Date Posted: 2013-01-06
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
I tried to go into the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with no expectations. I am not a die-hard Tolkein fan and I have an understanding of the difficulty of putting a book into a visual format. Allow me to begin with the things I thought were NOT done well.
The special effects fell rather flat, especially the Dwarves escape. Many times there is a definite seam between the background and the figures on screen, as if the two were not meshed well. On to the acting: I realize that Christopher Lee is a fan. It makes me happy to know that a fan is playing a crucial part in the films. But I have to say that his Saruman in this film was not as sly, as cunning, as his Saruman in LotR. Martin Freeman's Bilbo takes a back seat to Richard Armitage's Thorin, which is unfortunate since the story is not The Dwarf but The Hobbit. I'm going to chalk this up to the idea that his role will grow as the other two films emerge. I question some of the direction choices in regards to the role of the Orcs. There's a Clash of the Titans (original) feel to these scenes. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the flavor but it was kind of like biting into my wheat toast and getting rye instead. What did they get right? Everything else. The makeup, costume design, editing, screenplay...everything was excellent. Weta NEVER disappoints me. Even in those travesties they call the Chronicles of Narnia. (which are beautiful to look at, but terrible as a film experience) The music perfectly enhances the visuals. Howard Shore also never disappoints me. The look and feel of the film is perfect, like a dream relayed the night after finishing the books. It is fantastic without being campy or weird, implausible without being impossible, inspiring without being pushy. I plan to see it again in 48fps just to make sure I'm not missing anything. It's certainly worth going to the theater for the whole experience. Do yourself a favor and see it on the big screen at least once.
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