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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Reviews

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Lafe F

Super Reviewer

May 19, 2008
A thrilling adventure. I liked all the songs and cute (but grubby) Dwarves. Peter Jackson took a little kids' storybook and Rankin-Bass cartoon and made it into an epic. It took itself less seriously than Lord of the Rings - the fate of the world seemed not at stake here. It was like a great D&D adventure. There was a load of backstory and subplots added to the story, which really makes it better overall.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

July 26, 2012
There is so much to love about "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," and sometimes that particular fact overshadows what are a few minor problems with the film. It is a simple story, told in a very grand scale, about Dwarfs, accompanied by a Hobbit, who are on a quest to reclaim the Dwarfs homeland. Along the way, he comes across as mysterious ring, and the climax unfolds. This film has a very dark tone to it, with very excessive images, but the things that truly bugs me is the fact that it shifts back and forth from dark to comical too quickly, taking away some of the mood. Still, I highly enjoyed watching this film and the cliffhanger is incredible. I cannot wait for part 2 of this trilogy. It is no match for "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but on it's own, it really has something going for it. It was also nice to seem some pretty awesome cameos from familiar faces. Overall, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is 100% worth it!
Edward B

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2012
Okay, first the bad news: The Hobbit runs about thirty minutes too long: the first hour takes so much time setting the story up that it begins to feel tedious by the 45 minute mark. Because of this, I can't put it in the same league as Peter Jackson's monumental Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which was not only a flawless adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy novels, but also one of the best film trilogies of all time.
Now with that aside, once the set up is done, The Hobbit frequently exhibits the same magic and wonder of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Despite being so CGI heavy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a gorgeous looking movie. Every frame, cut, and shot is amazing. Chief among making this possible is the high speed projector rate of 48fps. The detail in the shots, the clarity of the movements, and the 3D technology is the most amazing visual experience you will have at the cinema this or any year. The High Frame Rate may be jarring at first because the characters move so smoothly, but once your eyes adjust, it's a truly unique experience.
The action scenes are breathtaking. Martin Freeman's performance as Bilbo melds clever humour with emotional depth. The company of dwarfs are all remarkably lovable characters, and the returning characters like Elrond, Frodo, and Galadriel are welcome additions to enhance nostalgia. Gollum's return in particular is as creepy and suspenseful as any of his scenes in LOTR. This is great action filmmaking, and while Peter Jackson shows his tendency to self indulge a little too much, he hasn't quite lost his touch.
Everett J

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2012
****1/2
When I saw "Hobbit" in the theater is was a family movie night in Paris. I hadn't got much sleep, and was just tired as hell, and not in an ideal mood to watch a 3 hour movie. I think because of this it really soured my opinion of the movie, because I remember not caring a whole lot for it. Felt it was too long, and nowhere near the quality of the previous "Lord of the Rings" movies. So, I have the Extended Editions of the first trilogy on blu-ray(thanks to my amazing wifey!), and just had to make sure I got the extended cuts of this new trilogy(I'm OCD on my movie collection). So I picked up the 3D Blu Ray and figured I'd rewatch before the new one comes out. No matter what I thought of this first one, I knew I was going to watch the rest because I LOVED the original trilogy so much. Well, I'm glad I did, because I was very wrong on my initial feelings. This is a fantastic movie. Is it too long? Yup. As good as the first three? Nope. But it's still an amazing(and Unexpected) Journey of a movie. The effects, especially in 3D, are unbelievable. The action is great, and the music has been stuck in my head all week(luckily the soundtrack is on Spotify). There are still some things I don't like, like the sparrows not just flying them all to the castle at the end. Plus, just like "Fellowship of the Ring", I hate not having an ending, but I expected it this time around. This first installment of Bilbo Baggins journey to helps the dwarves reclaim their home is fantastic and now I cannot wait to see the second one! I'll just make sure it's on a day where I'm wide awake and ready.

Here's my original review, where I wasn't as harsh as I remembered being. Because for the longest time I told people I didn't think it was very good, but my review says otherwise...weird.


