Date Posted: 2012-12-17
Tolkien Fan Level: 2
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D
Will view again in a different format? Yes
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey met my expectations and more. Once again, Jackson's team has absolutely aced the casting - Martin Freeman IS Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage has his breakout performance as Thorin Oakenshield. Sylvester McCoy is also brilliant as Radagast the Brown. Returning cast is fantastic as well, with highlight performances from McKellen and Serkis. The actors also do a fantastic job in differentiating the various personalities of the dwarves - Thorin is the angsty, stubborn, and prideful exile, Balin is the wise grandfather of the company, Dwalin the battle-hardened warrior, and so on. While many of the dwarves did not get much screentime, hopefully we will see them all shine in the next two parts.
For a Tolkien fan, the pace of this film is perfect. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey moves along at a slow simmer, but becomes extremely fast paced toward the latter half of the film and will keep you at the edge of your seat. Audiences should keep in mind that this is not just the prequel to LOTR - it is it's own story. More comedy, brighter, more vivid colors, and less apocalyptic battle scenes than LOTR is to be expected. However, The Hobbit has much more charm and I found myself becoming attached to the lovable, wonderfully portrayed characters in this film moreso than I did with LOTR. One thing's for sure - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a brilliant start to a trilogy that brings more Middle Earth to fans and audiences alike, and that's always a good thing.
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