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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


31, Pleasant Hill
United States

Date Posted: 2012-12-14
Tolkien Fan Level: 9
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

In April of 2004 as I left the theater after seeing The Return of the King one last time I told my Dad: “Well, I guess that’s it.” I really wasn’t sold that The Hobbit would be made because of all the issues holding it up from being made before The Lord of the Rings came to the big screen. So I was content that we got three amazing films that captured something that means the world to me.

Of course, since then we’ve had a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs getting The Hobbit filmed and into theaters around the world. So, as the theater went dark I looked at my parents and said to them: “Here we go again.” For my first screening I decided to go with the old-fashioned 24fps 2D because I did not want to take the risk of not liking 48fps (but I am seeing it that way this Saturday).

The film opens beautifully with Sir Ian Holm talking about how he hasn’t quite told Frodo everything about how his adventure went. We get a great look at Sting, the Red Book, and other artifacts in Bilbo’s chest. As Bilbo talks we get a fantastic look at Dale, Erebor (this is such a beautiful place), and of course Smaug just tearing this place apart. I would say next to The Fellowship of the Ring prologue it’s the best introduction of the Jakcson’s four Middle-earth films. The whole sequence occurs during Bilbo’s 111th Birthday and ends with Frodo nailing up the “No Admittance” sign before surprising Gandalf. It’s just great to see Holm and Elijah Wood back in Middle-earth and I think it’s a great way to get the ball rolling.

As old Bilbo sits down for a smoke the film fades back in time to a younger Bilbo smoking while being visited by Gandalf. This is a great moment seeing Gandalf back in The Shire at Bag End with great dialogue straight from the book about good mornings.

It’s a fun Gandalf again who isn’t nearly as stressed about the world, and you get a great Bilbo who is kind of stand-offish. This little moment, which ends with Gandalf leaving his “G-rune” on the door so the Dwarves know who to look out for, allows you to get the jump on their character arcs for this particular Trilogy.

Next thing you know poor Bilbo is interrupted by this ruckus of Dwarves. Introductions are largely ripped directtly from the book, and introduce all the Dwarves and their personalities. This is nice as several of them pretty much stay background characters the rest of the film. You also get the two Dwarven songs which I really enjoyed hearing. Again, it just helps give depth to everything. I realize this is the area where the pacing issues from critics and some fans come from. I truly believe this is because they expected it to be The Lord of the Rings redux not realizing or knowing that The Hobbit is a children’s tale — and lighter and more fun compared to its more mature counterpart. So, I must completely disagree that there is any kind pacing issue in this first 40 to 45 minutes. It’s just fine, and I think Jackson did a great job bringing this section of the book bringing to life as I think only he can.

The pace does pick up when Bilbo wakes up and dashes off to catch up with Thorin and Co. One of the first major things you run into after leaving The Shire is you get to see the Trolls. You know Bilbo’s Trolls before they became stone as we see them in Fellowship of the Ring. I really enjoyed this moment as again I felt like Jackson really just pulled it from the book. It’s not exact, and there are changes, but the heart of the moment is there, and the Trolls are every bit as goofy as they are in the book. I will say the one complaint about this section I have is the snot gag went a little longer than it should have (kind of like the belching in Bag End). Other than that it was great as it ends with Gandalf showing off his power and the Trolls ending up as stone in the positions we see them in Fellowship of the Ring. After getting attacked by Trolls the first thing you always do is go look at their home, which they do of course, finding Sting, Glamdring, and Orcrist. This is no different than the book and yet another winning moment for me especially with a line Gandalf tells Bilbo about knowing when to save or take a life.

The next major moment is a great sequence of Balin talking about the Battle of Azanulbizar and how Thorin Oakenshield became who he is. The battle sequence I think is just second to the prologue sequence in Fellowship of the Ring. There is a ton of action with Orcs killing Dwarves and vice versa. Azog is a brutal Orc l have to say that and really freaking cool looking. I love his look and as soon as Weta makes a statue I will be buying it. What he does to Thror is just down-right nasty but no more so than what he does to Thrain in the book (I’ll get to that in a second). This of course drives Thorin to rage and going toe-to-toe with Azog — an encounter whose final end we won;t know until later in the movie. Now, this section as cool as it is I have issues with a bit. I’d have really preferred Azog to have bit it and

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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