Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

8 years ago
Aidan Johnson

The Hobbit has two big shoes to fill. The first was the fact that it is one of the more famous works by Tolkien, and greatly admired by several generations. The other is the fact that it is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings, which was a highly successful series. Considering that it was directed by the same man, Peter Jackson, the expectations were high.

The Hobbit poster

Jackson’s decision to break the single book into three parts has caused a great deal of confusion, and indeed suspicion, among fans of the book. The big question is how can one make a trilogy from one fairly thin children’s book?

Compare this with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, also directed by Jackson. For this series, there were three films, which covered six books. For those who have no idea what I’m on about, the Lord of the Rings series is actually six books done in three parts: The Fellowship of the Ring (The Ring Sets Out/The Ring Goes South); The Two Towers (The Treason of Isengard/The Ring Goes East); The Return of the King (The War of the Ring/The End of the Third Age). So the huge problem with the Lord of the Rings trilogy was condensing the story to fit into three films (which in themselves were very long – the Return of the King extended edition goes for about 4 hours).

For the Hobbit trilogy, the problem is expanding the story to fit three films. Now, even with every minute detail from the book taken into account, it probably wouldn’t be possible to create a fantastic series from what Tolkien has written. However, in the expanded universe of Tolkien’s Middle Earth universe, other events do occur whilst the events of The Hobbit are taking place. Purists may disagree, but the darker aspects of the film, which are related to Tolkien’s notes and parts from the Silmarillion, add a depth and contrast to certain lighter aspects of the film, such as the dwarves and Bilbo in the beginning of the film.

In regards to the 48 frames per second film, there had been some skepticism in regards to what this would do for the film itself. Despite fears that the affect of the high film rate would detract from the film, it greatly added to certain animated aspects, such as the shine on Gollum’s eyes throughout the Riddles in Dark sequence. The graphics, especially the goblins and orcs, are incredibly well done, although they do look quite different from those used in the original trilogy. Whilst this may cause some concern amongst fans, it is still done very well, with the orcs (and indeed trolls) having remarkable detail and well executed computer generation.

The performance of the actors was extraordinary, with Martin Freedman playing Bilbo Baggins exceptionally well. The other cast members, such as Sir Ian McKellan, reprised their roles from the Lord of the Rings, or were new characters, such as Sylvester McCoy’s character Rabadash the Brown. All cast member performances were excellent, and the variety in the dwarves, from the smouldering Thorin to the upbeat Filli and Killi, to the old and wise Bombur, left the audience with a range of emotions matching each character.

Overall, despite the flaws of the film, it was excellent, with strong acting, beautiful graphics and well written dialogue and pacing. It did have one major problem though – and that was that there is now a year to wait until the sequel comes out!

About The Author

Aidan Johnson is a dork that knows his Tolkien.

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