Movie Reviews

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage

Release Date: Fri, Dec 14, 2012

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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  1. Bdavis  •  Dec 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Respectfully disagree. This movie was terrible. The writing and pacing was horrible.
    The CG was great as usual from Weta, Gollum of course was fantastic. But those facts alone did not make up for all the negative.

  2. Igetstabby  •  Dec 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Love this movie! Better than LotR so far. LotR was for movie fans, The Hobbit is for the book’s fans! It surprised me how close he’s keeping with the book this time. The only part that he did wrong was Gollum saying ”time’s up,” when he knows the answer’s ”time.” Other than that, it’s perfect in 24 frames. Next, to see it in 48 FR, 3D IMAX!

  3. BMW  •  Dec 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I’m afraid I have to respectfully disagree with Michael on this review. Although are tastes normally dovetail, this movie had great production values, looked wonderful and had great actors, but bore little relation to the original story. Gone is Bjorn the Bear; and we have the politically correct, environmentalist “Brown-Wizard” who rides a giant rabbit-powered sleigh… and likes to share Gandalf’s now ganja filled pipe, and who never appeared in the original novel.. Then we devolve into a too-long battle under the mountain, obviously made for the rabid 3-D crowd, but lost on the story-loving movie goer; been there, done that. I don’t drink that cool-aide anymore, thank-you!
    If you don’t wish to see what went wrong with Peter Jacksons “King-Kong”, then by all means see this film. I would advise you keep your money and look for a film with the entire story in one, nearly 3hour film, instead of ripping you out of 12 bucks and only getting half the story.

    • Justin  •  Dec 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Obviously you are not familiar with the book, BMW, because if you were, you would of course know that ‘Beorn’ (not Bjorn) does not appear until after the eagles sequence (which is the end of this film). In fact, as one who reads the book once a year, I can tell you that the story bears far more resemblance to the original book than most adaptations of literature do. I was astounded how little the plot changed from the book, as well as how much original dialogue was adapted straight from Tolkien to the screenplay. You really should reread the book again.

      Radagast was one of the weaker parts of the film, but it’s a massive stretch to call him a ‘politically correct environmentalist’. His character is not inconsistent with his place in Tolkien’s writings.

      I will grant you that the battle scenes under the mountain were overdone. Still, it’s a minor point of concern to me. I can live with a cheesy battle scene as long as the characters and story delivers.

      Thorin’s character is expanded on: He is as Tolkien wrote him, but with more material. Bilbo as brilliant, as was the scene with him and Gollum – adapted in a shockingly exact replica of the book. I would practically have to have the book sitting in front of me to find where that scene was changed for film (okay, not quite – several of the riddles are eliminated for time, and the blocking is a bit different than Tolkien wrote it. Far from extreme changes).

      Overall, better than ‘Fellowship’, not as good as ‘Towers’, jury is still out between it and ‘Return’.

  4. Blazer  •  Dec 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I also respectfully disagree, not only with Michael, but with BMW. The “Brown Wizard” and Bjorn “the Bear Man” are both in the book, however, the Bear Man comes after when this movie ends. Peter Jackson also includes all of the appendices material from other Tolkien books that were applicable to the time of The Hobbit, so the Hobbit movies are covering more than just the book “The Hobbit”.

    Having said that and being a HUGE Tolkien fan, this movie is a “love/hate” relationship for me. Overall, LOVE the movie, including the MANY deviations from the original story that seem reasonable to make the movie better. The “hate” (I know, too strong a word) part comes from the fantastically unbelievable scenes going into the mountains and then under the mountains. Without offering any spoilers here, these were not only vastly different (except the Gollum interaction) from the original story, they also required such a massive stretch of believability that they became absurd, i.e. falling hundreds of feet without anyone suffering even a minor injury.

    I can’t imagine why Jackson needed to go to such levels of absurdity for these scenes. Had he simply tweaked the book’s version, it would have not only been more true to the story, but made for a more powerful scene, i.e. anticipating the characters “not making it” versus “that was totally unreal and beyond imagining” which almost ruined that part of the movie.

