23, San Francisco
Date Posted: 2012-12-15
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was as spectacular as LOTR, in a wholly different manner but nonetheless powerful. The tone of the film is the best adaption of the narrative, occasionally conversational voice hidden in the prose it could have been. The Hobbit is a decidedly simpler tale, which doesn't encompass the grand nature of LOTR; therefore, if the film had the same tone and feel as the trilogy, it would have been at the expense of the original novel. It is a entirely different tale.
Jackson and Co. were more than faithful to every aspect of the text, especially in the character development and pacing. The film gives no preferential treatment to any specific dwarf (apart from Thorin, obviously), which is exactly the treatment the text gives them. The pacing is perfect as well - it is not too slow whatsoever! The pace perfectly mirrors that of the book, and if it seems rather slow in the beginning, that truth is reflected in the text as well. As a visual effects major, I will say there were a few moments that the animation was choppy, which is not the quality I would have expected from Weta. However, these moments were very few and far between. I was hoping for more seamless blending of animation and live action props, whereas this film relies much more heavily on 3d animation than it's predecessors. While it is usually exceptionally well done, it may not hold up as well over the decade as it's predecessors for this reason. del Toro's influence on the film, while minimal, was somewhat superfluous and a bit of a hindrance. His greatest asset as a filmmaker is most definitely his originality, but unfortunately with a film like the Hobbit I don't wish to see HIS interpretation of the novel, I simply wish to see the novel happen in front of me. While my wish was granted, the addition and design of the character Azog is unnecessary, and generally out of touch with the grim reality of the Warg riders in general (there is nothing appealing about them, which the previous films knew exceptionally well, however Azog is fashioned much more appealingly, which is a hindrance to generating the correct feel for the film). Radagast's home, however, was a great del Toro addition, and I am beyond excited to see more of those terrible Ungoliant descendants in the next film (the fact that the film even said "Ungoliant" was even more worth mentioning :) ) Gollum, of course, was spectacular. The texturing and animation made possible after a decade of improvements was fabulous, but were only tools riding on the exceptional performance of Andy Serkis. His addition to the film was as incredible as it was in the previous films, if more technically sound. All in all, minus a few technical issues, this film is every bit of the awesome adventure I had hoped it would be, and I am BEYOND excited to see the other two films, especially with all the additions from the appendices!
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