‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Film Review
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director/Directors: Peter Jackson
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, et al
Rating: 12 (U.K.)/PG-13 (U.S.A)
Stars: 3 (Average)
Well the time has finally arrived. It’s been months of hype and excitement for the release of the first instalment of The Hobbit, and thankfully it has been directed by Peter Jackson, the same person that directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But has he managed to maintain that level of quality that LOTR did, and what’s the big deal about this 48 frames per second?
The plot revolves around Bilbo Baggins (Freeman), who leads a cosy and sheltered life until Gandalf (McKellen) pops round for a visit. Within a matter of days, dwarves, trolls, goblins, and other weird and wonderful creatures become the centre of Bilbo’s life as he travels across Middle-Earth to try and find Smaug, a terrible fire-breathing dragon.
Many people say that The Hobbit is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, but really it’s the other way around: The Hobbit was published nearly twenty years before LOTR, in 1937. This means that Tolkien did not know much of what was going to happen after this book, if at all, and that’s where Peter Jackson comes in; because the vast majority of people now know the events of The Lord of the Rings, it’s only natural to include in this film scenes with Frodo (Elijah Wood) and a much older Bilbo Baggins, both of which are not in the book. And this isn’t just the once, oh no. Several scenes have been made-up and are not at all a part of the book, although it must be said that they fit in with the plotline very well. It must also be explained that for about an hour-or-so into the film, the script and scenes are quite humourous, a stark contrast to The Lord of the Rings trilogy (yet I must add that The Hobbit book is humourous throughout, as it was effectively meant as a children’s book). But whilst I realise why this is done, it happened a little too suddenly – it should’ve been more gradual a tone change than what it was.
The film is heavy on CGI, but that is no surprise, and you soon get used to seeing it. The acting on the whole is excellent, and of course is very British besides one or two people. I must say that my favourite character was Gollum, still played by Andy Serkis, as he simply was the sweetest creature and also the most horrible one at the exact same time, which is quite a feat to pull off. These actors boost the film’s rating up to 3 stars, but the real reason I gave it this rating is because It felt like it lacked something quite large, something that should’ve been there but wasn’t. The 48fps did not seem as bad as what people were blabbering on about, but it wasn’t that, either. I think it was the lack of seriousness in the film. Sure, The Hobbit book was funny at times, but it was still written in a fairly serious manner; the film felt like a step away from The Lord of the Rings, almost like some TV-movie that tried to create an exact copy of an original idea and failed.
All in all, An Unexpected Journey is all right. The cast is fine, if not great, and the CGI has no fault, especially the scene with Bilbo and Gollum. I wanted to like this film – I really did. But the script was a bit too funny, and that for me pulled me away from the world of Middle-Earth and into some other land where this film is set, and I do not think it is Middle-Earth. So many scenes were muddled and even made-up (like Lord of the Rings, I know, but it still kept the serious tone) that I was just pointing out the differences compared to the book. A shame, perhaps, yet it is clever how Jackson and the rest of the gang have managed to bring Tolkien’s books to the big screen. Here’s to hoping that next year’s instalment will be better.
Fun Fact: Try and spot the Wilhelm scream during the movie; I did. Don’t know what a Wilhelm Scream is?