I am little slow on this one as many bloggers went to the first viewing so people are probably bored of reading about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey already. But, I had been looking forward to seeing this film since I first heard they were making it years ago, so I am going to talk about it anyway 🙂
I am a massive fan of the Lord of the Rings films, I went to see the first instalment FIVE times at the cinema – that’s commitment right there. Maybe a little sad, but Tolkien’s world captured my imagination and I couldn’t get enough of it. I did try my darndest to read the books but I just didn’t have the patience. I also tried to read The Hobbit recently but failed at that too, my mind wanders too easily.
Sitting down in the cinema with my boyfriend (who is not a LOTR fan but I badgered into coming with me), I was getting excitable and felt very nostalgic thinking of when the first film came out. When my mind was opened to the world of Hobbits, Wizards, Elves (mainly Legolas) and more. This sense of nostalgia was strengthened at the beginning of The Hobbit, when there is a cross over with the first film. I LOVE cross over in films, it makes the dream world seem more real and I already get very involved in a good movie so this just makes it better. When Frodo said he was off to meet Gandalf in the woods, I think I peed a little and exclaimed “that’s how the first one starts!”
The (very) simplified story line is thus; along with the help of Gandalf and 13 Dwarves, Bilbo is thrust into an adventure in which the aim is to take back the Dwarves ancient gold from the Dragon, Smaug. Loads of crazy near death experiences happen along the way.
This film brings back all the best characters from the LOTR trilogy. Frodo makes a brief appearance. Gandalf is awesome as ever and proves once again that you should ALWAYS listen to Gandalf, ‘you fools’! Ian McKellen is the perfect bumbly old man yet stern and wise, with a short temper. A fantastic character that the film could not do with-out in my opinion.
Old Bilbo narrates the story and takes you back to the first film where he is planning his birthday party and mysterious disappearance. Who then transforms perfectly into the brilliantly cast Martin Freeman as young Bilbo. He has all the characteristics and manner of Bilbo as if he has actually turned back time. I couldn’t think of any one better to play the role, and would never have guessed it either.
Bilbo crosses paths with Gollum for the first time in this movie, and Andy Serkis gives his best performance I believe. The character of Gollum is so unbelievably detailed, even to the pigment of this giant watery eyes. The switch between personalities is extreme and brilliant to watch. He is heartbreakingly pathetic and frighteningly sinister in a blink of an eye.
Other characters to make an appearance from the LOTR trilogy included Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) who looked stunning, and magical. Probably even more so than the LOTR (well it was hard times then). Hugo Weaving is back as Elrond and looks exactly the same. Even Saruman pops in to give Gandalf a telling off, the producers must have offered Christopher Lee more money… Even Gandalf’s pall the giant bird helps the Hobbits on their journey!
As well as the familiar faces, this film introduced some absolutely brilliant characters. All of the Dwarves to start with! I don’t think Gimli gave the dwarves a very good name in the trilogy! Although it was great to find out the historical context of why he and Legolas were always at each others throats. The Dwarves were strong and brave, loyal and hilariously funny. There were a few familiar faces, including James Nesbitt which I thought was odd but he was brilliant. There were also a couple of Dwarf hotties which sounds wrong but look out for Fili and Kili!
The ‘King’ Dwarf Thorin was the real star of the show (aside from Martin Freeman), played by Richard Armitage who I don’t think I have seen before, not noticeably any way. Thorin is the bravest, and probably smartest of the Dwarves and becomes a really fantastic flawed hero. He was probably my favourite character in the whole film.
One of the things that made Thorin great was his passionate hatred for the white Orc, who was another new character (possibly not in the book either? I have heard some complaints!) but made a brilliantly evil, brutal villain. I wont go into too much detail for those who have not seen the film yet but this guy is terrifying. Warn the kids!
There are some fantastic monsters encountered by the Dwarves and Bilbo in this film. The Rock Giants were a big surprise and fantastically animated. I loved that they aren’t even aware of the groups presence, they are just getting on with their daily routine of smashing each other up. The Trolls were very well portrayed, really gross and a good comic relief before it all gets very serious. There are Goblins too which are sickening to look at and pretty terrifying, but also bring some humor to the dialogue. My favourite fleeting character though has to be the Brown Wizard, Radagast. He is Gandalf’s chum, who has an affinity with animals. I felt his pain when he got upset about a dieing hedgehog! He had some great characteristics, for example having a bird nesting under his hat which caused a lot of crusty bird poo to keep gathering down the side of his face. As well as using extremely fast rabbits to pull his sledge which was brilliant! I wanted to see more of this character, I hope he makes another appearance in the next two movies.
With regards to the quality of the film itself, I think filming it at 48 frames per second rather than the 24 fps we are used accustomed to really added a new dimension (not literally of course I think my brain would have exploded if I had also seen it in 3D). It was insanely clear and very realistic as if the actors themselves were in the big box in front. There are also some fantastic shots that looked so iconic, for example Galadriel standing with the trail of her dress spread across the floor and the sunset shining through from behind, creating a godly glow around her (you can kind of see this in the picture of Gandalf above). Crazy good. My boyfriend didn’t agree but I have a sneaky suspicion he requires glasses like I do!
My only criticism of the film is that they over use the LOTR rift for the music, and maybe Gandalf should stop saving their butts… Other than that this film was fantastic, and goes next in line after the first LOTR as one of the BEST.
Although it is a VERY long film, I didn’t feel like it dragged at all, I only noticed because the goddam cinema seats give me a numb bum and my glasses were making my brain ache. If you liked LOTR you will love this film!