    So, go see the movie. No, do not take pre-teens; many heads are separated from bodies and some of the monsters will certainly frighten most children.

    • rob  •  Feb 4, 2013 at 1:31 am

      Blazer–I totally agree—loved the movie until the special effects in the final third essentially drained all the danger and menace from the story. Evil lost it’s ability to do real harm—Jackson needs to remember the truth of the old addage “less is more”. At least he didn’t do real damage to the integrity of Tolkien’s story as previously in the LOTR. I’m thinking of the “Flight to the ford”, robbing both Frodo and the Black Riders of a great moment in the book, the over the top special effects in Moria, as well as ignoring critical elements of the plot, Frodo’s grating and obnoxious scream when Gandalf fell with the Balrog, marring a scene that he got RIGHT, the transformation of Gandalf, who WAS more powqerful than the witch king into a wise, old Ninja warrior in the Third film, absolutely butchering the confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King in the siege of Gondor etc…And yet….he does manage to capture Middle Earth. Tone down the final thid of this movie, and maintain a sense of suspense and danger and then I would agree with Michael.

  5.  •  Dec 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Totally agree, Michael. One does leave the theater wanting more (just like the first time around). However, my two sons and I saw this in 3D – HFR and it was disconcerting and a bit off-putting for the first 30 minutes (my 12 yr-old said to me, “dad, is this the actual movie?”), but then one gets used to it and all is well. (though we do plan on seeing this is regular 2D over Christmas break also.)

  6. Kick  •  Dec 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I don’t often disagree with Michael about anything but “The Hobbit” was a bore, I give it two stars and those are for the cinematography and special effects.

    The first hour could have been edited down to ten minutes without losing any part of the original story. And when the “adventure” finally began the story was lost to almost non stop pointless “action” on the order of the final two “Star Wars” movies.

    For a “film epic” to be an epic a moral certainties have to be affirmed throughout. About 10% of this film is about Dwarfs desire to retake their homeland which was good but the other 90% was mind numbing non stop “fight or flight” scenes.

    I’ve only walked out on four or five movies in my life, and if I had not been with my entire family I would have walked out of The Hobbit after the first hour. I was so relieved when it was finally over and we could go home again.

    But I dread the thought of two more boring three hour Hobbit films that could have, and should have been edited down to one two hour film. Perhaps one day for TV someone will do just that.

  7. RayL  •  Dec 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    As an unappologetic Tolkien nut, I whole-heartedly agree with Michael’s review. Being fully ensconced in Middlearth again (upon my third viewing) feels as enlivening as ever. Composer Howard Shore music set to the dwarves solemn lyrics from the book will happily rattle around in my head for a long time. Backstory additions such as the history of Eriabor and seeing visuals for the “Necromancer” and the deliberations of the “White Council” were a delight. Portrayal of Radagast as a comic foil did not match my image of him but is a forgivable sacrifice in making the movie palatable to those who did not read the book, and can’t really be wrong, since so little is written of him. Departures from the text I found puzzling, since often the book’s narrative was more compelling. Many tweaks to the storyline are there to present the theme of a reluctant Hobbit’s transformation from goat to hero and are ultimately palatable. My greatest discomfort came when, in legitimately tense situation the movie’s directors felt the need to go over the top to make their calamity seem cartoonish and absurd. The ‘slow start’ did not seem so at all to me, not only to fit in some of he wittiest dialog from the book, but to propery define the many characters. I can’t wait for the next one!

  8. Kathleen Everitt  •  Dec 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I absolutely loved this movie. I was actually afraid of being disappointed but not to worry. The time passed quickly as I sat spellbound at this, my first 3D experience. Peter Jackson is amazing. He captures the spirit of Tolkien exactly.

