Date Posted: 2012-12-17
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
To see The Hobbit as a movie is something I have waited for ever since I first picked up the book when I was 13(24 years ago), and was somewhat disappointed when The Lord of The Rings was turned into a movie first. At the time I was ecstatic of course to see my favorite trilogy come to film, but where was The Hobbit?? Years long we had to wait, and to sum it up, the first installment is, IMHO, well worth every moment of that wait!
The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey, tells a tale that is near and dear to the hearts of millions the world over, yet it is told differently, for yes it is the tale of Bilbo Baggins' adventure with 13 Dwarves, yet included is back story and foreshadowing of what will come in The Lord of The Rings story. This is something that Professor Tolkien only did via notes and writings, because of course at the writing of The Hobbit, he didn't know that another story would be following it. I think the adaption by Peter Jackson is one that the Professor would not object to very strongly(maybe bits and pieces) both for the fact that it ties in with the greater mythology as he would have wished it to, and, let's face it, he knew not to take himself TOO seriously, and in fact it was said that he was able to remove himself from the world of the story far easier than his fans were able to, as needed. (WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW!) The movie begins with Bilbo Baggins, working on the writing of his tale, and preparing for his upcoming birthday party. He tells us the back story to his tale, the coming of the Dragon and the destruction of Dale, and the loss of the Lonely Mountain. This, I believe, is a much better way to do it than just have the Dwarves telling Bilbo this part in the movie. It isn't long before we are then watching our Hobbit, 60 years younger and very comfortable, sitting on the doorstep of Bagend, when this strange old man in grey comes up. This scene was perfect, from Bilbo's reactions to Gandalf asking what Bilbo meant by "good morning" nearly word for word from the book(one of the cherished sequences to me). We then meet the Dwarves, each having their own unique personality and look, each brought to life right before our eyes. My only complaint on this is that we don't get to learn a lot about many of them other than scraps here and there(at least so far) and only really get into the personalities of Thorin, Ballin, and maybe Dwallin, in any real depth. There are a lot of them though, and I suppose we can't expect to learn all of them at once. For the rest of the time(which flew by for me) we are traveling with the Dwarves, and learning bits of this and that. Then we come to another cherished scene, the trolls. The trolls themselves were brought to life perfectly, and I am content with the minor changes to the scene, such as it being Bilbo who actually kept the trolls distracted, playing for time discussing the proper way to cook Dwarves, till Gandalf arrives and(in a shadow of scenes from LoTR) brakes a stone with his staff to let in the light of the rising sun into the trolls little encampment. There is so much more than could be discussed, and I am sure that forums the world over are busy with enlivened debates about everything from the 48fps question down to arguing the merits of even the smallest changes. As for myself I will, for now, admit Peter Jackson's right to creative licence, and enjoy the film for what it is, one story tellers take on a tale we all know and love...and then spend the next year obsessing over the wait for the next installment! At the end of the day it's a great movie, and if you go into it leaving the expectations at the door, you will find yourself entertained and enthralled. It's not "the book in film" and no book turned into a movie ever is, but it's one great movie in my book. RD Williams
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