The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit has probably been the most anticipated fantasy epic since…well probably Harry Potter. And as such it has carried with it much controversy, from Jackson taking over, to breaking it into three parts, to the frame rate. I’m not too surprised – I mean, after establishing a fan base it’s hard not to upset some people, especially when we’re dealing with a series of books. So now was it really worth all the fuss?
Let’s see, where to begin. An Unexpected Journey begins with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a hobbit who has grown rather uninteresting in his maturity, until an old acquaintance, Gandalf the Grey, pops back into his life and offers him at a chance for the adventure of a lifetime. Bilbo refuses the offer, until a hoard of dwarves show up at his hobbit hole and explain their quest. It would seem that many years ago, the thriving dwarf kingdom of Erebor fell victim to the wrath Smaug, of a rogue dragon from the north, who destroyed the dwarves home and stole away their vast fortunes. After being turned away from by neighboring elves, the remaining few have been fighting ruthlessly to reclaim the land that they’ve lost. In order to breach the treacherous realm of The Lonely Mountain, their last hope, they need a burglar – someone quick and light on their feet – a hobbit would be the obvious choice. Reluctantly, Bilbo joins them, discovering a new world beyond his little hobbit hole.
Admittedly, when I saw the first couple trailers I was taken aback by the action-comedy tone that the trailers appeared to portray. Granted, the trailers did spoil some of the funnier moments, but I was glad to be wrong. An Unexpected Journey is a pleasant mix of adventure and whimsy, ultimately producing a rather charming piece. Truth be told, I am never not impressed with forced perspective either; not to mention that the makeup application on the dwarves is fantastic.
Watching The Hobbit is like watching a storybook beautifully play out in front of you. I think it’s fair to say that this film takes on a more playful feel, but it’s a lovely precursor to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s fairly frustrating that I’ll have to wait forever for the next one, but Unexpected Journey satisfies while leaving room for more. Besides, patience is a virtue.
Final Grade: A