  9. Sandy  •  Jan 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    A short and nice reprieve from reality for me!

  10. Kevin  •  Jan 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I saw the movie twice – the second time because my daughters wanted to treat me to it and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I had already seen it. With the first viewing, I was so disappointed that I actually felt embarrassed for the actors; however, I did enjoy the second viewing. The difference was that I spent the first viewing ticking off the many discrepancies between the movie and the book. The second time, I just enjoyed it as a movie and as a new visit to Middle Earth. There is one irritating (to me) problem with the movie and that is the way in which it mixes the ‘fairy tale’ aspects of the book with the ‘serious’ story. I wish that Jackson had opened the movie with a scene showing a hobbit parent telling his children a folktale from the dim and distant past rather than with Bilbo writing a first-hand account of the affair. That would have allowed for some poetic license in the telling.

  11. Henry C. Freeman  •  Jan 12, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Sheer fantasy with great characters. I loved the movie and felt like a
    young boy again in another world. The special affects in IMAX (3-D) were super.

    The theme is conquering “good over evil” which it does so well.

    As a side note, Tolkien was a prof. at Oxford who convinced T.S. Lewis, an atheist, to read the Bible and he later became a Christian.

  12. Keith Gardner  •  Jan 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    I’m afraid I’m also one who had a love/hate relationship with the movie. Love the story, even with the deviations, unnecessary though they were and only thrown in to show how “creative” the director could be. I thought the dwarves singing at the beginning was well done, wish they had more. (I’m rather puzzled by Justin and others who said Beorn didn’t appear in the book till the battle with the eagles at the end. He was where Gandalf took them after they had lost their baggage in Moria (yes, it was an early Moria) when the goblins captured them. Oh, well..)

    I absolutely HATED the camera work. Frankly, I have hated most camera work in so-called action films because it almost makes me nauseous, all the flashing around, the blurred movement from one spot to another. Really stupid, in my mind. Designed for the 3-D, of course, but also for the modern attention span of only about 4 seconds. The screen actually looked like exactly what hollywood spent millions of dollars on special cameras and software to PREVENT in the days of really great movies a few decades ago.

    Overall, I loved it but won’t spend the $10 a head to go see the next two, I’ll wait till the DVDs come out. That is the fault of the actual theaters, however, not the movie itself. Unfortunately, now we get to pay to be inundated with ear bleeding commercials and previews for 30 to 40 minutes after published showtimes then a volume that is barely discernable during the movie. Sad.

  13. ChrisB  •  Jan 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Been a fan of LotR for decades (and that iincludes The Hobbit). I enjoyed the film and found it generally in line with Tolkien’s work, but also take umbrage at Jackson for his diversions from the written book.

    Not that I’m a purist, it just that when Jackson goes “off-trail” he has a tendency to do so whole hog. The way-over-the-top battle scene is the best example of that in this work. The battle scenes in Towers and Return were representations of a truly epic struggle, and I think he did a great job with those scenes. It looks as though he tried to create another “epic” scene here when the character set could only support a “dramatic” flight.

    So, write down your vote but hang onto it until after film-2. We all know we’re going to go see it…

  14. John  •  Mar 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I as well had a love/hate relationship with the movie. First, as a movie, well done Peter Jackson! Good battle scenes and a good job of portraying
    Middle-Earth in a different way from LOTR. The camera work did make me dizzy at times though.

    Second, as someone who did read the book (it’s my favorite by the way), a bit of a dissapointment. The weakest point I thought of the whole movie was the creation of the new antagonist The Pale Orc. What was the point in creating a character that Tolkien never created? I was also dissapointed in how slow the movie was compared to the fast paced LOTR trilogy which I thought were better than this movie. Also, another BIG thing Peter Jackson added was Thorin’s hatred toward elves. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember anywhere in The Hobbit book about him hating Elves. I know that Dwarves and Elves look down upon each other in Middle-Earth but I thought Jackson took it to an extreme.

    Just as a note, I’ve done research into how Tolkien potrayed Radagast. Although he’s not a major character in any of the books, Tolkien did describe him as a lover of nature. You’ll have to do your own research and come to your own conclusion on that aspect.

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