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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


41, Wellington
New Zealand

Date Posted: 2012-12-17
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

Now that this is "officially" released, I'm going to post my review. I saw this almost 2 weeks ago at the Weta Crew Screening and overall, I did really enjoy it. Martin Freeman is perfect as the young Bilbo, he is everything I was hoping he was going to be and more. Again, of course, Ian McKellen IS Gandalf, I can't think of anyone else playing that character, ever. The 13 Dwarves are all excellent, each one is an individual and has a distinct personality, which is lacking in the book. As their leader, Thorin, Richard Armitage is very good, he embodies that bitter, angry person who must succeed in his mission at all costs.
Peter Jackson has again created a world that these characters inhabit perfectly and it was great to see Middle-Earth on screen again.
This film follows the novel pretty much page for page, but there are "added" sections from other sources and for the most part, these work really well. The scenes with the White Council are very good and as are the scenes with Radagast the Brown and the introduction of the "Dark Forces" that have invaded Mirkwood.
But, the true highlight for me was the Riddles in the Dark scenes with Bilbo and Gollum. Gollum is still one of the best digital characters ever on screen and he is even better here. Andy Serkis has just stepped back into the feet of Gollum and at times his performance is heartbreaking. The shot when he realises he has lost the ring is incredible.
Now, down to the things that did not work so well for me, there aren't many, but they did pull me out of the film. Firstly, the Azog character. Great concept, not that convincing. He his either a fully digital character or an actor in body prosethetics with a digital "make-up". His head was an obvious computer generated effect, he suffered from my two big "no-nos" when it comes to CGI, too smooth skin and whats called the "Nutcracker Mouth". He is onscreen with characters shot onset and beside them, he does not quite look right. Secondly, The Goblin Town. This was always one of my favorite parts of the book so I was really looking forward to it. I did like the idea of the town itself, but I was not happy with the goblins themselves, especiially the Great Goblin. After the cool Moria Goblins in FotR, these ones just felt too cartoony. The Great Goblin was too big and too silly.
I have also taken off 1/2 a star for the fact I felt there was far too many fight scenes, it felt like one fight after another in the second half, it got a bit exhausting.
When it came down to the 3D and HFR, I had no problem with these, its the best use of 3D I've seen and I couldn't even see the HFR at all.

So, overall, a totally enjoyable film, a great addition to the series and a really exciting new advance in filmmaking. Don't let the critics put you off, see it in 3D, see it in the HFR, make sure you see it in a theatre with a great sound system, just sit back, let yourself be emersed in the world and the characters and be totally entertained. Bring on December next year.

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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