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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Date Posted: 2012-12-22
Tolkien Fan Level: 2
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

I saw The Hobbit for the 1st time a few days ago and have to say overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Not to mention more than a bit relieved after the beating this movie has taken from many a critic. No, this movie is not on par with the LOTR trilogy, but it is a solid foundation for the 2nd and 3rd instalments of the Hobbit trilogy.

The Good

1]. Seeing the likes of Gandalf, Frodo, Elrond. etc....It was like being re-acquainted with old friends, not seen in a long time. And that was a very good feeling.

2]. The musical score of Howard Shore. Very similar in many respects to the LOTR score, not to mention identical in some scenes, but again, it brought back memories of the heady LOTR days. And I found myself on occasion, humming along to music I long became accustomed to.

3]. Top notch acting. Ian McKellan was once again terrific as Gandalf, but I do believe that Martin Freeman really stole the show with his portrayal of Bilbo. Honestly though, there really wasn't a weak link where this ensemble is concerned, it was solid from top to bottom.

4]. The screenplay. Yes, there were parts added, and parts not included, but this is normal with all movies. Sometimes what works well on paper does not necessarily translate well on film and vice versa, but I think P.J. and his team did a very good job of capturing the essence of the book. I do acknowledge that some Tolkien purists will no be happy with some of the changes, but quite frankly you were never going to get alot of these elitist's on board outside of P.J. translating his version word for word from the book.

5]. The wargs. P.J. got it right this time. Gone are the hyena-like wargs of LOTR, replaced with wolf-like wargs as described by Tolkien.

The Bad

1]. The dwarves. Not the characters themselves, nor the actors playing the characters. Rather the appearances of some of the dwarves. Seriously, does anyone in their right mind think that Thorin, Kili, and Fili look like dwarves? These guys have a better chance of being mistaken for male models than dwarves, and while this "eye candy" might be acceptable to the female audience, I found it distracting and out of place. I'm not sure what P.J. was thinking here, but that is not how I envisioned dwarves, nor do I suspect do most other people.

2]. The Goblin King. While he certainly met my expectations in the appearance department [ie hideous], the voice and well spoken/articulate nature of the character did not seem to fit the look at all. I don't know whose voice was used in that role, but he was badly cast. Surely P.J. could have found someone with a stronger, more gutteral and authoritative voice. And the fact that Gandalf was so quickly and easily able to dispatch the Goblin King was a major scene completely lacking in any drama whatsoever.

The Ugly

1]. Radagast the Brown. Thanks to P.J. we now have our own version of George Lucas's Jar Jar Binks, with one exception of course, that being Jar Jar wasn't suffering from dementia. I'm sorry, but what else are we supposed to think of a clueless, bumbling idiot who walks around with bird crap caked to the side of his head? Saruman may have been clueless as to who and what the Necromancer was, but he sure had Radagast pegged. I think P.J. dropped the ball big time with this character and I can only hope that is the last we see of this buffoon.

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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