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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME

Aaron Mitchell

29, Durham, NC
United States

Date Posted: 2012-12-23
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No

I walked into the Hobbit afraid I was going to hate it, based on the reviews I had heard and read. This fear was not realized – I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

That said, this was not The Lord of the Rings.

Moreover, I think The Hobbit’s greatest strength, as well as its greatest weakness, was The Lord of the Rings. I was overjoyed to see Elijah, Cate, Hugo, and The Ians back for more, and stunned into rapturous disbelief when Christopher Lee once again graced the screen (I had not been nearly as up to date as a should have been on casting developments). The magic that they bring to Middle Earth is reprised in each of their scenes. I also liked seeing more of the Lord of the Rings story being referenced in the The Hobbit – as Peter Jackson and Co, unlike Tolkein himself while writing The Hobbit, were working with 20/20 foresight. I speak of involvement of the Witch King, the wizard meetings, etc., that help to foreshadow the coming return of Sauron and all of the ensuing adventures.

I say that the Lord of the Rings is The Hobbit’s biggest weakness in that it seemed to be relied on as somewhat of a crutch. And like I outlined above, LOTR is a pretty awesome crutch to have, but is a crutch nonetheless. I don’t know that I would have been compelled by Bilbo and the Dwarves alone, and often felt that this story was something of a sideshow.

Actually, strike all that. The biggest weakness of The Hobbit is that it has been inappropriately divided (and prolonged) into 3 films. While I am looking forward to this 3rd film that will supposedly “tie The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings,” the action of The Hobbit itself does NOT need 2+ films. It is this excess of screen time that has given us the stone giants, wargs chasing a rabbit sleigh, and what felt like a 20-minute escape from the goblin caves, all of which the film could have done (and would have been better off) without.

Criticisms aside, this was a great movie. It is funny when it wants to be, and exciting, and beautiful. Weta works its magic. Howard shore guides us emotionally through Middle Earth, his notes tugging on our hearts through their Lord-of-the-Rings-earned significance and import. New Zealand still looks the part.

If I could capture my feelings about The Hobbit through one observation, it is that each of the 3 LOTR films moved me to tears (Boromir’s death, the charge of the Rohirrim at Helm’s Deep, and Aragorn’s speech before the Black Gate); The Hobbit did not.

That said, it is a worthy prequel.

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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