Two quick things, I watched this movie while I was pretty tired and had trouble getting into it(but I would have during any movie). Also, I watched this in Paris, IL, which is a cheap theater and doesn't offer the same quality as, say an AMC theater. Having said that, I thought this was a terrific movie, and one that I can't wait to watch in 3D when I'm in a much better movie viewing state of mind. This is a prequel to the amazing "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and it holds up good next to those three masterpieces. I don't think this is good as those three, but it doesn't diminish the legacy in any way, and actually sets up a trilogy that will be pretty awesome when it's all said and done. This is the story of Bilbo Baggins(Martin Freeman) embarking on an adventure with Gandolf(Ian McKellen) and a group of Dwarves to help them reclaim their land from a dragon named Smaug. Freeman is amazing as Bilbo, and probably my favorite Hobbit of all these middle earth movies. He's funny, and a guy you find yourself genuinely rooting for. Peter Jackson returns as the director and I think that is very much a good thing. This matches right up with the first three, even though it is a much lighter movie in tone. This is more kid friendly that the original trilogy, and that's good, as it will introduce a whole new crowd to these movies. Very good movie, that is a must watch this holiday season.
Al S

Super Reviewer

December 30, 2012
Director, Peter Jackson brings back the magic and joy of The Lord of The Rings to this great and wonderful adventure that`s filled with incredible special effects, glorious humor and amazing action sequences. A breathtaking and unforgettable first chapter to this new trilogy that will promise to deliver nothing but the goods. A masterpiece. A real classic. A thrilling, exciting, warmhearted, funny and action-packed adventure that you will not help but love. It`s gorgeously shot, incredibly well-crafted and superbly performed by its truly amazing and extraordinary all-star cast who all give astonishing and enjoyable performances. Ian McKellen is brilliant once again as the the wizard, Gandalf. Martin Freeman is truly magnificent. Richard Armitage is outstanding. Also having welcome returns of Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett. The entire company is wonderful with spirited performances from James Nesbitt, Aiden Turner, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish and more. A spectacular film that's big, fun, thrilling and exhilarating all the way through and has lots of heart in it as well. One of the best pictures of 2012.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

July 23, 2012
This was in development hell for nearly a decade, but it December 2012, we finally got a welcome return to Middle Earth.

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit this is the first entry in a new trilogy focusing on events prior to the LOTR trilogy.

60 years before the events of Fellowship, we follow a younger Bilbo Baggins as he gets thrust into a quest to help the wizard Gandalf and a company of 12 dwarves lead by the mighty Thorin Oakenshield to reclaim the dwarf kingdom of Erebor that was taken over long ago by the dragon Smaug.

Given how the novel is 310 pages or so, it's pretty obvious that there's a lot of padding going on, especially since this one book is being adapted into a trilogy, and this, it's first part, is 170 minutes long. No, it's not really necessary to do this, and yeah, making it two parts would be better, as it's unlikely they'd go for just a single super long film, but at the same time, even though a relatively simple and compact story is blown out into epic proportions, it also means we get a fair amount of supplemental material from the Tolkien canon thrown in as well, which, for die hard fans, might be considered a good thing.

Personally, I'm on the fence about it. Yeah, some of the extra stuff is cool, but I really don't think it's necessary to make things so bloated and lengthy. Of course money is the main factor for all of this, but, despite my disagreements with some of this, I will admit that I'm happy to have more of Middle Earth get the big screen treatment.

And let's be honest: at this stage of his career, serving up epic spectacle is what Peter Jackson really excels at.

The film looks great, and, even though the decision to make this trilogy in 3D and shot in a high frame rate isn't the most necessary thing either, I was glued to the screen for the whole running time.

Martin Freeman is great as young Bilbo Baggins, and we get welcome returns from Ian McKellan as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum in what is easily the film's best scene. Other cast members from the Rings trilogy appear as well, and it's nice to see them, but it also felt a tad forced. Among the new cast, none of them are really remarkable except for Richard Armitage as Thorin. All the rest of the dwarves just feel interchangeable and unremarkable.

The action scenes are well done, the effects, though CGI heavy, are also quite strong, and the music too, is quite stunning.

