Monday, December 3, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - My Review

So I got to see a sneak preview of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey tonight at the Warner Brother's lot. I have been looking forward to seeing this movie ever since they announced that it was being made. Of course at the time I didn't realize it was going to be one of three movies.

I'm a huge Tolkien fan, I've read/listen to The Hobbit a few times, Lord of the Rings to many times to count and The Silmarillion a few times. I love the world of Middle Earth so much so that I have a tattoo of the script "One Ring to Rule Them All" on my right arm with JRR Tolkien initials in the middle.

I invited my best bud Josh, who is also a HUGE Tolkien fan to join me. We got to WB at 6pm as the movie was starting at 7 and we wanted good seats. We parked and then proceed to walk the WB lot for the next 20 minutes looking for the theater. I mean if I wasn't in a panic to get good seats I would have loved the walk. We were walking through backlots and sound stages.. they were even filming an episode of Ellen, as we could hear the audience cheering as we passed. We finally found the theater and made our way up. The theater was about half full already (these screening room hold about 100 or so people). We checked in and grabbed our glasses. We were seeing this film in 3D and in HFR (48 fps). I was pumped to see this version as this is what Peter Jackson intended it to be viewed.

Now I'm not going into great detail about the movie, there might be slight spoilers (but I mean it's a 75 years old book that most people have read) . I plan on giving my overall thoughts and views. First let me say that I totally LOVED this film. It was everything I had expected and so much more. I can't wait to see it again and again.

Let's start with the world. From the first shot it felt like you were stepping right back into the Middle Earth that we visited in Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed how the movie opened, the narration and how it lead into the LOTR movies. The costumes and sets were amazing just as they were in LOTR and what you would expect from Jackson and company.

The acting was fantastic. Freedman was wonderful as Bilbo Baggins and McKellen was, as always, wonderful as the Wizard Gandalf. I'm still trying to get the 13 dwarves names down but I love how Jackson gave each one a very different look and personality. Ones that stood out for me would be of course Thorin, he was the King, he had that royalty presence. Another was Balin who was so loyal to Thorin and boy could he fight (and it's cool/sad to know that this is the same Balin from LOTR who dies in Moria.). Other Dwarves who stuck out to me were Ori (funny and young), Fili, Kili (both good fighters and cute) and Bofur (who bonds with Bilbo). The others (Nori, Dori, Oin, Gloin, Bombur, Bifur and Dwalin) had moments but not enough to really make an impact on me.

I had heard some negative things about Radagast The Brown (another Wizard), some were calling him the Jar Jar of this movie. First of all Jar Jar didn't bother me and maybe that's why I wasn't bother by Radagast. He's a recluse, he prefers the company of animals, of course he's going to be a bit off. I actually enjoyed his character. 

You get a much calmer and cooler Elrond in this movie, you can see the stress of Sauron rising has not effected him yet. He's like a different character. It was great to see Galadriel and Saruman in the short White Counsel scene. I liked the Galadriel and Gandalf moments, you can tell they have known each other for hundreds of years.

The actions scenes were incredible and there were moments that I felt were kind of nods to LOTR. I noticed several parallels. Like when the company is running through Khazad Dum mimicked the company running through the Goblin Town (which was one of my favorite action scenes). Could be similar music playing.

The Riddles in the Dark scene was amazing. Andy Serkis outdid himself as Gollum. The CG has advanced so much in 10 years. The Gollum scenes were just so heart wrenching. Gollum and Bilbo's interaction was just as I had hoped.

Lot's of scenes and dialogue were pulled directly from the book, it was amazing to see this world come alive. The Hobbit is a much different book then the LOTR. It actually is a children's book. And this movie though feels very much like LOTR has a totally different vibe storywise. It's a lot funnier and comical without going over the top. I mean there is still an edge to it with Goblin heads getting chopped off left and right but Jackson and company very much succeeded at making this feel the same but very different.

As for changes from the book.. I haven't read the book enough to noticed any major changes. I asked my friend Josh if anything was major and he said they moved little things around here and there and embellished a bit but nothing major was changed. As for the ending.. I'm not going to say where the movie ends but it was a satisfying ending... much like Fellowship of the Rings. 

Now for my thoughts on the 3D and HFR (48 fps)

I kept telling myself: ‘Oh Kenny, your eyes will get used to it… just give it a bit longer.‘ Well that never happened.  I couldn’t help but think, ‘Why does this look like some highly produced BBC TV drama?‘ It was like every 10 minutes or so I would think to myself.. do I like this or not.. It was very difficult for me stop noticing the difference. I guess it's like watching HD for the first time. It's so different then anything you've ever scene. Don't get me wrong the picture quality was crystal clear and the colors were amazing, I've never seen anything so sharp. But with that said I think it took away some of the  "filmyness" of the movie. Maybe I'm just old and enjoy the old school 24 fps. I mean film has a certain look to it as does TV and it was odd seeing HD TV on the big screen.

If I could do it again I would see the movie for the first time in 2D, so I could enjoy the story and characters and not think so much about the technical stuff.. I would then go and see it in 3D HFR (48 fps) just to experience it... it is pretty amazing.

Even with the 3D 48 fps I thought this was a GREAT adaptation of the beginning of what will doubtingly be another EPIC trilogy from Middle Earth.


  1. I agree on the HD for movies. I don't like those TVs that have it either. I think we watched the Dr. Who eps in that during the Liveathon and I didn't like how it looked like a videotaped TV show instead of as if it were on film. There's a depth and richness to the film look that the crystal clear HD doesn't always have. Sometimes it looks like you're watching behind the scenes footage instead of the actual movie. Also, I am very old, too.

    1. Yeah John.. it did remind me of when we were Doctor Who.. that same look... which is cool for certain things just not an EPIC movie like this.

  2. Fantastic review Kenny. Very open and you have made my mind up on going to see it in standard 2D (If I can get to the darn cinema lol).
    Again great review.