The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyHD Closed Captioning AD
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About the Film
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth with the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's enduring masterpiece. Set in Middle-earth 60 years before the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, the adventure follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of dwarves on a journey into wild, treacherous lands swarming with beasts of every ilk. Although their goal lies to the East, they must first escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever...Gollum. Alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo gains possession of Gollum's "precious" -- a simple, gold ring tied to the fate of all Middle-earth.
Early reviews for Jackson's prequel to LOTRs suggested it wasn't up to much, so, despite being a huge LOTRs fan, I wasn't expecting to enjoy The Hobbit. Like many, I felt it was too slight a story and that Jackson was cashing in by dragging the story out across 3 movies. In the end, it was only my huge admiration for Martin Freeman which persuaded me into the cinema - and thank goodness it did, because The Hobbit was a revelation. This is a thoroughly entertaining, spectacular, gripping and moving film of great accomplishment, anchored by an outstanding lead performance. The additional material felt integral to the story, developing the history and raising the tension rather than simply filling the running time, the visuals were amazingly well orchestrated and the humour, which I was afraid would be too childish given the source material, was sweet and appropriate rather than embarrassing. Ok, it's not perfect: I really disliked the prologue with Ian Holm and Elijah Wood, which was one of the few moments which felt like a calculated attempt to connect to LOTRs, some of the miraculous escapes are a little too miraculous, and I have to say that for me the new HD 48 frame format simply didn't work as it gave the film too much of a documentary feel which didn't sit well with the fantasy elements. But when its good, its very, very good, not least in the simply jaw-dropping scene between Bilbo and Gollum which sees the LOTRs favourite rendered even more perfectly in CGI but never feeling less than real in a stunning but all too brief exchange from two actors at the height of their powers. To put it simply - if you liked LOTRs, you'll like this, and I came away feeling excited at the prospect of two further movies and confident that Jackson knew exactly what he was doing when he returned to Middle Earth.
This film was negatively received by critics, but the general public seem to love it. I hate how the critics say it is long and a little slow at the start before bilbo left the shire. I'm sure some snooty critic said it was something like 30 minutes before bilbo left. In the fellowship of the ring, it was 45 minutes before frodo left so I don't understand why this film has taken such a beating from the critics.
Jackson was slated by the fans in 2001 for leaving so much of the story out of the fellowship and the subsequent two novels, but critics seemed to like them. In the hobbit Jackson has included every detail of the book and added more from the appendices from return of the king. It's has pleased the fans and left the critics sour, so the poor bloke can't win no matter what he does.
I say watch this film and enjoy it as the adventure it was written to be. No critic has crafted anything as majestic as this so let them follow the other herd of critics, who shuffle from one film to another speaking in one voice and all sharing the one thought. I appreciate Jackson for giving the fans every last detail of this beloved book.
A brilliant film that took every watcher back to Middle Earth as if they had never left. A true credit to Peter Jackson and his ability to create the world once again so easily. Brilliant CGI and music. Bring on the remaining two!!