Obviously since this is the first in a new trilogy it's kinda anti-climactic, but since I try to be optimistic more than pessimistic, I'll be nice and call it a nice tease for things to come.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

February 25, 2008
As a total Tolkien freak, I should love it more. I enjoyed that it played to the fans so much with supplemental info. I didn't enjoy how much it was non-stop action, especially given that after a while there was no way in Hell that they all would have survived all they were going through (Goblin Town... ugh). Still, that's how the book was to some degree so whatever.
The Gandiman
The Gandiman

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2013
To be fair to "The Hobbit: An Expected Journey", it's got some big shoes to fill. The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy were almost close to perfection with ample source material to draw from where each film was able to have its distinctive story to tell while remaining coherent and cohesive. "The Hobbit" just doesn't have enough to keep it going and invites mind-wandering through scenes that go on for way too long for no reason.

Seeing Gollum again makes up for most of the meandering. Even that segment overstays its welcome a bit but the moment he disappears from the screen, you do miss how well the character is realized. As for the rest of the characters, they blend together without much more than a stereotype to tell them apart.

At the center of it all are the charming Martin Freeman and the perfectly cast Ian McKellen. Because they are saving some revelations for later films you are left with incomplete pictures of the character's motivations and actions but we all know what we're getting - the first part of a trilogy. It's a shame that it really does feel like a very long exposition to a meatier story.

But this is Peter Jackson with material he does wonders with and "The Hobbit" still has its wonders. The world is immersive, the action sequences are mystical and some of the creations like the goblins are wonderful to witness.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" while not as unexpected and surprising of a journey as it could have been is still a good starting point for a trilogy that looks certain to get better as the story gets richer.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2012
A lengthy first chapter to "The Hobbit", concerning the simple creature Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and how he is sucked in to an adventure by the wise, trustworthy Gandalf (Ian McKellan) in which the two of them pair up with a hoard of dwarves to help get their recently captured land back. The pace of this film is definitely a valid complaint, as for a good hour to first half of the film it treads slowly and often feels like Jackson threw some filler material together to make it fit into its "epic"--ly long expectations. This is not the same epic film that "The Fellowship of the Ring" started the story out with. The adventure, when it kicks into gear, is breathtaking, but it takes too long to get to that point, although even when the film plods the scenery remains incredible, as Jackson continually reminds us he has masterful control over the world he helped bring to life over eleven years ago. The last forty minutes are especially impressive, with all the fun tricks in the bag you would expect in a grand finale. Overall, a mixed bag, not totally worth watching but not horrible.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2013
Turning one book into three films, fiddling with the story and adding new characters is all part of this shameless money-making machine after the success of the original films and will no doubt please the producers of the franchise greatly. To be honest, when it is all done to this high standard, why not? You should always read the book first kids, that is if you're interested, personally I was never a Goblins and Wizards kid, I was more into Dinosaurs and Astronauts so I have never and probably will never read the book. Not because I'm sure it's not good or anything, I just have about 1000 books I want to read first. I liked the film a lot, it's nice to see some new faces along side a few favourites from the LOTR films. I found it a lot easier to watch than I found the first film although it is a bit wishy washy at times. The camera lingers...are they safe...did they make it....yes, they made it, there are 2 more films to go and a ton of money to make, get on with it. I'm not sure the hard-core fans will like it but then they seemed to like Peter Jackson's self-indulgent LOTR trilogy, so I'm going to guess yes. As a non-fan, I thought it was still pretty good. My favorite thing about it has to be Sylvestor McCoy, he was brilliant.
Market Man
Market Man

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2012
Peter Jackson's return to the world of Tolkien is rather weak. At first I was against the idea of such a small book being made into a trilogy. I still am. Many say not to compare this film to the far superior "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Well, it's hard not to considering Jackson has tried so hard to recreate the style of the original films because that's what the audience wants. But he fails big time.

The bizarre, unfunny, slapstick humor is painful. This involves snot jokes, burping, poop hair, and lame one-liners. Don't give me the "it's based on a children's book" crap. Sure, the source material was written for children but I'm talking about the movie. Adding all this stupid humor really messes with the tone; it doesn't feel like it belongs in the LOTR universe which "The Hobbit" is trying so hard replicate. The film will go from trying to be epic to pathetic gags. It doesn't work. I don't mind a little humor occasionally but this is just overdone and it makes the film feel very unbalanced.

