The long anticipated return to middle earth is finally here! It’s been almost a decade since the final installment of Lord of the Ring graced our cinema screens and now Peter Jackson strikes again with his second trilogy.
The Hobbit despite being a short and airy children’s story is being broken up into three parts, much like Lord of the Rings. The first part An Unexpected Journey, The second The desolation of Smaug and the third There and Back Again. Some have criticized Jacksons ploy to make the tiny tale of The Hobbit into a trilogy. Yes it seems he could stretch it to two parts – but three! I can’t see reason to complain, I would rather be able to go and enjoy a new tale three times than only once so I say bring it on peter Jackson.
An Unexpected Journey is the first installment. Here we meet Bilbo Bagging, a quiet and comfortable hobbit who loves his pipe, his pantry and his soft feather bed. Bilbo’s world is turned upside down when Gandalf the wizard comes along with a stockpile of dwarves and invites him on an adventure to the lonely mountain to retrieve their homeland. The party is led by warrior Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield. On this trek across middle earth they encounter all kinds of unforeseen challenges such as trolls, goblins, wargs and storm giants. Also down in the caves Bilbo happens across something rather unexpected and a sullen creature by the name of Gollum who has lost his precious ring.
The film was shot in 48fps which takes your eyes and mind a little while to get used to; in fact I came out feeling like I had been on a three day acid trip! As can be expected the film sits pretty close to perfection. The same epic shots that bought lord of the rings to life are employed in the hobbit. Plenty of bright color, sweeping landscapes, epic music scores and the highest quality of acting.
At first I was a little unsure about the decision to cast Martin Freeman in the role of Bilbo, I didn’t think he would be able to get past the awkward bumble of Tim from the office. In fairness he didn’t get past it, but by the end of the film I had grown to accept him in the role. The dwarves were excellent, even if I did feel a little weird about finding dwarves attractive when it came to Gili and Kili. The character of Thorin Oakenshield shattered my expectations beyond belief as it was played magnificently by Richard Armitage. When the dwarves broke into song as they raided Bilbo’s pantry a part of me almost grimaced, but after a few moments I thought no, this was defiantly a good idea. Perhaps one of my favorite moments in film was when the dwarves sand across the misty mountain together in a spine tingling moment of solemnity.
It seems Peter Jackson struck the balance exactly right. He took it darker than the original children’s story but kept the comedic elements that make this such a loveable tale. The character of Gollum is highly entertaining and was the cause of many laugh out loud moment sin the cinema. Yet the disturbing tale of the ring is still underlying. Jackson said he got much of the story from the appendix as well as the book itself. This is where liberties with the story came into play. Yet I doubt even die-hard fans could complain at the liberties took as every elaboration fit seamlessly into the tale to be told.
Sure the tale to be told is more lighthearted than the previous epic but the visuals are a real treat, the film itself absolutely gorgeous and the acting of the highest quality to be found. Jackson doesn’t try cheap tricks or aim to score brownie points, he tells the story with excitement and wonder. Exactly the way The Hobbit should be told!
The film carried the audience along on an epic ride with stunning dreamlike effects, I for one was ecstatic to be back in middle earth and say roll on next year for the second installment.