The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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    8.1
    604 reviews

    "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a welcome return to the mythology of Tolkien. Despite its deliberately slow beginning (more on that in a bit) newcomers will enjoy the fantasy world and the lighthearted tone while pre-existing fans will enjoy the additional world-building. Part 1 of a 3-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit", this first entry tells the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) sixty years before the events of "The Lord of the Rings". Living comfortably in his home, he suddenly gets a visit from the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) who enlists him as a thief to accompany thirteen Dwarves to the faraway Lonely Mountain. There, he will be charged with stealing the Arkenstone from Smaug the Dragon. Once in-hand it will be given back to its rightful owner, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the disgraced king of the Dwarves. Along the way they face many perils including blood-thirsty orcs, savage wargs, grotesque trolls and other things that would make most hobbits most uncomfortable.

    The beginning of the film feels slow; much too slow for my taste and not only because the story has to introduce over a dozen characters In order to get the plot started. It's particularly sluggish at first because director Peter Jackson feels the need to remind us that this is a prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" with multiple scenes set after the film's story is over, which all In all have little to do with this plot. It also feels less… epic I suppose would be the term because Smaug the dragon is deliberately hidden so that we can have (presumably) a grandiose reveal in a later films, but when this is done in a film that is nearly 3 hrs it feels like we're missing out more than being teased.

    When it comes to the rest of the picture (so basically once the ball has finally started rolling) it gets a lot better. This story has a distinct look and feel from the other chapters and as an introduction to the land of Middle Earth this actually works very well. The tone is lighter, the story contains more familiar and easily digestible fantasy plot points and the simple plot is easy to follow. If you haven't seen the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, this is a great place to start. If you've already seen them, this will still feel exciting because It manages to feel new in its own way and shows you aspects of Middle Earth that you haven't seen before. The character designs are unique and very distinguishable from each other (quite a feat considering the number of dwarves on-screen), the locations are beautifully shot and majestic, the action has a lot of energy and does not in any way tread upon familiar paths. None of the film (save for a few winks to the audience) feels like a re-tread of anything you've seen before. Once again, I did find that the beginning was slow but it swept me up by the end of it, particularly because of a very exciting, roller-coaster-like climax.

    How the film will ultimately play out depends on the next two films. As is I already feel like this new trilogy will be slightly too long for its own good. Aside from the slow beginning it's a really fun fantasy adventure film with some good action and a lot of great scenes that will leave you satisfied. (3D theatrical version on the big screen, January 3, 2013)

    8/10
    adamwatchesmovies@ 10.7.2015   reply age: 26-35   348 reviews

    Not my usual genre but love the hobbits.

    7/10

    I wish middle-earth would continue on and on. The Hobbit made it all neatly packaged. The movie had it all, excitement, adventure, drama, greed, love and friendships. What more could you ask for?

    9/10
    verlene.brittton@ 26.1.2015   reply age: 50+   1st review

    It was something to come back into I love middle - earth not going to lie I did miss the Hobbit.. and when it comes to Peter Jackson movies their pretty amazing but some how the movie seems to be missing something, Oh well its still a great movie to watch just forget about the book don't try and compare it and you'll be ready to watch the whole movie and enjoy it.

    9/10
    angel-of-death18@ 15.12.2014   reply age: 26-35   54 reviews

    Light years better than lord of the rings, does what those movies failed to accomplish. Tells an adventure story without being vague and loose-ended with the characters and sustaining a sense of realism and genuine emotion as the stakes raise. By return of the King the epic aspect overwhelms any human touch and with so many endings not many characters, actually very few get a proper send-off. In The Hobbit we're getting a fleshed out story where every shot in every scene provides time and essence to delve into this world. When the movie is over you want to see it again right after. A terrific masterpiece for the ages.

    10/10

    This was a drawn out money-grab. How is it that, while it takes 3 movies to cover the 3 LOTR books, it also takes 3 movies to cover one little Hobbit book? The story was unbelievably padded with junk that wasn't in the book, unnecessary and boring. And why, oh why, does every movie maker think it's necessary to add a love story into every movie? It just doesn't make sense for an elf to fall for a human, and more importantly, it's not in the book at all. I will not be seeing the next 2 installments. (I enjoyed the LOTR series, and I own it on DVD. I have read all 4 books multiple times, so it's not the material, just a bad movie adaptation.)

    4/10
    anitainottawa@ 4.6.2014   reply age: 50+   27 reviews - one reply

    Incredible! Definitely a 10! I loved it with a passion!

    10/10
    reneandsusanne@ 12.5.2014   reply age: 1-12   1st review

    Wow! Thank you! Totally Wicked, Superb, Magical, Enchanted Journey we took together. Reading the book and seeing it, To me I can't even imagine to compare them :- as it did justice for me, that is.

    10/10
    shazjoao@ 4.5.2014   reply age: 36-49   2206 reviews

    In The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey, the writing is definitely not the strongest and needs some fine tuning, but most of that could have been done off-screen. I do feel cutting this movie down some more would have been for better than worse, but it's hard to nitpick when the visual authenticity of the visuals and crafting storytelling continually originates.

    8/10
    devo-nc@ 31.3.2014   reply age: 36-49   48 reviews

    This Part 1 deserves a lot more recognition than it's received. Fans of the book will be pleased. Peter Jackson's directing skills once again really shine.

    8/10

    Get's by taking place in middle earth, immersing yourself into an incredible world full of imagination and wonder. In the first Hobbit movie, surely it drags at times being a half hour longer than it needs to be. However, the joyous and enjoyable tale is expressive and bewildering as you would expect from Peter Jackson. In its length there is additional material not even in the book in the movie including some new characters and backstory. At times Thorin's character is a little over-exagerated but they do a better job with the dwarves than the book does. Returning back to a world that was so beautiful and magnificent in The Lord of the Rings is endearing in this first chapter. But once you strap in and embrace the newness of another adventure, it is colourful and dazzling. The visuals and technical parts are all great even though the filmmaking isn't the strongest. The storytelling is well put together but narratively is lacking some flow. In the end it isn't Peter Jackson and his crew at their best, but the unseen masterful work fades easily when the whole dam thing doesn't even feel like a movie anymore.

    8/10

    Loved all the Lord of the Ring movies, looked forward to this trilogy. This first movie of the Hobbit was good... not as good as its predecessor, but worth seeing.

    7/10
    colleenklock@ 1.1.2014   reply age: 36-49   51 reviews

    Series loses marks right off the hop from taking a nice simple story and dragging it out over three long movies. Rant against corporate greed aside, it was okay. Some of the CGI looked bad and there were lots of epic scenery shots that just seemed to be filler. Did not have the freshness or charm of the LOTR films.

    6/10
    parker_2@ 28.12.2013   reply age: 36-49   434 reviews