Now to the pacing. Many say the beginning is slow but they're wrong. The entire film is slow! Radagast's involvement is pointless and his bunny sled is ridiculous. We also get to see Saruman and Galadriel in a boring scene that has absolutely no relevance to the main narrative. Wait, what exactly is "The Hobbit" about again? Apparently Jackson is trying to make connections with LOTR, but "Fellowship of the Ring" already explains past events pretty well. Seriously, all the LOTR fanboy pleasing scenes could have been left out (including Frodo). But no, we need them in order to have enough material for the trilogy. Not good.

And I understand that Jackson is taking material from the appendices of LOTR. I wouldn't have a problem with this if all these extra scenes actually advanced the plot. But the White Council just talks and they never decide to act on anything. Also, that scene has NOTHING to do with the dwarves reclaiming their homeland. At least in "Fellowship" the plot makes major advancements but in "The Hobbit" the story hardly goes anywhere.

Let's discuss the action. It's like watching a video game. The main orc villain, Azog, looks fake. Everything is CGI overload; there's no tension. Characters survive unbelievable situations. Compare the ending orc scene in this film to the one in "Fellowship." Huge difference. Unfortunately everything in "The Hobbit" is cartoonish. Not to mention most of the action has no impact on the story whatsoever.

Now to the characters. Gandalf is great but that is to be expected. Martin Freeman does fine as Bilbo but his transition from weakling to hero happens a little too quickly and feels unrealistic. Thorin is your typical warrior like character; I didn't care for him too much. Bifur is probably my favorite of all the dwarves (hold on, I just Googled his name and realized I got the wrong one, his name is BOFUR, my bad). All the other dwarves are just there and if you were to ask me to name them and describe something about their character, I couldn't do it. And I'm sure you couldn't either.

But the film does have some good. We get to see Smeagol and Bilbo interact in an iconic scene. The finding of the Ring is also significant and is really the only scene that should have any connection with LOTR unlike Galadriel, Frodo, etc. And that's about it. Honestly, nothing really happens. While watching "The Hobbit" you kind of forget about the main adventure because of all the padding. Then at the end you're like, "Oh yeah, there's a dragon." Maybe the second film will improve.

It's such a shame that "The Hobbit" ended up being a drawn-out, bloated, boring mess that lacks compelling characters and an engaging story. I really wanted to love it but it's hard not to ignore the many problems. I couldn't wait to return to Middle-earth but now I'm not sure if I want to go back to this new cartoon version. Hopefully improvements will be made in the sequels but after witnessing this my hopes aren't too high. All these years of anticipation and this is what we get...
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2010
I enjoyed this film for what it is..a fun, delightful popcorn movie. I left behind the seriousness of the previous LOTR movies, and enjoyed the merry band of brothers on their adventures. The movie delivers what it promised, and is a worthy companion to the trilogy. The film does run long, but it keeps you entertained so that you don't really notice.
Eugene B

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2013
Visually a treat; remarkable and entrancing. The humor is visible and solid. But the film's duration along with its tendency to sidetrack and lose its touch brings this new franchise to a unbalanced beginning. An Unexpected Journey is adventurous and comprised of a groundbreaking scenery. Though its sluggish and at times somewhat hard to catch on, it's nonetheless a decent start for this prequel-trilogy. 3.5/5
Alexander W

Super Reviewer

April 6, 2013
The Hobbit is the top mark of high fantasy movies, we don't get enough of them as it is, and when one comes out that follows the book and more, and is shot so beautifully the only thing I worry is that when people complain. You won't see another high fantasy movie like this in the next 50 years !
UUd I

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2012
this movie explain a lot of Lord of the Ring Movie. Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth is an earnest, visually resplendent trip, but the film's deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty.

