We interrupt the normally scheduled 25 Days of Christmas Movie Posts, to bring you my review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And let me clarify what I mean by the title. I always expected to like this film....but when the less than lukewarm reviews came out, my expectations dropped severely and I went from overwhelmingly excited to still excited, but on the cautiously optimistic side. So by that measure, I was not expecting to absolutely adore the film quite like I did. Maybe it was because I was just simply excited to be returning to Middle Earth once again....but I think the film has much more going for it than just that.
One of the best things this film has going for it is Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. He could very well be my favorite hobbit (nah.......Sam has got that pretty well wrapped up for now....) Don't get me wrong, I like Elijah Wood very much as well as his Frod,. but something about Bilbo is far more interesting to me. Frodo always just rolled with the punches and tried meekly to do all that was asked of him. Bilbo you can see is just completely out of his element....and thus becomes a little more relatable to the viewer.
The other thing The Hobbit has going for it is the return of many things that made the trilogy so great: Ian McKellan's Gandalf, Cate Blanchett's Galadriel, the amazing scenery and the overall magic felt in Middle Earth. This film carries a very different tone than those films. It's far more lighthearted and less grave. So that might make one feel that it's less epic. Not so for me, but I suppose I could understand feeling that way. The thing is, they ARE different stories set in different times so they should be different. To me the feel was much more how the Narnian films SHOULD have been. Just a wonderful, magical adventure. And let me just say......if somehow....SOMEHOWWWWW after Peter Jackson is done with this trilogy someone could hand him the reigns of Narnia and reboot it that would just be wonderful (Just start with The Magician's Nephew this time...) It absolutely breaks my heart when I see how fabulous these movies turned out, compared to how poorly Narnia was handled. Anyway....side tangent over. What I MEANT to say, was that the way Peter Jackson creates the film version of Middle Earth is fantastic. Tolkien obviously gave him all the great material, but material isn't all that's needed in making a fantastic film as seen by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader or Prince Caspian.
But back to An Unexpected Journey, another thing returning from the old trilogy that makes this film GREAT is Andy Serkis' Gollum. Seriously, every scene he and Bilbo share is just chilling....I was certainly on the edge of my seat. But, I will admit, I have not actually read any of these books (I don't know....something about the made up languages and the endless detail scared me to death...) so maybe that's why I'm not as upset as some people are with how the story is being stretched and liberties being taken. As a viewer with only knowledge of the previous films, I loved it. Someday maybe I will have to read them and then maybe I could sympathize. I mean..... it is hard to imagine two more films coming from this one adventure. I admit, I was shocked to find out that this movie would be 3 hours just like all the others (PJ sure has a hard time cutting stuff out doesn't he?) and it did kind of take awhile to get going....And yeah there ARE a lot of dwarves to keep track of that it does get overwhelming (and yeah I never thought I'd say this....but one or two of the dwarves are actualllllly hot.... side tangent!) But once the action started, I was thoroughly entertained and very much awake (remember how much I struggled during the Skyfall midnight showing? No problems here!) So yeah....I can understand some people's concerns in the validity of this being an actual trilogy. Is there enough material? Well....Peter Jackson has kept me pretty happy so far, so I'm just going to roll with it. Plus....I can't complain about the more trips I take to Middle Earth both real and cinematic (dang I STILL need to do my NZ post!) So that's all for now folks. I'll see you back in Middle Earth this time next year, and I can't wait :) Oh and I'll give it a 9.5/10