'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Review By Bawnian©-Dexeus

And so, the journey of Sindarin Erebor's heroes has thus begun
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 action adventure film.

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Ken Scott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Callin, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Benedict C*mberbatch, Sylvester McCoy and Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins.

The journey back to Middle Earth has not been an easy one. Rumors of Peter Jackson's return, burning workshops, financial halts and even talk of Guillermo Del Toro to be the new Guardian of Middle Earth. In the end, gladly accepted and thanked by the many fans around the world, this new and much awaited journey has begun.

We open in The Shire, home to the happy and merry Hobbits of the fictional Earth named Arda, and also home to the familiar Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins. It begins with a story, as always, but this time, about the past adventures if Bilbo before he decided to retire and escape. Back the clock 60 years, which is nothing compared to how slowly these creatures age, and we see a young (by Tolkien standards) Bilbo Baggins smoking his pipe in peace until an old but familiar friend visits him: Gandalf the Wizard. Wanting him to embark on an adventure, he is accompanied by twelve Dwarves: Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori and Thorin Oakenshield. A lot to remember, I know, but after multiple viewing, you'll get the hang of it. This adventure is to help Thorin and his race reclaim their once ancient home in the Lonely Mountain, along with its treasure guarded by Smaug the Dragon.

What does Bilbo have to do with their affairs? Why does Gandalf need him so? In this long first act that takes up a good number of pages I ask myself why does gandalf drop so many rocks on this poor man's conscience? A little arrogant and rather mean attitude from someone so beloved and pure. Though that may not be the case to many , but for me, I'd be pretty upset if a band of misfit men were to enter my home indirectly invited by a third party and order me around. Not without purpose, as are the tales of Tolkien. Gandalf could have chosen anyone else, but all to inspire an old friend once more to leave the four walls of his home. Hell, he even makes an excellent point of adventure not being the same in books and tales, but rather leaving and exploring the real world. As all the characters are fantastical and impeccably created, Bilbo remains that one character that directly represents us, the audience. We see the world through his eyes, as he is it's narrator. Hobbits are wondrous, and we learn much from them.

We return to familiar territory. Rivendell, home of Elves, The Orcs realm, Trolls that at least talk this time around, Weathertop, and new realms that were once mentioned, and now, we see them come to life. Like the Potter books, once day I will read with patience all the Tolkien books. My brain has this ability to instantly forget what I see in the film adaptations when reading the source material, so it should be a fun future. Going in blind, the execution started a bit average, cliche at some parts, repetitive (by a lot) but ultimately, satisfying with a touch of a smile. Truly this book is meant for the youngest reader. There is humor to be adored, without sacrificing the dark actions and blackness of villains to enforce the imagination.

Not knowing any of the Dwarves, I can honestly say that the actors performed them well. Gimli may have been the only Dwarf to actually fight with an axe and shield, but I can now see where he got his great skills and dark humor. Richard Armitage plays Thorin Oakenshield. A mouthful, I'm sure for the uninitiated, but even though he's a brand new character, he's also familiar. I'm betting that when Tolkien decided to right the Lord of the Rings trilogy books, he shaped the characters in that world after the ones in this book. Thorin may be a Dwarf, but tell me he doesn't remind you of Aragorn? Excellent warrior, proud and selfless, but flawed all the same.

Never heard of Martin Freeman by name but surely I've seen his face. He plays Bilbo with tact and elegance. He exerts many emotions, even the ones we are to feel when the battle heats up. Hugo Weaving doesn't do much, but wise men talk as part of their action. Cate Blanchett, quite possibly the most beautiful character in all of Middle-earth (That's right! I said it!) as the elvish queen Galadriel, the wisest and most odd character in their universe. She serves Gandalf and his company when they need it most. Hopefully in the next films, they explain her past relationship with Mithrandir a little more, for I detected a bit of a once flame between them.

Finally, last but not least, Gollum. No doubt his return to the big screen will fire up the roar of the fans, as Andy Serkis delivers his best rendition of the character yet. I did complain when the posters were released and a few clips before, about utilizing updated motion capture technology having the character look worse. Initial perception, changed instantly. He looked better than before, and though we know of his fate and past, I couldn't help but fell deeply sorry for him; being changed by a round trinket that doesn't hold much meaning as of yet until later on in the future. Curious though, why didn't Bilbo see the eye of Sauron when he cloaked himself?

The battles looked great. Don't know why the Orcs spoke in tongue and the Trolls English, along with the goblins, but no matter. The war between the Dwarves and the Orcs in Moria didn't hold much to what I've already been exposed to before, but have it been filmed with Red Epic cameras, adds a touch of beauty to it, you tend to easily forget. The past of Erebor, Smaug's appearance, Saruman's presence to thwart Gandalf's quest; all lovely. To this day, I still ask myself, why not take the bloody Eagles all the way to their destination? But that would defeat all purposes, wouldn't it? There are never shortcuts.

As Peter Jackson executed this story well, he did it with new technology. The famous 48fps or HFR (High Frame Rate 3D). After reading an article about the technology in my U.S. Media Now class this fall, I couldn't help but feel turned off by the idea. No doubt the intentions are pure, but a bit excessive. The point is to eliminate the motion blur that classic 24fps offers, or the FILM look. I understand that as technology improves, so should the way movies are recorded. I consider myself a purist. But if I must adapt, so be it, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. Avatar might have brought back credibility to 3D technology, and very well it did, but now, like it, I feel that 48fps will be shoved down our throats like bad genitelea.

