The first in a trilogy of films based on the enduring masterpiece The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who - along with the Wizard Gandalf and 13 Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield – is swept into an epic, quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome Dragon Smaug. Their journey will take them into the Wild, through treacherous lands inhabited by Goblins, Ores and deadly Wargs, as well as a mysterious and sinister figure known only as the Necromancer. Along the path, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even himself, he also gains possession of a "precious" ring tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways he cannot begin to imagine.
The Hobbit: A Disappointing & Unoriginal Journey
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review by Alex D.
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You rated this film: 0
An unexpected journey, indeed.
If you expected The Hobbit would turn to be a great movie, you may want to expect the unexpected.
I mean, yes, the title character is masterfully performed by Martin Freeman; Gandalf, Galadriel and the beautiful landscapes are as enjoyable as ever, but that's about it. Oh yeah, there are a few scenic sunsets, too. What's left of the movie (like, the movie itself?!) suffers and seems all too repetitive.
At the root of all this movie's evils is... greed. To near-sighted executives, three movies mean thrice the profit. You can do that with Lord of the Rings, which has three books rich with story and detail. But turning the simpler, younger-audience-oriented story of The Hobbit into three movies is simply overkill. And it shows. The director desperately tries to find more content to fit into the movie. Thus he puts in the movie aspects of the Middle Earth universe not covered in the book. He gives extended screen time to insignificant events (including a 40 minute introduction) and he shamelessly bloats the movie with long, drawn-out fighting scenes, obnoxiously peppered with ridiculously cheap thrills.
There is that "cliffhanger" expression, but here it's obnoxiously literal. The whole movie is a non-stop race of literal cliffhanger moments. To give just an example, imagine a character hanging over a precipice, after having grabbed at the last possible moment, while falling, from another character that hangs himself from Gandalf's staff, that was stretched at the last possible moment towards him, to save him from a deadly fall; Gandalf himself grabbing the branch of a tree that itself hangs horizontally over the precipice, gradually uprooting itself, nestling the other members of Bilbo's party, that hang for dear life after managing to save themselves in that last standing three, which was itself knocked over in a domino effect by a series of falling trees on a thin stretch of land hanging over a precipice, where the warg-riding goblins cornered them, eventually, after a drawn-out chasing and fighting scene. Oh yes and when they all eventually fall from that tree, guess what, the giant eagles appear and catch them, at the last possible moment. That's an actual scene that pretty much sums up the whole movie, in all it's revolting obnoxious abuse of cheesy thrills.
So if you think you can withstand such a revolting insult to your intelligence, then, by all means, go see the movie, there's Bilbo in it, and Gandalf, and Galadriel and beautiful landscapes and scenic sunsets. But, after having watched the LOTR series it seems all too familiar and samey and quite vacuous by comparison. Much overrated in my opinion but still perhaps worth seeing.
Overlong, too many CGI battles, but passable pixie and wizard fantasy fare
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review by PV
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You rated this film: 3
This film at its worst is like the tedious 2nd part of Lord of the Rings - with boring battle after boring battle.
However, there is enough story to keep it going - and some really excellent dialogue (from the book or the film), especially by Ian McKellen playing Gandalf. Sylvester McCoy does a good turn as a scatty St-Francis of Assisi-style wizard, with some lovely animals, although the plot points are a bit confusing sometimes.
The dwarfs are good - (yep, it should be dwarfs and NOT dwarves as they use here in the subtitles) - and there is some great British acting talent on display: Christopher Lee (AKA Dracula) is almost 90 and still does a great turn. Plus, I am delighted they use the word 'chips' to mean, well, chips! And not 'fries'. The New Zealand scenery if lovely too.
I would advise use of subtitles to appreciate the dialogue, as with lots of noisy movies these days - unless you are a child who just wants the pictures and noises and bright colours.
All in all, not a bad effort. 3 stars - and would have been 4 if they had shown self-discipline and cut out the flab to make this 2 hours. Really, it is too long - and the orc CGI battles are boring, frankly.
How much you like this movie depends on how much you are in love with elves, wizards, orcs, dwarfs and the whole LOTR schtick.