A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.
The Hobbit trilogy currently in production is so wildly interesting to me because for the first time ever in film a single book will be adapted into three separate films, and the book isn’t even that terribly long to begin with. This could and should be the most true and accurate adaptation we have ever seen. Not only that, but this was the first book I ever read for my own interest, so I have long wondered what Hollywood, and recently Peter Jackson, could create from it.
The Hobbit is, of course, a predecessor to the successful film and book series The Lord of the Rings, so we see a lot of familiar faces, like old Bilbo Baggins [Ian Holm] writing the tale we are about to witness, Frodo Baggins [Elijah Wood], Saruman the White [Christopher Lee], Elrond [Hugo Weaving], and Galadriel [Cate Blanchett]. And then we have the return of Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey and Andy Serkis‘ Gollum, who are important characters in the film. A certain piece of jewelry also makes an appearance. Along with these reappearances are a lot of really fun references to the LOTR series, which if you watch after The Hobbit, the correct chronological order, will be perfect. The film succeeds in being a prequel to the already made series.
The most obvious thing about the film is the production and that it is 100% the same as Peter Jackson‘s LOTR series was. This has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, people who maybe were looking for something new, but that wasn’t the case for me. I loved this fact. There were flaws in this idea, however. Many of the same things were done to a level of overkill, like Gandalf’s “Run… RUN!” line, which he has said at least 7 times so far in the 4 movies. Many things were repetitive and seemed a little forced. The scene in which Gandalf dims the lights and booms his voice over the hustle and bustle of the dwarves’ was true to the other films, but seemed completely untimely and only in there to try and be continuous with the other movies. I didn’t like it. But a lot of the things that worked in the past movies worked again in this one. The sweeping, broad shots of the gang travelling through the New Zealand terrains were magnificent, breathtaking. I don’t know how they keep finding all of these awesome locations. The old settings like the elf kingdom and others made a really good looking return as well. The action was shot the same way and was genuinely exciting and thrilling. So while clearly a little hit and miss, I really liked the way the movie was made much like those of the past.
Some final thoughts, I thought Martin Freeman‘s Bilbo was a really sound, consistent character and a really good representation of the book’s character. It will be fun to see him progress more and become the legendary adventurer. The other cast of dwarves was really well done with great make-up, and the trolls really were true to the book and really brought back memories of the story for me. The 3D and soundtrack, along with most all other technical aspects, were just awesome.
3/4 – The Hobbit stays true to the Peter Jackson version of Tolkien’s world, and while that produces some repetitive, forced content, the overall product is a sound beginning for the series’ story.