The good of it all is how crisp the images look. Followed by excellent cinematography, costume designs and make up artists, these Red Epic cameras reinvigorate Jackson's thumb for cinematic quality. While at a convention, there where fans whom were treated to the new frames, were simply turned off because it looked like a bad Soap Opera. Seeing the Hobbit in regular 2D, there was only one scene where I managed to see what those angry fans meant, and that was the conversation (spoilers) between Gandalf and Saruman. Notice the motions, and you will be shocked. Finally, on the whole HFR topic, Jackson is very good with a camera, but I felt that some of his longshots were forced only to make a point with how 48fps works.

The cherry on top is Howard Shore's music. Though miles behind his magnificent work with the Lord of the Rings, all his composition here may be a bit repetitive around the Misty Mountains song, but without a doubt, the Dwarves singing was as beautiful to the ears as Pipin's song in Return of the King. It will be the theme of the Hobbit as was the theme before for the previous trilogy.

Overall, not a full star worthy start. It has it's flaws, like any other film, for none are perfect, but despite being a lighter tone and a little familiar, it works. I would watch it again gladly.

Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.

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Comments (32)

  1. Julian Roman

    @bawnian-dexeus, nice review dude!

    2 years agoby @julianromanFlag

  2. Lynchian

    Comparisons to some enlivened characters made me bite my tongue- Aragorn has no compatibility with Thorin.

    The visual stylisation doesn't feel consistent with the previous films.

    The sharp opening (Prologue) was both poorly executed and vastly cheap looking. But overall the film succeeds in being an epic, and being shot 48fps does give it both a vast scope, and in segments, back in Rivendale it heightened the sets, the palettes, the matt paintings.

    A long review, but you get your points across vividly.

    2 years agoby @LynchianFlag

  3. skywise

    @bawnian-dexeus It is a manly dwarves song but I thought the females added an extra level of texture that was nice.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  4. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @the-movieghost True. Could have used deeper voiced men and zero women, but I do love me some cover songs.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  5. the MovieGhost

    @bawnian-dexeus Ah yes, I came across that a few days ago while hunting for the full soundtrack. As good as it is, it takes away from the experience having people that AREN'T Dwarves sing it. At least for me :P

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  6. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @the-movieghost@moviegeek@narrator@ejk1@skywise@dan 1

    Look what I found


    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  7. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @skywise As for me losing interest, well, the marketing sucked, the majority of posters looked terrible, especially the IMAX ones. The first trailer was good, but not overwhelming. In the end, I was satisfied, and I await part two.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  8. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @narrator How come the Orcs spoke in another language? Or do they learn English over time? Or did Jackson never thought to include it in the Ring trilogy?

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  9. moviegeek

    @bawnian-dexeus The stretched out ones? i was referring to the dinner at Bilbo's home and the encounter with the troll-ogre things in the woods that took SO long.

    2 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  10. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @narrator Great minds think alike

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  11. the Narrator

    I buckled and read your review, @bawnian-dexeus. Great stuff, a lot more detail than you usually include in your reviews, and overall a very good review on a pretty entertaining film. Glad we agreed (the two of us and ejk1) on the 4/5 score of the film.

    2 years agoby @narratorFlag

  12. ejk1

    @bawnian-dexeus Excellent review. I also made a comparison between Thorin and Aragorn. And its fps? Gotcha.

    2 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  13. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @skywise Well, ok that makes sense...either way, it can be argued and challenged easily.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  14. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @moviegeek I'm guessing you'r referring to the break out from the Goblin King?

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  15. skywise

    @bawnian-dexeus Hey great review. I was curious for your opinion because a while back it seemed like you started to lose interest in this film.

    The Eagles thing is pretty simple, they had to wait until The Eye was destoyed before flying in. Those Eagles would have been ripped to shred by the dark riders. Thats why the 2 small hobbits had to slip in unoticed. That HISHE is funny as hell tho.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  16. moviegeek

    Great review..

    I purposefully avoided the 48fps because I know what it looks like and I hate it. The film was good, but nothing more. Had some great moments, and other moments that were far too stretched out.

    2 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  17. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @the-movieghost Well, difficult to say. Never read any of the books, but I guess he wants to cover everything so ill let it slide. I could make a case for it being about the money, but then I'd be wrong

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  18. the MovieGhost

    @bawnian-dexeus Oh, whoops, I meant the stretching of The Hobbit over three movies.

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  19. thedude-abides

    @bawnian-dexeus For starters, it would've been better had it not ended an hour before the credits rolled, lol. Anyway, I'll check it out.

    2 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  20. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @superman81 In regards to the Eagles, no doubt it wouldn't be much of a journey, but in a way, the birds kind of deflate the entirety of the adventure. So many lives that could have been saved and such. Nevertheless, I enjoy watching them take down the Nazgul and the dragons with each viewing

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  21. Superman81

    Very nice review. I think everyone wonders about the eagles, but I guess it wouldn't be much of a journey. I liked Thorin but comparing him to Aragorn for me isn't right. Aragorn is conflicted by his past kin and whether or not he should take his place as King. Thorin just wants to reclaim his home. He doesn't have he weight of Middle Earth on his shoulders like Aragorn did, though without Frodo none of it would have been possible. I also felt Aragorn was a more skilled fighter. I think even Gimli was better, he would have whooped Azgog for sure. Just my take. Once again great review.

    2 years agoby @superman81Flag

  22. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @thedude-abides Yus. Look for it on youtube.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  23. thedude-abides

    @bawnian-dexeus I've not seen that. Is it about LOTR?

    2 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  24. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @thedude-abides Thanks, btw. As per the Eagles, after watching How It Should Have Ended, particularly the LOTR edition, they were so right and so funny about that detail, it raises some obvious questions.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  25. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @thedude-abides I added one last paragraph, regarding Gollum. I can't believe I forgot, jaja.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  26. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @the-movieghost Thanks. Sorry, but could you rephrase that question? Not sure I know what you are asking. I'm not known for my vocabulary.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag