The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Reviews

Top Critic
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
December 14, 2012
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.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 14, 2012
My first thought in watching The Hobbit was: Do we really need this movie? It was my last thought, too.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 14, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
December 14, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 14, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
December 14, 2012
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has finally arrived, not on wings of gossamer fancy but with a hairy-footed thud.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 13, 2012
An overlong adventure enlivened by wonders.
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Tom Charity
CNN.com
December 13, 2012
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.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 1/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
December 13, 2012
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.
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Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
December 13, 2012
His first installment of The Hobbit, Tolkien's relatively slim precursor to the sprawling "Rings" saga, is a technically impressive but bloated adventure that makes you feel every one of its 169 minutes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: B
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 13, 2012
Tolkien's inventive, episodic tale of a modest homebody on a dangerous journey has been turned into an overscale and plodding spectacle.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 13, 2012
The last hour of this movie is pretty much nonstop, and it's a gas.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
December 13, 2012
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.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 13, 2012
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is not the worst film of the year, but it may be the most disappointing.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
December 13, 2012
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.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Mary Ann Gwinn
Seattle Times
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 13, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tasha Robinson
AV Club
December 13, 2012
At its best, it recaptures the Rings movies' breadth, detail, and staggering sense of beauty.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 12, 2012
[The] elements are in place again, but the story feels less substantial than the Lord of the Rings tales.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 12, 2012
Solid and acceptable instead of soaring and exceptional, [and] unnecessarily hampered in its quest to reach the magical heights of the trilogy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 12, 2012
It all just takes so long.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 12, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 12, 2012
"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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 12, 2012
[A] dazzling, busy, fundamentally tedious movie ...
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
December 12, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
December 11, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
December 11, 2012
The more dark it becomes, the more 'The Hobbit' becomes compelling as a story, and finds a fitting tone.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
December 11, 2012
"The Hobbit" is an impressive first chapter.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Keith Uhlich
Time Out
December 11, 2012
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 | Original Score: 4/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 11, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Laremy Legel
Film.com
December 10, 2012
What's all this add up to? Not terribly much.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
December 10, 2012
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.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 10, 2012
An Unexpected Journey is a competent, entertaining effort but it neither enthralls nor amazes in the way its predecessors did.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
December 10, 2012
It's hard to overstate the degree to which the 48fps format interfered with my ability to get lost in this movie's story.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 10, 2012
The Lord of the Rings trilogy [has] been replaced by something that resembles tatty summer-stock theater.
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Scott Foundas
Village Voice
December 6, 2012
Even once Bilbo and company take to the hobbit highway, the pacing is leisurely verging on lethargic ...
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
December 6, 2012
The movie lacks majesty. Grand in parts, the movie is too often grandiose or grandiloquent; and the running time is indefensible.
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David Germain
Associated Press
December 4, 2012
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
December 4, 2012
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.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
December 4, 2012
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.
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
November 29, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 20, 2008
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 | Original Score: B+