Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 50 min
One thing became very clear after watching An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson is going to take his own sweet time getting the pages of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbit, onto the big screen. Not that this is such a bad thing. This first installment (there are going to be three if you can believe that) is certainly not boring, and actually quite a pleasant way to spend three hours of your life.
The production design is phenomenal. From the sweeping shots of Erebor and Rivendell, to the cozy surroundings of Bilbo Baggins’s house in the Shire. Everything is beautifully designed and photographed. Martin Freeman is a great choice for the titular character, and anchors the film well as Bilbo reluctantly joins a company of dwarfs on an adventure to reclaim Erebor, the Dwarf’s homeland. Ian KcKellen reprises his role as Gandalf the Grey, and brings gravitas to the proceedings.
An Unexpected Journey is too long, and the drama is spread a little thin. The action also gets a little over the top towards the end of the film, as it seems the dwarfs are almost indestructible. But this is pure fantasy so it’s okay I guess to bend the laws of physics a little.
If you enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you are probably going to enjoy this too. If you’re new to Peter Jackson’s adaptations of J.J.R. Tolkien’s work, but have read the books. I think you’re still going to be entertained by this. New to both the films and the books. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. This is a fantasy adventure with hobbits, trolls, dwarfs and wizards. The film is rated PG-13, so the violence never gets too graphic.
This movie needs a huge screen. The production design and sound are incredible. This film was also released in a new format – HFR (High Frame Rate). Usually films are shot at 24 frames a second, but the Hobbit was shot at 48 frames a second. The result is a much higher definition. I personally only saw this in 2D 24 frames, and thought it looked amazing. I have read the higher frame rate actually detracted from the viewing experience because the extra detail made the costumes, lighting and makeup effects more ‘stage’ real. Like you had walked on the set, and got to study everything close up, which for some might kill the magic. I suggest a 2D or 3D 24 frame viewing. The HFR 3D if you’re curious. At home a HD viewing is a must.
I love the scene where Gollum and Bilbo play the game of riddles. Gollum is such a tragic twisted character, and played to perfection as usual by Andy Serkis.