unfortunately I was watching in stink and rusty cinema
Mark W

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2010
When news of an adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's "The Hobbit" arrived, I have to admit that I was very eager to see it move along briskly. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Production was so slow that original director Guillermo del Toro had to leave due to other commitments. Although this was disappointing news, all was not lost as "The Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson returned to the helm to assume control of this prequel. Expectations were high and it left the overhanging question as to whether he could emulate his past successes. Well, it's certainly not without it's flaws but again Jackson has delivered another indulgent cinematic experience from the treasured quill of Tolkien's world.
The Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor has been taken over by the fearsome dragon, Smaug and a plan is set to reclaim it and the treasures lost. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is a Hobbit who finds himself thrust into this quest on the recommendation of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen). Smaug is not the only thing that stands in their way, though; a malevolent presence is at work in middle-earth which could affect all of them.
After a brief introduction to the plight of the dwarves and a devastating introduction to the dragon Smaug, we are taken straight back to the Shire where the whole story of the Hobbit adventures originated. It's here that we're reminded of the twee environment in which these little halfling's reside and with Jackson calling the shots, you know straight away that you are in comfortable hands. Gandalf and Bilbo's first meeting is addressed and the rest of the main characters are rounded up before the film begins it's "unexpected journey". When I say this, though, it sounds like the film gets straight down to business and gets the formalities out the way. It doesn't. Jackson takes his time in establishing the set-up and he chooses to flesh out every detail. As a result, it becomes apparent that the film isn't flowing as easily as it could do. Things do pick up, though, and it's very difficult not to get swept up in the sheer visual masterclass that's delivered before your eyes. It's absolutely breathtaking to observe and none more so, than when Jackson begins to deliver his highly impressive, action set-pieces. From a confrontation with campfire Trolls to battling Rock monsters and giant sweeping eagles, they're all absolutely astounding and thrillingly executed. However, despite the excitement, what these moments lack is the ability to feel like the characters are in any real danger. Maybe this is because I had read the book beforehand or maybe it's because the set-pieces only served to instil some excitement before taking a break and doing it all over again. There is a feeling of repetition to the film and, dare I say it, a feeling of tediousness. Jackson's decision to flesh out this short children's novel into a trilogy of films - that will no doubt run between two and three hours each - seems wholly unnecessary but I suppose time will tell on that. As it is, though, this film is certainly overlong and it, simply, didn't need to be. Some scenes are laborious and you can't help but get the feeling that Jackson should just move it along. On the other hand, I found it hard to deny how much fun I was having. Much like "The Lord of the Rings", it's aided by very strong performances; McKellen is his usual reliable self as Gandalf and although I wasn't convinced with the choice of Martin Freeman as Bilbo, I have to admit that he slotted in very well indeed. As for the dwarves, well, out of the whole thirteen of them, only a handful actually stand out. The one that really rises to the surface is that of Thorin Oakenshield and Richard Armitage plays him to perfection - channeling an Aragorn/Viggo Mortensen charismatic presence. He's so commanding that it's hard to accept that he's only a dwarf. Another highlight from the performances is seeing Andy Serkis reprise his role of Gollum. Once again, the go-to guy for motion capture brings this complex little character to life.
The ingredients are all here and it certainly looks like there's more mileage in these characters yet. I just hope that Jackson knows when to trim the edges next time round.
A little less plodding and bit more urgency will be required for the second instalment, if this trilogy is to truly find it's feet. That being said, it finishes strongly and if Jackson can keep that momentum going then this could still turn out to be a successful return to middle earth.
Stuart B

Super Reviewer

October 6, 2009
It's ok I guess, just expected more and all I got was a load of boring Dwarfs, a couple of laughs and of course wonderful SFX. Not a patch on the Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

February 1, 2013
In the J.R.R. Tolkien world of orcs and wizards and rings, "The Hobbit" might be considered lighter fare, more comedic and adventurous, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The hobbit in question is Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a homebody who is quite content to live his life in peace and solitude until Gandalf the wizard organizes a dwarf party in his little hobbit home. The dwarves are returning home to reclaim their kingdom from the dragon Smaug, and Bilbo has been reluctantly chosen to be the party's "burglar". The crew subsequently sets off on a journey fraught with orcs and trolls and goblins, and a mysterious ring as well.

The world the hobbit inhabits is quite beautiful to look at, and the creatures (mostly computer generated) are all interesting and devious in their own ways. This prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy attempts to show us how certain characters from those movies came to be, and gives us a better understanding of what they once were. It's a fun, light-hearted (well, as light-hearted as one of these Peter Jackson extravaganzas can be) adventure, but at three-plus hours (and this is just the first of three, no less) even the best can start to get a little tiring. And the Hobbit is definitely one of the best.
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