The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 epic high fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is the first installment in a three-part film adaptation based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit. It is followed by The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), and together, they act as a prequel to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The film's screenplay was written by Jackson, his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro, who was originally chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a simple life with his fellow hobbits in the shire, until the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives and convinces him to join a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor. The journey takes Bilbo on a path through treacherous lands swarming with orcs, goblins and other dangers, not the least of which is an encounter with Gollum (Andy Serkis) and a simple gold ring that is tied to the fate of Middle Earth in ways Bilbo cannot even fathom.
Why It Rocks
- The film does stay true faithful to the novel it is based on.
- Bilbo is a likable protagonist.
- Fantastic musical score by Howard Shore.
- Some decent villains.
- The creature designs are amazing.
- The action sequences are fun to watch and intense.
- Well-done cast performance.
- Peter Jackson continues to directed another great film based on J. R. R. Tolkien's novel.
- The CGI are nicely done, despite its overuse.
- "A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."
- Some hit-or-missed humor.
- Overused of CGI, although it was nicely done.
- The dwarfs are incredibly difficult to tell apart.
- Bilbo being chosen to accompany Gandalf to the Lonely Mountain after the dragon attack seems like a random choice and he may not even be needed considering Bilbo wasn't a burglar and didn't seem particularly worthy.
- Lots of unnecessary scenes that only exist to pad the movie's runtime.
- The scene towards the beginning where Frodo from the original trilogy passes by, serves no purpose and is mainly there to bring nostalgia to fans of the original trilogy.
- There's 40 minutes of the dwarfs eating Bilbo's food, Bilbo trying to stop them and other unnecessary filler before the official "plot" begins.
- Gandalf going to Rivendell and having a conversation about future events.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, audiences and fans of the book, who praised the characters, performances, musical score, visual style, and production values, but criticized its high frame rate, length, pacing, and overuse of CGI. It holds a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 299 reviews, with an average score of 6.54/10. The site's consensus reads "Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth is an earnest, visually resplendent trip, but the film's deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 58 out of 100 based on collected reviews from 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". According to CinemaScore polls, the film received an "A" grade from audiences.