Monday, December 17, 2012

Movie review - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit comes to life from director Peter Jackson in grand form. The story begins with an elder Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing his memoirs before his birthday party as seen in The Fellowship Of The Ring. Martin Freeman (Sherlock) is the young Bilbo, a very content Hobbit. Not one to cause waves, just living a relaxed life. Until, that is Gandalf (Ian McKellan) enrolls him on a very unexpected journey to save the Dwarve's homeland from a very nasty dragon that has taken up residence. This sets the stage for an adventure the likes never seen. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first of a 3 part film trilogy based on the work of J.R.R Tolkien. This is also the first film made using the newest film technology, the EPIC RED camera.

First the film, The Hobbit is nothing short of a great adventure film. Familiar characters return and the new characters are endearing.Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armirage) leads the group of Dwarve's to The Lonely Mountain. Much like the Journey in The Lord Of The Rings. Of course, they encounter trouble along the way. Goblins, Orcs, Trolls and Necromancers abound. Pacing can be a tad slow at times but, an epic action scene pulls you back in soon enough. There isn't much character development with the new group of adventurer's however. This is somewhat disappointing as, you really want to know more about them. Weta Digital, Jackson's special effects studio truly outdid themselves this time. The special effects are truly fantastic. Gollum's scene is an amazing standout. I wish there were more of him but, his scene is pivitol.

The Tech used to film this is the EPIC RED camera system. This films at 48 frames per second versus the standard filming of 24 frames per second. This produces a very sharp, fast moving image on screen. I'm not sure I like it or not yet. The picture is amazingly sharp, like an HD television. At times, the image moved a bit too fast, particularly during big action scenes. Watching Drawves' move so fast was almost like watching a Benny Hill skit. It can be compared to a made for TV movie or a soap opera kind of picture. I'm interested on if this will gain ground in hollywood. It wasn't bad per se, just new. The Hobbit is a great start for the trilogy, I just would have wanted a bit faster pace and more character development.

4 out of 5 stars


  1. Fine review Chris. I may still have fleeting doubt for the trilogy, but at the same time, I can't wait to see where it will go from here. Middle Earth is the place to be for 2012.

  2. I thought about writing my own review but Chris pretty much said everything I was going to say. Just a few things to add.
    As far as character development I had a bigger problem with the first Lord of the Rings. People just showed up in that movie without any introduction and I felt if you did not read the books you were at a great disadvantage. In this movie I at least had a vague idea of who was who and while we might not get to know many of the Dwarves we get a sense of who they are as a whole. I had my doubts when I heard they were making one book into three movies it seemed a little overboard and I get a sense that a lot of what Jackson wanted to add was to set up the LOTR series. With all the foreshadowing going on in this movie I am not sure if they are setting up for the next Hobbit or LOTR.
    I agree the Gollum part is one of the more fun parts.
    The HFR does take a little getting used to, but everything does look crisp. I also thought that some of the faster paced action sequences looked like a Benny Hill skit in HFR, but I was able to see it with someone who had previously saw it in 2D. What she told me was in the HFR you could tell what was going on and keep track of the action. At 24 fps it was just a big blur. So in that respects the HFR is better.
    Overall I agree with Chris 4 out of 5 stars. Too much foreshadowing and setting up future movies.
    As far as the HFR goes it will be interesting to see how future movies incorporate it. Will it be the wave of the future or a passing fad? Only time will tell.