Anthony's Review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I didn't jump on the Lord of the Rings bandwagon until after I saw "Fellowship of the Ring" on DVD, but I was hooked. I saw "The Two Towers" and "Return of King" on opening weekends. I bought the theatrical cut DVD's and then the extended Blu-Ray set. Suffice it to say but I am a big LotR fans.
Now I've read a lot of other film critic reviews of the first installment of The Hobbit trilogy and I'm flabbergasted. "I loved LotR but I didn't like this, it was too long, it went in too many directions". Perhaps people were caught up in the size and spectacle of Peter Jackson's first trilogy (which has since been rightfully copied to no end) but pay close attention. All of the rings films were three hours plus, they all had a million characters and several different stories going on at once.
Perhaps the magic has worn off for some, but fear not, if you truly loved the rings films you will just as in love with the first Hobbit film.
Peter Jackson brings Middle Earth back to life and you immediately feel back at home. The pace and tone reeks of Fellowship of the Ring (which was the weakest of the trilogy) but that isn't a bad thing. Martin Freeman is PERFECT as Bilbo Baggins and there are a ton of call backs and cameos hearkening back to the first series of films including a lot of the tremendous Andy Serkis as Gollum.
The movie ends without any spectacular resolution but come on, what did you expect? You do see the tale mirror Lord of the Rings in a lot of ways. Slow going at first, picking up the pace slowly as you go (oddly enough, just like a book). Everything culminates with some big leaps forward in character development and the beginning of the second stage of their journey as Bilbo and the Dwarves look at a very distant Lonely Mountain much like Frodo and Sam gazing at Mount Doom at the end of Fellowship.
I saw this in good old 24fps and in 2-D so I can't speak to those other experiences but the film was epic in scale, beautiful to behold, and just so amazingly and artfully crafted from set design all the way down to the very last sword and shield.
I'm not sure what this film would look and feel like if Mr. Del Toro had done it, but this doesn't feel like someone trying to recapture Lord of the Rings, it just feels like it should, like you never really left.
I felt almost every minute of The Dark Knight Rises, but The Hobbits 3 hours blew by. I'd gladly see it again, and I can't wait to see "The Deolation Of Smaug".