Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

I was really looking forward to this film as I really enjoyed the Lord of the Rings films, and have enjoyed the books for longer. I have to say I have been getting slightly agitated after waiting 5 years to see this film, and have been getting more excited in the build up to the release date (13/12/12 which is today). I went to see this film in 2D as I'm not an overall big fan of 3D, only liking certain films, and I'd read in another review that the 3D kind of spoiled the film in bits.



This film is the first of three that are an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's book of the same name. Bilbo Baggins tells his tale and how he was persuaded to join Gandalf, and 13 Dwarves on a journey to Dwarves former home, the Lonely Mountain, to reclaim it, and the treasure within from the dragon Smaug.


This was a good film, and well worth the wait. Peter Jackson has duplicated the brilliant job he did of bringing Middle-Earth to life like he did in Lord of the Rings, whilst making this a very unique movie. Although set in the same world as Lord of the Rings, this film has a totally different tone. Lord of the Rings was a lot more serious, as the characters were fighting to save Middle-Earth, whereas in this film they are only looking to reclaim the Dwarves homeland. Although this isn't an easy task, it's not as demanding as Frodo Baggins journey was to destroy the one ring, giving more room for the characters to have fun, and be less serious. This film also had plenty of action, and comedy, as well as brilliant cameo appearances. I also liked how the soundtrack was both the same, and different to Lord of the Rings, at the same time, as it had the same scores but played in a different tone.

The cast in this film was brilliant, and probably the best thing about the film. I originally had a few concerns about the casting choices but after seeing this I'm very happy. The two main choices I was concerned about was Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and Richard Armitage as Thorin. I have liked both if them in previous things, Freeman as John Watson in Sherlock, and Armitage as Guy Of Gisbourne in the Robin Hood TV series, but didn't think they'd suit these roles. Boy was I wrong, Freeman did a brilliant job as Bilbo giving both comedy, as well as a great dramatic performance, and Armitage suited the role of Thorin, and showed the serious, and moodiness characteristics of the character. Freeman also showed both the drive for adventure that comes from the Took side of his family, as well as the cautiousness, and timidness that has built up in him being a Bagins perfectly. I wasn't too sure if I liked the lack of beard on Thorin, as being the leader of the Dwarves I'd have expected a bigger beard. I was however happy with the shorter beard in the finish, as I don't think Armitage would have suited a longer beard, plus it shows his expressions a lot clearer. Other actors like Barry Humphries as the Goblin King, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, James Nesbitt as Bofur, Aidan Turner as Kíli were also brilliant choices, and the return of Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Christopher Lee as Saruman was also nice.

There was ton's of fun in this film, and I loved how the Dwarves were adapted from the book to big screen. You could see the different emotions in each dwarf easily, and I loved how in a bunch of jolly people there is one that is very serious, in this case there leader Thorin. Out of the Dwarves, I especially liked Thorin, and felt that he probably changed the most throughout this film. He's a very serious person, who wants nothing more than to reclaim his homeland. He's a good leader, and a courageous warrior, and it is shown in this film. He also feels that Bilbo is a burden, and that he is holding the group back, and I love how Bilbo perseveres and does everything he can to prove that he belongs in this group. I also like how Thorin hates Elves, and after it is shown why, you can see why Gimli was reluctant to trust Legolas in the Lord of the Rings films.

I also loved how many characters from the Lord of the Rings returned for this film, and although they were in the book anyway it's nice to see them anyway. Seeing, Galadiel, Elrond, and Saruman again was nice, and the scene between them was brilliant. The scene was very dramatic and I loved how Galadriel spoke to Gandalf telepathically, and how she was kind of happy with what Gandalf wanted to do. It was also nice to see Saruman before he went evil, as throughout the Lord of the Rings films he is nothing but. I also liked that due to the film starting with an older Bilbo (played by Ian Holm, who played him in the Lord of the Rings films) we got an appearance from Frodo Baggins (the main character from Lord of the Rings) which was very nice. I will also be looking forward to any future cameo appearances, mainly Legolas', who's the only remaining character that has been conformed as making an appearance during these films.

The first scene after the story starts is where Bilbo is visited by Gandalf, and asked to join him on an adventure. When Bilbo refuses Gandalf marks his door so as the Dwarves would know where to meet him. The Dwarves then come in various number, starting with just one, to a confused Bilbo who doesn't know why his house is getting filled by Dwaves. Finally Gandalf arrives with the remaining Dwarves, apart from Thorin, and Bilbo realises that Gandalf has set this all up. This scene was hilarious, and I love how Bilbo was befuddled as to why all these people were in his house and eating his food. It was also nice how we saw the mentality of the Dwarves in this scene, and how they aren't very polite, love their food, and are constantly jolly.

I was also happy when I heard that Gollum would make an appearance in this film, as I loved him in both the book, and the Lord of the Rings films. It was also nice to see how Bilbo got the ring and that Gollum has had his split personality for over a long time. Andy Serkis does another marvellous job at portraying this confused, and deranged character. I do however feel that he was able to show the different sides of Gollum a lot better in this film, as we see him all happy and jolly one minute, psychopathic the next minute, and a bit of both in between. It was also interesting seeing how Bilbo reacted to this creature, and it was fun to see the two play a game of riddles, where if Bilbo won, Gollum would show him the way out, and if Gollum won he would eat Bilbo.

The Goblin King was also in this film, and I was looking forward to seeing how he'd be adapted for the big screen, as the character was brilliant in the book, and had some interesting scenes. Going into the film I didn't know what to expect, besides what I envisioned he'd look like, whilst reading the book, as I avoided images of the film so I didn't spoil anything. When I saw him in the film I was both surprised, and pleased. He was big like in the book, but he was very bloated, and had a sagging chin. I personally thought this was interesting, and it defiantly made him look more gruesome. I also liked how he dwarfed even Gandalf, like he should, and how he also added a bit of humour, whilst adding gore.

Final Verdict

A very good film, and anyone who is a fan of the book, or Lord of the Rings will love it. I would highly recommend it but am a little sad that I will have to wait a year to see the next part, and a further ha;f year to finish it.

Rating: 4/5