Date Posted: 2012-12-15
Tolkien Fan Level: 4
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D
Will view again in a different format? Yes
While not the near flawless experiment that Lord of the Ring was the first part of the hobbit is the best thing I've seen all year. Fans will have to definitely adjust their expectations as fans of the book might be upset at new, darker additions, and fans of the LOTR movies might find the lighter tone and additional comedy not to their liking. Though taking things with a grain of salt may not be ideal I feel than many will be sucked back into middle earth.
Many of the moments in the film are simply fantastic, even by the standards set by the previous trilogy. The acting is definitely on par and the film had a heart even can be quite chaotic at times. The main improvement after 10 years is being able to see things you never thought you could. So many new creatures make this film a blast. It is somewhat sad that the miniatures and old film tricks have gone by the wayside. Even so, the new effects are quite fitting for the story the filmmakers are trying to tell. The only real issues of the film seem to come from the shifts in tone, especially in the beginning. At times it feels like the dark pre-LOTR story is fighting the funloving Hobbit story for control. Both aspect are brilliantly done throughout but the switch was definitely at a few point. Luckily the tone smooths out to a happy medium by the end and I feel like it will continue to get better in the next to films. Even so, as a whole I think the issues of this movie are only somewhat larger versions of the ones in LOTR and actually quite similar to the problems of Tolkien's novels(scourging of the shire, odd structure, and whatnot.) If someone is true Tolkien fan(and not someone who is attached to a specific work of Tolkien or adaptation) than this movie will be perfect. Tolkien himself said that what he wrote was only an interpretation of what actually happened. This is definitely a post-success Peter Jackson's interpretation of the story of middle-earth. While very much mirroring FOTR, An Unexpected Journey is beautiful in its own right. Any comparison to the rest of Tolkien literature or filmdom would be apples and oranges. It's not as concise as The Avengers and not as boring as The Dark Knight Rises it's unlike anything you will see this year. Especially for Ringers, this film is a must see.
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