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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Reviews

Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
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It frequently seems as though Jackson was less interested in making The Hobbit than in remaking his own fabulously successful Lord of the Rings series.

Full Review Source: The Atlantic

December 14, 2012
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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My first thought in watching The Hobbit was: Do we really need this movie? It was my last thought, too.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: C+

December 14, 2012
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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To its own narrative detriment, "The Hobbit" works hard to lay the framework for what will follow. Certainly that's one way to set out on a trilogy, but it's surely not the best.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 14, 2012
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
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There's no denying the majesty in Peter Jackson's visuals but he's taken a relatively slim children's book and stretched it beyond the limits.

Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 14, 2012
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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The repeated iterations of fight, flight and respite here get wearing. Especially perhaps because, with Jackson's fetish for detail, they take more time to watch on screen than to read about.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 14, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has finally arrived, not on wings of gossamer fancy but with a hairy-footed thud.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 14, 2012
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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An overlong adventure enlivened by wonders.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

December 13, 2012
Tom Charity
CNN.com
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An Unexpected Journey is a major comedown, a muddle-headed and cumbersome piece of filmmaking that betrays Jackson's mercenary motives -- Tolkien's book, too.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

December 13, 2012
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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If you loved the earlier films, these are moments you will hold on to, but they're very few, and they're not enough.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 1/4

December 13, 2012
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Part One of director Peter Jackson's planned film trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit forces audiences to run an obstacle course before the fun kicks in.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 13, 2012
Bob Mondello
NPR
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Between its lighter tone and a decade's worth of improvements in digital film techniques, there should be enough of a novelty factor to delight most fans.

Full Review Source: NPR

December 13, 2012
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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I was impressed with how much of the story's good humor Jackson and Co. manage to weave into the spectacle. It's there in the close shave with a gang of hungry trolls, and it really lifts off once Andy Serkis' uncanny Gollum enters the picture.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B

December 13, 2012
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Tolkien's inventive, episodic tale of a modest homebody on a dangerous journey has been turned into an overscale and plodding spectacle.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/5

December 13, 2012
Tom Long
Detroit News
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The last hour of this movie is pretty much nonstop, and it's a gas.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B-

December 13, 2012
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
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Little about the storytelling suggests a beating heart beneath the visuals; once the journey has begun, the characters find themselves in life-threatening danger with stupefying regularity.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 13, 2012
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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This is not about a reluctant hero drawing courage from some deep personal well. It's not about dread and danger. It's about visual effects.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 2/4

December 13, 2012
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is not the worst film of the year, but it may be the most disappointing.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 13, 2012
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
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I'm afraid that whoever it was in the New York Film Critics Circle who voted for "The Hobbit" as best animated film had a point. And so did the people who suspected that this whole thing was a bad idea.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 13, 2012
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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The film is worthy of both your attention and of the Tolkien legendarium in which Jackson, his actors and his Weta Workshop technical crew are so firmly situated.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/4

December 13, 2012
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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At nearly three hours long, "An Unexpected Journey" has moments when the caravan seems both overstuffed and out of balance, but it's such a scenic trip that only a stubborn homebody could complain.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3/4

December 13, 2012
Mary Ann Gwinn
Seattle Times
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Though at two hours, 50 minutes it feels overstuffed, the first "Hobbit" film holds its own thanks to inspired acting and some jaw-dropping technical innovations.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

December 13, 2012
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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When, in Jackson's film, someone describes a character's "love of gold" as having become "too fierce," you wonder if the warning might apply to "The Hobbit" in other ways.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 13, 2012
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
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At its best, it recaptures the Rings movies' breadth, detail, and staggering sense of beauty.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B-

December 13, 2012
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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[The] elements are in place again, but the story feels less substantial than the Lord of the Rings tales.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 12, 2012
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Solid and acceptable instead of soaring and exceptional, [and] unnecessarily hampered in its quest to reach the magical heights of the trilogy.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 12, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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It all just takes so long.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 12, 2012
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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There are people who claim to see no difference between 24 and 48 frame rates, and to them, I'd recommend an unexpected journey to the eye doctor.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

December 12, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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"The Hobbit" becomes what it was originally meant to be - not a cut-from-the-same-cloth prequel, but its own, individual thing.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3/4

December 12, 2012
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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[A] dazzling, busy, fundamentally tedious movie ...

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 12, 2012
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
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I found that it provided a pretty convincingly immersive experience, and I look forward to the technology's evolution/refinement. Which I guess also means I look forward to the next two installments of the trilogy.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 3.5/5

December 12, 2012
Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
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In a bit of irony, Bilbo Baggins says at the end of the movie: "I do believe the worst is behind us." We can only hope so.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 11, 2012
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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The more dark it becomes, the more 'The Hobbit' becomes compelling as a story, and finds a fitting tone.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

December 11, 2012
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
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"The Hobbit" is an impressive first chapter.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

December 11, 2012
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
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Even though this installment is mostly a prelude, Jackson's eccentric mixture of low humor, earnest foreboding and digitally processed pageantry is consistently engaging and immersive.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/5

December 11, 2012
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Piles on enough eye candy and action sequences to please fans, plus more humor than the three "Rings" films - even if it only occasionally achieves the trio's grandeur.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

December 11, 2012
Laremy Legel
Film.com
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What's all this add up to? Not terribly much.

Full Review Source: Film.com | Original Score: C

December 10, 2012
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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On balance, honor has been done to Tolkien, not least in the famous riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, and some of the exploits to come will surely lighten the load.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

December 10, 2012
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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An Unexpected Journey is a competent, entertaining effort but it neither enthralls nor amazes in the way its predecessors did.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

December 10, 2012
Dana Stevens
Slate
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It's hard to overstate the degree to which the 48fps format interfered with my ability to get lost in this movie's story.

Full Review Source: Slate

December 10, 2012
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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The Lord of the Rings trilogy [has] been replaced by something that resembles tatty summer-stock theater.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

December 10, 2012
Scott Foundas
Village Voice
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Even once Bilbo and company take to the hobbit highway, the pacing is leisurely verging on lethargic ...

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 6, 2012
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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The movie lacks majesty. Grand in parts, the movie is too often grandiose or grandiloquent; and the running time is indefensible.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

December 6, 2012
David Germain
Associated Press
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Tolkien's brisk story of intrepid little hobbit Bilbo Baggins is drawn out and diluted by dispensable trimmings better left for DVD extras.

Full Review Source: Associated Press | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 4, 2012
Peter Debruge
Variety
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Fulfilling just a fraction of J.R.R. Tolkien's "There and Back Again" subtitle, The Hobbit alternately rewards and abuses auds' appetite for all things Middle-earth.

Full Review Source: Variety

December 4, 2012
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
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There are elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy was, but there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

December 4, 2012
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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The movie itself is a lot of fun. And if you can separate yourself from the visual distraction, you'll find plenty to enjoy.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

November 29, 2012
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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Vital as they are, Gollum and Bilbo can only do so much to keep us enchanted. Is Jackson able to sustain the magic in two more installments? I peer into Tolkien's Misty Mountains and embrace the journey.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B+

August 20, 2008
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