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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Date Posted: 2012-12-19
Tolkien Fan Level: 1
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No

Peter Jackson revisits Middle earth. I didn't really expect the Hobbit when LOTR ended so this was a nice surprise. I shall break it down in three categories :

The GOOD : Bilbo . Freeman fills the shoes of mr Holm very well. He manages to convey the transition from comical houseHobbit wary of all adventures and grows into a loyal partner of the Company. His acting chemistry with Gandalf is superb, as well.)
Gandalf. McKellen once more blends into one of literature's most iconic characters with ease. Humurous, pensieve and a reliable source of help and a little less of a leader than I seem to recall from the book.
Gollum. Another potential movie-stealing performance from Serkis. The movie really takes off from the Riddles in the dark onwards.
Thorin : Hobbit is almost a three-lead movie, with Freeman and McKellen finding an equal performance from Armitage. A real leader of Dwarves and a King in exile, I found him to be a much more convincing leader than, say, Mortensen's Aragorn portrayal. Proud and assertive, yet finds some heart in the end for Bilbo.
Excellent Erebor intro, brought back the memories of the great intros for Two towers and Fellowship. The familiar music themes were also nice.

The BAD : other Dwarves not named Balin or Thorin. Again, we go for more over the top Gimli style humour. Elven army cameo at Erebor is as bad as the elven army at Helm's Deep was. I thought Frodo cameo was unnecessary and only added to the loooooong wait for the Party to leave Bilbo's house (I read somewhere it takes 45 mins until they go off !). I could also do without White Council scenes, although they are better in execution and at least have some basis in Tolkien's writing.

The VERY BAD : Radagast. Come on...he's not a wacky hippie ! One only wonders at the portrayal movie Tom Bombadil might have gotten. Azog the defiler wasn't really scary, and he looked way too human for an Orc. Another weak villain is the giant Toad-Orc in the caves. I don't think Orcs looked that much different from LOTR Orcs which is a shame.
I for one also felt ripped off for not seeing at least one glimpse of Smaug the Magnificent in all his glory.

Great job on the stone giants and wargs.

The issue with this movie is precisely what I expected since the 2 - and later - 3 movies announcement was made. It feels more like "welcome back for more of LOTR style" instead of "this is new, and has little to do with LOTR except a few characters and a key artefact". 3 movies will feel, I fear, far too long for a book this short. And this isn't really the story so many readers fell in love with...

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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