The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) – Review

3 Stars

Peter Jackson’s return to middle-earth is a wondrous film that is full of the magnificent visuals fans have come accustomed to and a much lighter tone that will enthrall younger viewers. Needlessly padded out over three hours, this overlong tale is a bit too much of a good thing, plucked down to a lean two hours this would have been the breakneck adventure of the year. In its current form The Hobbit still qualifies as great entertainment but the sprawling and sometime laborious running-time will turn off some potential viewers.

Bilbo Baggins is recruited by the great wizard Gandalf to aid in the quest of a dozen dwarf’s attempt to reclaim their lost kingdom. The prequel story while novella sized has been greatly expanded upon by master storyteller Jackson working from the source material of J.R.R. Tolkien. The first hour is sets mostly within the Shire and the home of Bilbo, as he begrudgingly hosts a gathering of brutish, rude, dwarfs from each of the seven tribes. The impish Hobbit winds up accompanying the band of dwarfs on a mission to reclaim the throne of a mystical kingdom, guarded by a hibernating dragon who sleeps under mounds of treasure. Along the journey the group must battle orcs, massive spiders, on the road to their final destination.

This drawn out prequel to the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy is as technically impressive as anything you’re likely to see on screens all year. Those unfamiliar with Jackson’s earlier films, or non-students of Middle-Earth and Hobbits will most likely be overwhelmed by the flood of information. As expected the film ends with a cliffhanger that sets up the middle entry in the proposed new trilogy.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis

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