It’s no secret on this blog that I am a huge Tolkien fan, so if you think this is going to be a balanced and critical view of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey you’d be sadly mistaken.
Just so you know I’ve been looking forward this release forever. I went to the world premier and stood for hours trying to get a glimpse of anyone on the red carpet (when you’re as tall as a hobbit a glimpse is all you can realistically expect), and my writing group recently gave me my own Elvish name – Rarwen. So now my street cred is out the window, I have to say I went to the movie expecting to love it – and I was not disappointed.
However I couldn’t wait two whole days without saying anything, so consider this the uncut, fangirl version… (I’ve tried to avoid spoilers).
Why I loved The Hobbit.
1. Peter Jackson gets me.
What – it wasn’t all about me? Well it was clearly about the fans – people who love the original story and the world that makes up Middle Earth. I liked revisiting Frodo and older Bilbo (Ian Holm) and taking time to introduce all 13 dwarves. I loved that my favourite songs (Chip the glasses and crack the plates) made the cut, and that the trolls were as slapstick as the book.
Tolkien didn’t write to a slick formula – yet there is something about his stories that have continued to captivate readers decades after they were written. Peter Jackson gets that. So even if he did tinker with the story, he’s certainly tried to stay true to the spirit of the books.
2. That Old LOTR Magic.
The achingly familiar music, the spectacular landscapes, the return of beloved characters (Gandalf, Frodo, Gollum, Galadriel, Elrond, Saruman – and of course Bilbo). It feels like coming home.
Peter Jackson didn’t mess with a good thing (the film franchise) he just improved the technology.
3. Really great acting.
Honestly there was the odd cheesy line (or three), but I thought the acting was amazing. Ian McKellen was every bit the Gandalf we know and love – although much more active (and present) in this movie. He has a way of making those throw-away lines (‘Run!’ and ‘This Way!’) – sound really good too.
Martin Freeman does a sterling job as Bilbo. So good I can’t even pinpoint why. He just was a great Bilbo – and every scene felt real.
Richard Armitage brought to life a brooding and burdened Thorin Oakenshield, beautifully. I read a review which said he was a poor imitation of Aragorn – but I didn’t see that at all. I’ve always liked Thorin as a character (he made quite an impression on me when I was young) – and this version sat really well.
And who can go past the extremely talented Andy Serkis, who impossibly made Gollum even better in this movie.
4. A Visual Feast.
Gollum was amazing – a miracle of CGI. The sets and settings, including some very dreamy Rivendell shots – spectacular. The fight scenes were fast and furious. It might be a long movie, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen!
5. Good Fun.
There were jokes, funny songs, and a few gags (think troll butts and snot…). The Hobbit is a lighter story than TLOTR and I was glad Peter Jackson had some fun with it too.
I read a few lukewarm reviews of the movie this morning; some picked at the additional storylines, some at the characters and some just weren’t feeling it. To me the point of reading or watching fantasy is the joy of suspending disbelief and immersing yourself in another world – where dragons can be overcome, fellowship is valued, and the little guy can make a big difference. If you haven’t seen the movie, leave your expectations at home, sit back and enjoy!
What do you think? Have you seen the movie? Want to see the movie? Heaven forbid – don’t get it at all?