Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

The_Hobbit-_An_Unexpected_Journey-posterLet’s get this out of the way: Director Peter Jackson‘s decision to show The Hobbit in 48fps (frames per second) is not the end of cinema. If you haven’t heard of 48fps, that just means the way the film is shown. It’s projected at a high frame rate that looks crystal clear, some might say too clear. Here’s the deal, if you’ve ever watched a blu-ray movie played on an HDTV, you’ve basically seen what 48fps looks like. It’s just that now, it’s on a huge screen.

Should you see it this way? I would. That’s what Jackson intended when he made the film, so I’m of the opinion that you always see the film the way the filmmaker intended.

Plus, it’ll make the film at least somewhat interesting.

The Hobbit takes place before the events of the first Lord of the Rings. In the first few scenes, we see the old Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) getting ready for the party that takes place at the beginning of the L.O.T.R’s. Frodo (Elijah Wood) is there helping and at first, it’s like old home week. Then, we quickly flashback to young Bilbo and his very first adventure. Martin Freeman, as young Bilbo, is in the same house and our story begins.

But, it takes a good hour for the story to actually begin. With character introduction after character introduction, a song here and there, the story only starts in hour two but by that time, I was already checking my watch (ok, my phone because I don’t have a watch).

The film finally picks up speed when the actual adventure begins but as I watched the film unfold, I felt that there was something missing. What was it? It has some spectacular action scenes, the 3D is pretty great and the actors are fine.

What was it?

Then I figured it out. One of the main things that I loved about the first trilogy was the comraderie, friendship and brotherhood between it’s core group of Hobbits; Frodo (Wood), Sam (Sean Astin), Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd).

That’s what was missing. This film just isn’t as fun as the previous ones were. Martin Freeman is fine as Bilbo – although a friend of mine did mention that at times, Freeman did seem like he was in another film – but he has no one from his world of Hobbit-dom to really interact with. The cast of dwarves are all good but he’s a stranger in a strange land and after we see the first couple instances of that, it’s gets pretty repetitive.

As usual, the standouts in these films are Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Man, those two are just fantastic and they’re work here is worth the price of admission. 

I think fans of the series will love it but casual moviegoers will be as bored as I was.


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