I was nervous. For many reasons. How could Peter Jackson recapture the magic of the seminal LOTR trilogy? Why three segments? How can a children’s adventure story (because that is what The Hobbit is…) captivate as well as the dark, emotional journey of LOTR? Why were some folks upset and disappointed? So, obviously I was a bit worried. Well, damn! What was I worried about? The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is wonderful! (And fyi–I watched it in good-old-fashioned 2-D, just like I enjoyed the others.)
As someone who watches the LOTR trilogy on a yearly basis, I can not express how lovely it was to visit Middle Earth again. The vistas–the colors–the music–the Orcs–Gandalf…**happy sigh**…and now we had new faces, places and creatures. The cinematography is still gorgeous and the new score, which incorporates some LOTR themes, is beautiful. Nothing about this film disappointed me. I felt like I had returned to a familiar world and was being shown whole new parts of it. How cool is that?
Jackson was the right choice. Although the tone is more lighthearted and fun, he knows this world and its characters and his love for them shines through. And to answer the pacing issues (I’ve heard folks complaining about)–it is necessary to set up the characters first. You need time to absorb the atmosphere and, like Bilbo, get yourself ready. When Bilbo cries, “I’m going on an adventure!” You are with him–ready. And the adventure does not leave you wanting–Orcs, Goblins, Wolf-like doggies, awesome Rock Giants! Yeah…it’s incredible.
But, the adventure would be less if not for the amazing characters that have embarked on it. Now, I have to say that I am a huge Martin Freeman fan (hello? He is Watson!) and knew he was the perfect choice to be Bilbo Baggins. I was 100% correct. Freeman is Bilbo Baggins. He is everything Bilbo should be. Nervous, scared, curious, brave, smart, funny and kind. It is really a treat to watch his performance. I am sure the world will fall in love with Freeman now, too.
Sir Ian McKellen is Gandalf, the Grey and always a pleasure to watch. Unlike the LOTR, here we get The Grey all the time and honestly, for me, I like him more than when evolves into The White, who is way more serious. McKellen was made to play this role. He is awesome.
And while this time around we do not get “hotness” overload in the boy department (sorry, Dwarves!) that we did for LOTR–I do find myself having a crush on Richard Armitage‘s Thorin. Yeah…he’s hot. 😀 (Had to go there!) But, he is also perfect in his performance. All the Dwarves are. At this point, you get a bit on everyone and they all fit.
Now, I must mention the best performance and one of my most anticipated returns to the screen–Gollum! Andy Serkis is a motion-capture genius! He needs to get a special Oscar already, because what he can do is amazing! The team at WETA has many reasons to be proud–Gollum in the LOTR was pretty realistic and yet, here he is 100% better. It is creepy how real he looks. And the riddle scene is absolutely perfect. My favorite scene.
At the end, I found myself audibly saying, “Aw, man! That’s it?” I immediately remembered saying the same thing after The Fellowship and thought, well done, Mr. Jackson. Again, I am anxiously awaiting the next installment–especially to see Smaug, the Dragon! (insert happy dance) We were already looking forward to ALL 6 films back to back! Yes, we’re those people. 🙂
So, I hope I have given you reason not to worry. Go see The Hobbit. I think it’s pretty awesome and I hope you will find plenty to love about it, too!
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey