The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Malcolm Lenore’s take on Peter Jackson’s Epic Retelling of the Tolkien Classic
With vast landscapes, dynamic acting, and amazing set pieces and action scenes, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is probably one of my favorite movies of the year, despite its lengthy running time.
There’s a lot to love in this film so I’ll start with my personal favorite, the acting. Everyone in the movie was amazing. Richard Armitage was fantastic as Thorin and I was thrilled to see Sir Ian McKellan reprising his role as Gandalf. Martin Sheen was so perfect as Bilbo Baggins that I immediately knew why he was cast. He’s funny, brave, and charming enough that I really enjoyed him as the lead.
One thing I liked was that even though it was his story, they gave everybody enough screen time. We get to know the dwarves individual personalities and traits, as to not make them just blank slates. One actor I must commend in particular is Andy Serkis, who reprises his role as Gollum in what is probably the best scene in the film. Riddles man, fucking riddles.
One character I felt was a little unnecessary was the brown wizard, Radagast, because he seemed a little too crazy. Part of me wonders if this was Jackson’s way of making it up to fans that he left him out of LOTR, where he played a larger role. I did however love his costume as it had a very “nature” feel, yet was completely insane. This brings up another high point for the film, costuming and sets.
Jackson does it again, building a large fantasy world for these characters to populate while still making it absolutely believable, from Hobbiton, large vast mountains full of giants, sweeping, dark forests, to the elven city of Rivendell, it all blends together to create quite a world.
One problem I had with The Hobbit is that the cities are only given a minimal amount of screen time. There are only two when compared to the large amount shown in the LOTR trilogy. I accepted it because it was a travel film, but I still would’ve liked to see more than just large field, forest, mountain, to a bigger forest, and then a bigger mountain.
Another problem I had was the reliance on CG for the Orcs and Goblins. In the LOTR trilogy, Jackson used a lot of practical make-up techniques that made the Orcs and other fantastical characters look more realistic. For some reason he opted for CG instead in some scenes, and I felt that made some of The Hobbit look kind of cheap.
Now onto the last bit: the action. It’s great, amazing even. From the intro army scene and onwards, every action scene seems to become grander in scale and it’s here where the CG is put to great effect, especially in the last two which completely blew my mind as to their scale and the amount of action.
It also shows Jackson’s skill as he shows off how each dwarf fights, showing not only their personality in conversation, but in battle by their different styles which I found particularly enthralling.
Overall, The Hobbit is a wonderful film. A little slow in the beginning, and containing some scenes that feel unnecessary. Those “filler scenes” seem to only be there to pad up the films length, which will probably be a problem for some. But great action, great set pieces, and great characters make the experience fly by, and at the end you’ll be wishing for more.