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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Date Posted: 2012-12-16
Tolkien Fan Level: 1
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

Although I saw this film in 3D 48fps, I won't linger on the technology side. Say simply that some of the 3D effects were fantastic (particularly the moth flying out of the screen), and the frame rate improved the quality of the picture without interfering with my enjoyment in the slightest.

Peter Jackson has done it again: he has successfully brought us back into a world which he captured to such near perfection in The Lord of the Rings. Seeing the designs of Erebor, Dale, Dol Guldur and Goblin Town for the first time was an absolute joy, and the same can be said for many other designs/scenic locations in the film. The character's costumes are highly detailed and in many cases are fully complementary to the race of the character as they were in Lord of the Rings.

The acting is superb. Martin Freeman carries the film as Bilbo Baggins with a wonderful performance in which he truly inhabits the character. He is supported by the equally marvelous Ian McKellen, who once again creates a perfect portrayal of the wizard Gandalf. Richard Armitage's Thorin is very different to the Thorin of the book (he is portrayed as a self-doubting character similar to Aragorn in PJ's LotR) but Armitage gives a memorable performance nonetheless. Other standout performances among the Dwarves are those given by Ken Stott (Balin) and James Nesbitt (Bofur). Fili and Kili are expanded but surely very different to the Dwarves Tolkien had in mind. The returning cast, most notably Andy Serkis' Gollum, are on par with their performances in LoTR. Other side characters, such as Sylvester McCoy's bumbling Radagast and Barry Humphries' camp but evil Great Goblin are also delightful to watch.

Howard Shore's music wonderfully captures the atmosphere in the films, although fans of LotR will recognize a large majority of the themes: there is not a great number of completely new scores in this film, which is a slight disappointment.

The basic plot of Tolkien's novel has been well embellished with historical scenes from the appendices of LotR, and while some of the invented Azog plot-line is questionable, it does provide the film with a strong villain who is frequently at the forefront of the story's progression points.

The film's Special Effects are visually impressive, and while some have claimed that Azog looks like a video game character, he is in fact good enough to get by. The Great Goblin and his minions have been convincingly brought to life on screen, and other effects and CGI are of a good standard.

All in all, while the film has a few minor and forgivable faults, it can be considered by many a great achievement and a credible successor to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, to which is both different and similar in terms of its tone. Many people in years to come, including myself, will enjoy watching these films back-to-back with the LotR trilogy. The few faults within the film are not enough to detract from the enjoyment of most fans, giving this reviewer cause to rate it a solid 9 out of 10 overall.


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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