The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) Review

It’s been a really chaotic month, and as you can see I haven’t had the time at all to write any new entries this month.  Hopefully I’ll be able to plug out some end-of-year entries in the next few days.  I definitely need to get around to doing at least my top lists and a few reviews of some electronics that I’ve purchased over the course of the last two months.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

In the meantime, I thought I’d post up a review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, since I was able to watch it in theaters recently.  One thing I will say straight off the bat is that this is one long movie, and it’s one where you definitely feel the length.  Depending on how your attention span is, this could be considered either a good or a bad thing.

Elijah Wood’s cameo is very brief and he has no lines that I can recall.  So if you’re going in hopes of seeing a lot of him, prepare to be let down.  Fans of Martin Freeman, however, will not be disappointed as I think he does a fantastic job as a young Bilbo Baggins here.  I saw some similarities in his acting from his portrayal of Dr. Watson in the BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, but didn’t find that to necessarily be a bad thing.

The trailer doesn’t really give too much away, but of course if you’ve read any of the series in book form, you should already know what’s going to happen.  The movie doesn’t follow the book to the letter, but I thought it stayed pretty close.  The visuals are a lot sharper than the previous Lord of the Rings trilogy.  One thing to keep in mind is that this is going to be a trilogy, so go knowing that you’re going to be in for a lot of long action scenes and not a lot of closure by the end of it.

I think the character development was pretty well paced.  And some of the subtle changes they made to the story I think actually improved on what was described in the book.  Like the “unexpected party” scene.  Compared to the way it’s written in the novel, I thought the minor changes to the scene actually improved on the flow of the story.  Of course there were other scenes that I found to be downright cheesy—like when the elves turned away from assisting the dwarves.  I personally found the posture and facial expression of the elf leader to be pretty hilarious.  Then again, there’s also the chance I could have made that scene a lot funnier in my head than it actually is.  I also thought Gollum’s character design and expressions were impressive.

While I think this movie kicks the new trilogy off nicely, it does come with its shortcomings.  At times I felt like there was a little too much action being packed in all at once, and at other times I thought the movie dragged some.  Still, I think I enjoyed this movie a lot better than I did The Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies, perhaps because I found the overall tone to be somewhat lighter.  What I am curious about, is whether or not the follow-ups will pack at least an equally strong punch.

FINAL VERDICT: B-

4 responses to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) Review

  1. This is a movie where critical opinion is pretty divided; the middling rating on Rotten Tomatoes is indicative of that. You and another blogger seem to agree that you liked the pacing. I have yet to see the movie myself, but the pacing is actually the common complaint critics who didn’t like the movie had.

    • Yeah, I can see that happening. Some scenes can come off rushed. Just a theory, but people may have found themselves disappointed because of how abruptly the movie seems to cut off at the end. I actually can’t help but wonder if maybe there isn’t really enough story to be worth more than 2 movies. I guess that remains to be seen.

      • Having enough story for three movies is something I find doubtful. The Hobbit was one novel, and not even a particularly long one at that. If you can fit any of the Lord of the Rings novels into one movie, then you should be able to do the same with The Hobbit.

      • My thoughts exactly. That’s why I’m just curious how that’s going to turn out. The worst case is some parts get suuuuuper stretched out, or they take a lot of filler from all of Tolkein’s mythological extensions that he wrote. Either way, I think ever since Harry Potter, filmmakers have been doing everything they can to cut movies into parts. And of course Twilight (I think) was the one that kicked off the whole let’s split the third part of every trilogy into a half of a third so we can make more money off of movie lovers!! Bah!

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