Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

[an enjoyable return to Middle Earth]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
IMDB- 8.7 (Top 250: #88)
Rottentomatoes- 65%
RJG Ratings- 95

Gandalf,recruits Bilbo Baggins to accompany him & 13 dwarves on a grand adventure.

Starring- Martin Freeman,Ian McKellen,Richard Armitage
Director- Peter Jackson

Hobbit is a novel written by JRR Tolkien back in 1937 ,which is a prequel to the events that take place in The Lord of The Rings.Director Peter Jackson had first envisioned The Hobbit as a 2 part movie but as shooting progressed ,he realised the Hobbit could be expanded into 3 movies rather than 2.

Martin Freeman plays the central character ,Bilbo Baggins.Ian McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf.Richard Armitage plays the 3rd central character ,Thorin.These 3 do a wonderful job and give very strong performances.The supporting cast (the other 12 dwarves) do great ,but due to the large number, none manage to stand out.The chemistry between the cast is undeniable and it gives the movie a very strong emotional touch.Andy Serkis returns as Gollum ,but sadly its only a cameo.But he very much steals the show with his terrific acting!

The story for The Hobbit isnt a direct adaptation of the 1937 novel.Being just one short novel ,its division into 3 movies had the audiences wondering how Jackson could pull it off (comparatively ,Lord of The Rings Trilogy was based on 3 novels).Jackson added more story, referring to the appendixes of the Lord of the Rings ,and introduced more characters ,and gave the 13 dwarves more character development.
The result? The story for An Unexpected Journey is not only enough ,it overflows.It has plenty to run upon, but theres a catch to this.It makes Hobbit Part 1 completely dependent on the next two movies.Unlike Fellowship of the Ring (LOTR 1), An Unexpected Journey leaves almost every storyline open for the second movie to continue.Theres no proper conclusion to anything.
Another thing is that much of the depth of the story is only realisable to those who have watched Lord Of The Rings.There are many shots and items that directly relate to the LOTR movies ,and fans will love them.

Peter Jackson once again delivers justice to the material.Although he has altered much of it ,the story still brings you back into the magical world of Middle Earth.
But the major criticism is the length of the movie.An Unexpected Journey is around 2hr 40min long.The fans wont mind sitting and enjoying the whole movie, but the fact that the movie could have been shortened by atleast 20min is undeniable! Many scenes tend to drag on with talks on Middle Earth ,it wont bother the fans,but it might not be very interesting to casual movie audiences.Plus the fact that this movie is entirely dependent on Hobbit Part 2 ,dulls An Unexpected Journey's significance.
The pacing of the movie is average.It isnt fast paced nor dull ,and sticks to a very well balanced presentation.Jackson does brilliant directing and plays with illusions too well.His dedication to the movie ,can be clearly be seen onscreen.

Compared to LOTR ,Hobbit is not as intense ,but is a very enjoyable and light hearted movie.It has its set of brilliant action sequences ,and the extremely beautiful New Zealand landscape will just leave you spell bound.The music is uplifting and amazing.

Now to the technical side.Hobbit is the first movie to be shot entirely in 48fps (
I saw it in normal 2d version ,and based on the various shots and sequences i feel 48fps+3D will be an amazing experience.BUT the length of the movie is the major problem maker.At almost 3hrs long, i feel ,Hobbit is too long to watch at one stretch on 48fps and might cause headaches and strain since we arent used to such long duration of high frame rate movie watching.Better leave the 48fps experimentation for the DVD.

Overall,The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is an excellent fantasy movie ,that packs in much drama and fun and is guaranteed to not disappoint any fans of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.The movie is a great watch for families and all.Plus, it sets the grand stage for the next 2 movies.Cant wait for The Desolation of Smaug (2013) !

Acting- 4.5/5
Story- 4/5
Direction- 5/5
Action- 5/5
Drama- 4.5/5
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