Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Review - The Hobbit

Luke here again. I've just arrived back from a family outing to see the much-awaited movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I think for once, New Zealand got this movie before most other places - even the USA!

Oddly enough, I was always quite confident that this would be a great movie (unlike with previous movie adaptations of famous childhood books, where I haven't been entirely sure what to expect). The Hobbit lives up to most of our expectations. I have read some rather negative reviews. A lot of these grumble about too much extra material having been added to the storyline of J.R.R. Tolkien's original novel, which is very short compared to The Lord of the Rings. However, I must point out that nearly all the new material has been taken from Tolkien's other writings, such as his extensive appendices to the Lord of the Rings. Some of it is mentioned in passing in The Hobbit itself, as part of the backstory.

To make a long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. There were some drawbacks, of course: towards the end, a continual series of fights and action sequences got a bit exhausting. Obviously made for the best effects in 3D and high frame rate, it was almost like a theme-park ride. However, to those people who complained about drawn-out action, I can only reply: After seeing the massive spectacular scenes of The Lord of the Rings, particularly The Return of the King, how could you go to the cinema expecting anything different this time?

I would give the Hobbit 4 stars out of 5. One of its main strengths was the acting ability of the cast. In particular, Martin Freeman does an excellent job playing the Bilbo that we all know. Richard Armitage is great as the grim Thorin Oakenshield, and in fact all the dwarves do a good job.

 The dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield. This was one of the first photos from the movie that I saw, and at first it made me wonder "Why have they cast a Klingon?"

 The dwarves' interruption of Bilbo's peace and quiet. Some have felt that the film did not distinguish well enough between the characters of the 13 dwarves (apart from Thorin), and I myself was wondering how Jackson would do this. However, I guess you have to remember that Tolkien's original book only gave memorable characters to a few of them as well: Thorin, Balin (the old wise one), and Bombur (the fat gluttonous one) are the ones that stick in my memory from reading The Hobbit. In the event, I think the movie did well at giving the dwarves characters of their own - some more than others.

 Gandalf, a bit less grim and more mischievous than in the Lord of the Rings.

My favourite part was the famous riddle scene between Bilbo and Gollum. It has been kept very true to the book, with a lot of the same lines. Andy Serkis gives a truly ingenious portrayal of Gollum's embattled, creepy yet pitiable character.

And now the trailer, although you'll have seen it already unless you've been living under a rock with your hands over your ears:

Until next time

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