I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening last night of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’- in 3D but not in 48fps. In honour of todays date (12/12/12) I thought I would share the 12 things I loved most about the film, and 12 things I didn’t. I will say that overall I loved the movie, and plan to see it in all formats at least a few times each. And it was a lot harder to come up with 12 things I didn’t like about the film than 12 things I did like. Spoilers ahead!
Things to love:
1) The prologue – Seeing Erebor in its glory! Young Thorin! Thranduil! A fleeting glimpse of Smaug! And, most surprisingly (I was actually a little worried about this), seeing old Bilbo and Frodo as they get ready for Bilbo’s birthday party. A nice way of seeing how Bilbo begins the Red Book as well as a nice segue into the beginning of ‘Fellowship of the Ring’.
2) Martin Freeman as Bilbo – Perfect casting. I have long been a fan of his, and he absolutely nails this performance.
3) Richard Armitage as Thorin – See above.
4) The dwarves singing at Bag End – I laughed during ‘Blunt the Knives’ and almost cried during ‘Misty Mountains’.
5) The returning cast (Sir Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett) and familiar settings (Hobbiton, Rivendell) from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. It was like being back with old friends after a long absence.
6) Bret McKenzie as
7) The Stone Trolls – Bert, William, and Tom. They look and sound just as Tolkien described, except… (see # 8 on my 2nd list).
8) ‘Riddles in the Dark’ – My favorite scene in the film and from the book. Both Martin and Andy Serkis were brilliant together. Can we just give them both an Oscar now?
9) Bad Ass Dwarven fighting. Those goblins never stood a chance.
10) The soundtrack – a Middle-earth film without Howard Shore’s score is like a Hobbit without food and pipeweed.
11) Here come the eagles!
12) One last glimpse of Smaug opening his eye as the film ends. I can’t wait to hear Benedict Cumberbatch give voice to one of my favorite literary characters next year.
Things You Might Not Love:
1) I would have liked to have seen a bit more done with Radagast the Brown. Don’t get me wrong – I love Sylvester McCoy, and he does warn Gandalf about the goings-on in Dol Guldur. But otherwise he just seemed to be there for the sake of being there. Perhaps the Extended Editions and films 2 & 3 will fix that.
2) Bilbo seemed a little too excited to leave the Shire, and he left on his own. I wanted to see Gandalf come and get him.
3) Speaking of Bilbo heading out on his adventure, why did he have a backpack? I would have rather he left as he did in the book, without so much as a pocket hankerchief.
4) Azog – In my opinion, he was too cartoonish and too obviously CGI. A little disappointing given how amazing Weta’s CGI characters usually are.
5) The Wargs – See above.
6) The Goblin King – See above.
7) No talking wallet during the Stone Trolls scene – I understand it may have been a bit too cartoonish, but I was disappointed not to hear “Ere, ‘oo are you?”
8) Bilbo covered in troll snot – I would have been okay without seeing that.
9) The scene with the Company in the middle of a fight between stone giants seemed almost completely lifted from the scene in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ on the Pass of Caradhras.
10) No talking eagles, either – I wanted to hear at least a little something between Gandalf and Gwahir.
11) I know the eagles aren’t a taxi service, but couldn’t they have dropped the Company off just a *bit* closer to Erebor instead of at the top of a mountain very far away?
12) That it will be another year before we all see ‘The Desolation of Smaug’.