Our 16-year-old film blogger Jack Bool reviews The Hobbit
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is easily one of the biggest films in recent memory. Legendary director Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth may not have been the movie I was hoping for, but I can safely say I did really enjoy it, even if it did feel a bit underwhelming at times.
Release Date: 13th December 2012 (UK)
Obviously as you're most probably aware the Hobbit is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings series and it follows a young Bilbo Baggins being recruited by Gandalf, setting off on an adventure across Middle Earth, along with thirteen dwarves in order to reclaim the dwarves homeland from the dragon, Smaug.
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I remember when I was younger I was a big Lord of the Rings fan. Around seven years ago I read The Hobbit so certain sequences in this movie brought back a few memories of what actually happened for me, but obviously The Hobbit is definitely J.R.R Tolkien's simplest book, so the question is why does a three hundred page book have to made into three movies? That leads me onto the films biggest problem, it's far too long. At certain times I was asking myself the question of why is this in the film as the odd sequence feels unwarranted and dare I say unnecessary. For example the character of Radagast (which I unlike some people do not have a problem with) gets around fifteen minutes of screen time but I honestly do not see the point, it's not that I don't like him as I stated I do but there's no need for him to be in the film as his contribution is pointless.
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For the first ninety minutes I was completely blown away by this movie. It was a definite contender for a spot on my end of year list but as I stated the overall length drags it down from being a great film to a good film. It becomes incredibly repetitive and unlike Lord of the Rings you don't feel any real connection to the characters, it's safe to say if any of them died I personally wouldn't really feel that upset at all as the overall relationship you have with them as an audience member becomes evidently clear during the battles sequences. It simply lacks the tension of the previous trilogy.
Now onto what I did like about this film, the acting for one from Martin Freeman is brilliant. He really is the perfect Bilbo Baggins, you couldn't wish for a better performance and he really was the only character I cared for. It's actually quite scary how suited to the role he is. He has a brilliant sense of comedy and he manages his emotions perfectly. I would go as far as saying it's one of my favourite performances of the year and of course the return of Ian McKellen as Gandalf is just as great as it was eleven years ago. The dwarves are an accomplished ensemble but as said although I liked them I didn't care for them apart from one stand out performance courtesy of Richard Armitage as dwarf leader Thorin. The screen time could have been a bit more balanced but it's safe to say Peter Jackson has definitely done a fine job in terms of casting and adapting the characters straight from the book, in fact it's certainly one of the best things about the entire film and of course it wouldn't be a Lord of the Rings film without Gollum, who is portrayed once again expertly by Andy Serkis.
The special effects are absolutely ground-breaking and it really is like watching a fresh Lord of the Rings. With all the new technology it's actually rather shocking just how much technology has moved on since 2003. The scenery, the detail and even Gollum all looked very realistic; in fact going back to Gollum the riddles in the dark scene in which he is featured in is definitely the best scene of the film and one of the best of the year for that matter.
It wouldn't be Middle Earth without Howard Shore and his score is absolutely mesmerizing. It's fantastic to hear all the old classics from the previous films as well, but then again I think everyone that's seen Lord of the Rings would agree that Howard never fails to impress.
Watching the film is incredibly nostalgic for any fan of the previous films, there's plenty of old faces cropping up left, right and centre and making the film that more special and for that matter more reminiscent of the rings trilogy. Sure this film isn't even the same league as the other three but taking into consideration it's the Hobbit I never expected it to be as good, but if you accept it for what it is then you're bound to have a good time.
Originally I was sceptical that the film would be rather childish but it definitely isn't. There are sequences that feel a lot darker than the previous films and they work splendidly. As an adaption of the book it's fairly accurate despite adding a few ideas here and there and the creatures are definitely one of the highlights of the film for me. They are fantastic creations that utilise the modern day technology to its fullest. It's safe to say if you have a problem with CGI then this isn't the film for you, as it really is entirely computerized but as an avid fan of technology the effects are some of the best I've probably ever seen.
Now I didn't see the film in the controversial high frame rate 3D but I saw it in the normal twenty four frames 3D and I was marginally disappointed. Seeing as the film is directed by Peter Jackson I did expect something a bit more satisfying as there really are only a couple of instances in which it really impresses you, so if you plan on seeing this film in IMAX its pretty good but just normal 2D would suffice, however I did think Jackson would push the boat out considering that the film was shot with new 3D cameras but you can't complain as 3D very rarely impresses in my opinion.
Overall The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a very good movie. It's like visiting an old friend you haven't seen in a few years but once the nostalgia fades Middle Earth is nowhere near as great as it previously was, but on the other hand if Jackson learns from his mistakes them I'm positive that next year's instalment will be absolutely fantastic.