The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Directed by Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchette
Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) loves the simple life he’s leading in the Shire. With his comfortable hobbit hole he lives in peace and harmony with those around him. When the wizard Gandalf (McKellen) appears on his doorstep, Bilbo is offered the chance to go on an adventure. His quick refusal is met with a unique company of Dwarves looking for one more member for their group. Soon they’re on their way into the unknown lands of Middle Earth. Their quest, to return to The Lonely Mountain and reclaim the home of the ancient Dwarves that had been taken by the dragon Smaug.
When The Lord of the Rings films were announced I was a bit surprised that The Hobbit was not included in the titles named. The first three films Jackson made from the works of Tolkien were amazing movies. The end of the third film left me even more hopeful that The Hobbit would be made. Now, nine years after the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, we have the next installment from Peter Jackson. One of the biggest aspects of the new movie is the return of many of the cast members. Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchette, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee, and even Elijah Wood returned to help make this great film. The new stars include Martin Freeman (Hot Fuzz), Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger), and a whole bunch of other great actors. (With a film like this I’m not going to attempt to name all the people who play important parts.)
I came into this movie with incredibly high expectations. The first three films are among my favorites, and they collected a total of 17 Oscars. Peter Jackson didn’t disappoint with this new movie. One of the things I love about the first three films Jackson did was his deep understanding of the emotional needs of his characters. The relationships between the characters made The Lord of the Rings series far more powerful than it could have been. The Hobbit continues in that tradition, with characters that you can immediately gain feeling for. This made this new film wonderful. Jackson was able to take the time and lay down the foundation for the next two films early on. Thankfully, Jackson also had the ability to turn this book into three films, allowing for a much more in-depth look at the relationships of each of the characters.
The acting in this movie is wonderful. There are some great performances from McKellen, Freeman, and Armitage that bring out a lot of the emotion needed to start this saga. There are also some great comic moments that come from this unlikely band of Dwarves. The actors who took on the roles of these many Dwarves do a wonderful job creating their own unique characters.
Visually, this is right where it needs to be. The special effects and CGI all work together nicely and help to bring the world of Middle Earth to life. From the Shire to the cave where Gollum lives, the filmmakers were able to create a whole world that feels right for the story being told. The costumes and makeup also come together wonderfully, ensuring that the characters all have their own unique traits. Like most of Peter Jackson’s films, this is a visual spectacular that can really keep your attention throughout.
If you can’t tell, this is a movie that I’m totally in love with. Since I was a child, I read these stories over and over. I remember the animated version of The Hobbit being watched constantly in my home. Now Peter Jackson has started this new saga with a wonderful movie. The action is amazing and the emotional moments of the film seem to set the table for the long journey still to come. I hope that you all get a chance to see this new and wonderful movie. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.