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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


29, Whittier
United States

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

Saw it in 3D HFR (high frame rate). Yes, it did take some adjusting to. There was a depth of field that was so very much pronounced that it distracted me from some content in the "prologue". But, I was pretty well adjusted to it by "Good Morning".

There were some moments that I was too busy looking at the film that sometimes distracted me from what was actually happening. This mostly occurred in the vast sweeping landscape shots or busy fast paced action sequences. Middle-earth is a rich character itself and was a beautiful sight to see. The new realms of Erebor and Dale and new sights in Rivendell were a treasure. Though I feel that the HFR & 3D muddled the clarity of the action scenes. I caught the highlighted fighting, like Balin in the Goblin caves and Thorin outside of Moria, but the wide shots of the battles or fast tracking shots were a sensory overload. Very hard to focus on what was supposed to be happening. The tone of the film though was top notch. Every scene and setting was so unique and defined by the land and coloring.

There were many more scenes that simply delighted and nailed the emotion of reading the books or even elevated it to a new level. Oddly the most memorable is the encounter with the Stone Giants. Such a brief mention in the book was envisioned into a grand heart-stopping action sequence. When the mountain side moved and split, I first thought it was just a crack that would widen and they’d have to navigate the chasm. But cleverly the filmmakers thought lets make the side of the mountain move, and better yet, lets make the side of the mountain a Stone Giant. The company was actually on a Stone Giant, specifically half on one knee and half on the other. High drama, perfect action, and a very surprising take on the book.

Similarly delightful was the Trolls. I would have loved though to see the Dwarves try and fight the trolls only to be caught and sacked up, but the scene was used to showcase Thorin’s devotion and responsibility to his party even if that is the bumbling burglar. Well played. We see Bilbo’s negotiation skills for the first time in a pressure situation. This skill will appear again later in the film and at its finest when he eventually faces Smaug. I loved the changes to this scene. I loved the Trolls themselves. I loved the turning sequence. It was magical without being fanciful. Just a great moment.

Riddles in the Dark also couldn’t have been played better. Perhaps the best scene for Martin Freeman and certainly a brilliant performance from Andy Serkis. An amazing portrayal of a younger Gollum, one that was content to be hidden deep and dark and alone with his precious. But still vicious, conniving, brutal and disarming. Well played Andy. Left me in awe of a familiar yet fresh character. The timing between the actors was so well paced. I am in awe that the stakes are so high yet Bilbo can still shrug and accept that Gollum will eat him. Misplaced confidence, or naiveté? Gollum will eat him if he loses. This is frightening. But, theres a whimsy infused into the scene without making it childish or too comical. The drama is always building just as the severity of Gollum’s riddles does the same. I was just chilled to the bone through the entire scene. Then to the chase, narrow escape (poor buttons), and final push to the door. A grand take on a beloved chapter.

“Good morning.” Another memorable moment in the book. Along with the arrival of the Dwarves. I also understand and am glad that Thorin’s entrance was removed and after the playfulness of the Dwarves raid on the pantry and tossing of the dishes. Once Thorin arrived the company was on better (though never the best) behavior and the story got down to business. Much of nervous Bilbo getting in way over his head was adorable.

So that leaves me the performances. I could not have imagined a better Bilbo Baggins than that presented by Martin Freeman. Every tick, every stutter, every surprising bold and courageous moment was brilliant. So well played and inspired. Richard Armitage was quite possibly the exact Thorin Oakenshield of my dreams. Proud, strong, determined, loyal, passionate, with that weight of a kingdom balanced squarely on his shoulders. Though he has many missteps and mistrusts outside assistance, he recognizes the strength of those he trusts, and is very deserving of the company’s trust in turn. The supporting Dwarves were also all very unique and some very surprising breakout stars. Balin for one, Bifur another. They both had very standout moments with Bilbo or the company. Balin is an adorable old badass. There is just no other way to describe it.

And that wraps up my first impressions of my first viewing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. There will be many more visits to the theater in the coming weeks. I will be seeing it next in standard 2D and maybe I might be able to catch Peter’s cameo. Looking forward to it very much.

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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