the White Council & Necromancer plot, not to mention the fact that Radagast will be in these movies!

And then, it was finally the time. The journey began.

As a movie... The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is not spectacle like I think The Fellowship of the Ring was. The Fellowship of the Ring was, and is, beautiful mixture of elements that pleased the "mainstream audience" and tinges for the Tolkien geeks. The Hobbit goes much deeper in to the books, though it has some added Hollywood-action. Some viewers who're not familiar with the mythology might get the idea that it's just recycling visual things from LOTR and extending the original "The Hobbit" too much, to the point of torpor. Not ALL "non-tolkienist-vieweres", not nearly, but some. Anyway, The Hobbit is not as tight (well, let's say tight for almost three-hours-long movie) mix of emotion-action-characters-epicness as Lord of the Rings was. Of course we've only seen one movie now, but the fact is that there is not that much new elements, in terms of the movie making; The Hobbit is very Tolkien-fan-friendly movie that has different strenghts than LOTR.

LOTR makes you shiver every time you watch it, but The Hobbit makes you smile. And the smile is Tolkien-fan-smile. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey just has so much elements from the books that LOTR movies missed, for (mostly) understandable reasons though. Yes, I know I shouldn't compare these two trilogies, but I'm mainly comparing the way they've used the source material. Of course, that isn't completely fair either, since The Hobbit really gives much more space for screenplay and directing.

So the movie tells about the larger picture, about what's going on in Middle-Earth, without hurting the main story and it's mood, really deepens some characters and lines are sometimes even more clever, when it comes to referring Tolkien, than in Lord of the Rings.

I think I've said too much about how I love the way the whole thing is set up, so I think it's time to move on...

I really love how the movie proceeds: the prologue is very atmospheric and the slow beginning is filled with nice lines and some moments from the book that made me smile... Oh, and one does not simply avoid shivers during Misty Mountains song.

Martin Freeman is fantastic Bilbo, as you must have noticed! Thorin Oakenshield, played by Richard Armitage, is extremely strong character, full of anger, bitterness and sadness. Besides Thorin, some other dwarves manage to shine also: Balin (Ken Stott) and also Bofur (James Nesbitt) have their moments, especially Balin. From other new Middle-Earth walkers, I think that Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) is gret. Yes, he's... deliberately fun, in childis way, but works very well from the view of storytelling; it's clever to use him as a messenger about dark events in Green... I mean, Mirkwood.

From the returing cast, Ian Holm is as great as always, Cate Blanchett shines as Galadriel, more than ever, Hugo Weaving is a bit less-resentful Elrond than in LOTR and Sir Christopher Lee still has probably the most epic speaking-voice in the universe. I liked Saruman's comment about Radagast's and mushrooms; it links nicely to the line "Your love of the halflings' leaf has clearly slowed your mind" from The Fellowship of the Ring; and of course it shows how he despises Radagast, like he did in the books.

Sir Ian McKellen is even better as Gandalf as he was in Lord of the Rings (not that there's anything wrong with LOTR Gandalf). The character is great mixture of the grumpy but cheeky Gandalf from The Hobbit and the more serious, sad and worried Gandalf of Tolkien's other writings. And the scene with Galadriel was just beautiful.

But anyway, I loved the Hobbit. There were things I didn't fancy much, like how Azog was presented, but I don't really have any problem with the decisions PJ and others made. I thank them, from the bottom of my heart.

Some believe it is only big battles and Balrogs that made Tolkien-movie good, but it is not what I have found. I found it is the small Tolkien-references and soul that made the Tolkien-movie great. Big acts of Tolkienism and love for the story and movies. ;)

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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