“Far over the Misty Mountains cold…” – An Immediate Review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Needless to say, I just got back from the midnight release of The Hobbit, so it’s 3am and I’m about ready to burst with all the things I want to say about it! AH! My immediate reaction: Totally fantastic, I really, really enjoyed myself. There were some annoyances, some of which or over-the-top nerdy, nit-picky things, others just glaringly obnoxious and unnecessary, but I’ll get into that later.

Let’s be real, you know there are going to be spoilers, but if you haven’t read the book, it’s your own damn fault. So let’s get to it!

By far my favorite promotional poster.

By far my favorite promotional poster.

The movie begins the day of Bilbo’s 111th birthday, the same day the The Fellowship of the Ring begins on (complete with “No Admittance Except on Party Business” sign. Frodo is meandering about, being himself (you know, the sweet, carefree Frodo before the Ring fucks him up forever), Bilbo is writing about his adventures – finally. I’m really glad it started out this way, because it sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

The Hobbit was written as a children’s book. It’s a mere 300(ish) pages. People are all in an uproar about how Peter Jackson made a huge mistake by deciding to split the book into three movies. Let’s face facts guys, yes he’s out to make money. BUT, he’s also determined to make fans happy. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again. I think this movie captured the tone and essence of The Hobbit as a book almost to a T. It’s not supposed to be serious like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy! It’s a book about a guy who goes on an adventure with a bunch of dwarves and gets into lots of nigh-on slapstick shenanigans. Sure there’s foreshadowing (much more in the movie than in the book), and sure there are some serious moments, but overall, it did a really nice job conveying the whimsical nature of the book.

Before I gush some more, let me talk about what I didn’t like. The White Orc. What? Who the…? He was a complete unnecessary plot device that, yes, added some drama, but in the end, had very little to add to the overall plot of the story. It was a made-up subplot that was shaky, unnecessary, and frankly a bit overbearing. It was like the writer were trying to shove this contrived conflict between Thorin and this dude down our throats. No thank you. I sorely hope that his role is limited in the next film. I can’t say that I’ve read every letter of the appendices and the encyclopedias of Middle Earth history, but I don’t remember anything about this guy. Which is not to say he didn’t exist, maybe he totally did and I missed it, but I don’t remember him having any part in The Hobbit.

The pacing was shit. Utter shit. But if we accept the fact that three movies are inevitable, then we have to learn to live with the sloooow pacing. It’s obnoxious, but nothing’s going to change in the next movies, so let’s just deal. If they’re gonna go slow, at least they’re taking the time to bring each page to life…

Also, why are people upset about the 48fps? I honestly didn’t notice, or rather, did notice anything about the frame rate that took away from the experience. People complain that it doesn’t look real, right? But let’s compare it to popular daytime soap operas. At least in my opinion, it looked nothing like that. I’m actually not a huge fan of Blueray and super HD stuff because it’s distracting, but I didn’t find it to be a problem with this movie. Maybe my eyes are just weird.

My body wasn't ready

The eyes, oh my.

The dwarves made me smile always. Fili and Kili? Super fun eye candy, and the rest each had their own way of standing out while still remaining a cohesive unit. Thorin himself was captured very well. Let’s be real, Thorin is an asshole, and Richard Armitage played that fine line between total dickish princeliness, and noble royalty very well. His face was always captivating and intense, just as it should have been.

Riddles in the Dark. Riddles. In. The. Dark. Andy Serkis has done it again (not that I’m surprised, he’s a god among men as far as actors are concerned). In the original trilogy they did motion capture on his body, but in this film they also motion captured his face, which is fantastic technologically, but also shows how amazing Andy Serkis IS as Gollum. Yeah there’s CG in there, plenty of it, but the character could not come to life as thoroughly without him. The whole Riddles in the Dark scene was awesome, and really reinforced my love for Bilbo. I had been feeling like we were missing him a bit in terms of screen time until that scene. There are great swaths of time when he doesn’t have any lines at all really, which is unfortunate because his delivery is always right on point. But he weaved his riddles just as I pictured Bilbo in the book doing. The writing was great, the staging was great, just really overall a fantastic scene. Maybe a tad short, but…effective all the same.

I’ll finish this up with my love for Martin Freeman. Love him. He makes the perfect Bilbo, absolutely perfect. Goofy, clumsy, self-aware, heroic, compassionate, witty, and vulnerable, all in one. There’s something impressive about the way he’s able to embody each of his characters personality-wise and manage to actually look like them. As John Watson in Sherlock, he plays a similar (in a sarcastic, sassy way) character, but not only do the two characters look precisely as I imagine them to, but they are distinctly different. Bilbo is adequately sassy himself and has a ton of wonderful moments. Like this one:


TLDR? Go see it, but don’t expect it to be anything like The Lord of the Rings. Which is precisely the way it should be.

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  1. An unexpected reading competition | datanode.net
  2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | She Reviews Everything

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