the first of three films Peter Jackson has made to adapt J.R.R.
prequel to Lord of the Rings. An elderly Bilbo Baggins writes to Frodo
land of Erebor, where the Dwarf King Thror lost his land and prosperity
to the dragon
Smaug. Bilbo then recalls the earlier years of his life (played by
Freeman), where he's timid and lost his sense of adventure. Bilbo's
is questioned by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), who secretly
arranges for a
meeting to be held in the hobbit's house. One evening Bilbo is
thirteen dwarves who invite themselves inside. He's told these dwarves
search of a home but need a burglar who can accompany them to the
where Smaug is and take back their land and treasure. Initially
Bilbo trails after the unit but this does little to impress Thorin
Armitage), the dwarf leader and grandson of Thror, who doubts the
without reading the novel The Hobbit, nothing erases the feeling while
watching An Unexpected Journey that this is a
deliberately inflated work of fanfare, with eyes drawn acutely towards
office. Good cinema is defined by economics and how efficiently a story
can be told
with images. Peter Jackson demonstrated this skill with his Rings
trilogy, gracefully balancing
multiple narrative threads and characters, and ensuring each one
possessed an appropriate
amount of emotional weight.
has he chosen to make a soulless, linear action movie, extravagantly
but so insubstantial that it never justifies itself as the start of a
by no less than four writers, including Jackson, this would have been
satisfying as one film with richer themes and selective action.
novel of barely 300 pages long is extended to nearly three hours,
to showcase boring battle scenes and superfluous new technology,
excess of Jackson's passion stems from his fascination with geek
the inception of his career in the 1980s, making low budget horror
has been concerned with subjects like the undead and the uncanny. His
have been criticised for being overly dependent on special effects. The
trajectory of his career, from horror to global blockbusters, is not
James Cameron, who is coincidentally using Jackson's special effects
Weta Digital to work on Avatar 2.
have become transfixed by spectacle, with each of their films more
and technically sophisticated than the last. They seem intent on
lines between video games and cinema, which means more investment into
and effects, rather than the scripts. Someone distanced from the source
and video game culture might have made The
Hobbit less self-indulgent and plodding. A legal battle between
New Line Cinema meant Guillermo Del Toro was originally meant to direct
film but was eventually replaced.
stands, Jackson's love for video games is all too visible here. The
short on themes, characterisation and subplots. It's overly rigid
means the film becomes too absorbed in its sets and its environments,
of the story. Each scene is like a level from a game, designed to
gallery of monsters, which are cogs in the film's tired formula for
is followed by danger and then an escape route. Press start to begin.
desire for a home offers some resemblance of a motive, it's regularly
the flurry of the action, most of which is extremely unengaging and
tension. The film's one good scene admittedly adds some suspense and
It involves the reappearance of the monster Gollum and begins tying
back to the Rings trilogy. The detail in Gollum's expressions,
again by Andy Serkis, is even more incredible than before.
IMAX 3D: As
the original print was filmed in 48 frames per second, there's seems to
be something missing in traditional screenings (e.g. normal cinemas and
IMAX which are displayed in 24 frames person second). The problem here
is that when the cameras pan from right to left, it is quite choppy and
actually becomes a little painful to watch. Although it looks amazing on
the giant IMAX screen, it is lacking a quality that other films have.
enjoy the movie? Undoubtedly, but for most hardcore fans, more is
always more. Consider
the families who will now be paying for three movies instead of one, as
the 3D surcharge, and must then wait another two years to finish the
shown a footnote of a narrative here and that's not right.