The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Approaching his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins decides to write down the full story of the adventure he had 60 years earlier, for the benefit of his nephew Frodo.

Long before Bilbo’s involvement, the Dwarf Thrór becomes King of the Lonely Mountain and brings an era of prosperity to his kin until the arrival of Smaug the Dragon. Smaug destroys the nearby town of Dale, killing many of the men and women there, before driving the Dwarves out of their mountain and taking their hoard of gold. Thrór’s grandson Thorin sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and is dismayed when they take their leave rather than aid his people, resulting in Thorin’s everlasting hatred of Elves.

In the Shire, young Bilbo is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey into hosting a party for Thorin and his company of Dwarves: Balin, Dwalin, Fíli, Kíli, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur. Gandalf’s aim is to recruit Bilbo as the Dwarves’ “burglar” to aid them in their quest to the Lonely Mountain, of which they have a dwarven map and key to help guide them. Bilbo is, at first, unwilling to accept, but has a change of heart and joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain.

Traveling onward, the company gets captured by three Trolls. Bilbo stalls them from eating the dwarves until dawn, when Gandalf suddenly exposes the Trolls to sunlight, turning them all to stone. They search the Trolls’ cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.

The company encounters Radagast the Brown, a wizard who lives in Greenwood. He tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a Necromancer who has been corrupting the forest with dark magic. The company is chased by Orcs on Wargs, with Radagast covering their escape. Gandalf leads the company through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond. Elrond discovers hidden writing on Thorin’s map and discloses that the Lonely Mountain has a secret door which will be visible only on Durin’s Day. Gandalf talks with the White Council consisting of Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White. He tells them about his involvement with the Dwarves, presenting a Morgul-blade Radagast obtained from Dol Guldur as a sign that the Necromancer is linked to the Witch-king of Angmar and may attempt to use Smaug for his evil purposes. Saruman is skeptical, not believing the Necromancer to be a true threat.

Without Gandalf, the company journeys into the Misty Mountains, where they find themselves amid a colossal battle between Stone Giants. They take refuge in a cave and are captured by Goblins, who take them to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo becomes separated from the Dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray Goblin to eat. Pocketing the ring, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum, who is initially deterred from attacking Bilbo because he wields the small Elvish blade. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins or eaten by Gollum if he loses. After riddling each other back and forth several times, Bilbo eventually wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket. Realizing that he lost the ring, Gollum suspects that Bilbo possesses it and attacks the hobbit. Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum.

Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the Dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the Dwarven kingdom of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin’s head and is even now searching for the dwarves. As the goblins search Thorin and company they discover Thorin’s sword, Orcrist the goblin cleaver. The sight of this drives the Great Goblin into a fury. He orders the goblins to attack and behead Thorin and company. Gandalf arrives just in time and leads the Dwarves in a desperate escape, fighting their way through the goblin hordes and killing the Great Goblin.

Meanwhile, Bilbo eventually comes upon an exit, but it is being guarded by Gollum. Rather than kill his pursuer, Bilbo spares him and sneaks past him out of the mountain. As Bilbo leaves, Gollum curses him “forever.” Bilbo rejoins the group, keeping secret the ring which he found.

Ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, the company take refuge in trees as wargs try and hunt them down. Thorin then challenges Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground by his mace and set upon by his warg. Bilbo saves Thorin from the Orcs just as the company is rescued by the Eagles who fly them to the safety of the Carrock. Gandalf heals the unconscious Thorin who acknowledges Bilbo’s bravery. In the distance, the company sees the Lonely Mountain. The company also see a thrush flying about, which then heads to the Lonely Mountain. There, the thrush catches a snail and knocks its shell against the mountainside, awakening the sleeping Smaug, who is lying beneath a golden hoard

REVIEW:

Following up on the successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, comes the prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Following the trend of book series turned into films these days, director Peter Jackson made the decision to expand this to 3 films. Can we say cash grab?!?

What is this about?

Beloved hobbit Bilbo Baggins is back in a visually spectacular tale inspired by The Lord of the Rings and likewise directed by Peter Jackson. Joining the effort to free the Kingdom of Erebor, Bilbo also faces a fateful encounter with Gollum.

What did I like?

Stunning. Say what you will about this film, you can’t deny the beauty present on the screen. Part of it is because it is filled in majestic New Zealand (one of the few places left on this planet that isn’t corrupted with the works of man). The other reason that it is so gorgeous is because of how breathtaking the visual and special effects look. Words cannot do the look of this film justice.

Dwarves. I read this book long ago, and from what I recall, the dwarves did not have their own distinct personalities. For a film like this, adding personality allows the audience to become invested in characters that otherwise would be just random beings. The film throws in a few quirks here and there for each of the dwarves. I still can’t tell you who’s who except for Thorin and Dwalin, but at least they tried.

Action. One of the biggest problems I have with the …Rings trilogy is that, other than the excessive length, those movies drag on so long without anything happening. As was said in Clerks 2, “… [sic] Hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a volcano.” This film ramps up the action and tones down the walking. Don’t get me wrong, there is walking in here, but it isn’t the main focal point, as opposed to the action, which is what most people want to see when they watch this, right?

What didn’t I like?

Aging. I know it has been a few years, but Hugo Weaving and Ian McKellan are looking much older than they did in the trilogy. You can throw Cate Blanchett in there, to a lesser extent. I bring this up for two reasons. First, this is a prequel. I appreciate that they brought in the original actors, but as we saw in Tron: Legacy with Jeff Bridges, the technology exists to make them look younger. With all the money they spent on this, I wonder why they didn’t shell out a few more to do that, rather than let them just look ancient.

Gollum. I won’t bring up the fact that Andy Serkis is more than deserving of an Academy Award for some of his work, but the only reason he hasn’t won is because they don’t have a category for him. This is one of his best performances and Gollum has never looked better. However, I felt that his scene went on a bit longer than it should have without necessarily going anywhere with it until the end.

For all the hype that surrounded and preceded The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it sort of left me feeling flat. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it, but I didn’t feel that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread that way some people would have you believe it is. With that in mind, I imagine you are wondering if this is worth seeing. Well, yes, I highly recommend it. Be warned, though. For those that want to know if this is something the kids can see, there are some very violent scenes. Other than that, you should really check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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4 Responses to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

  1. 4.5/5 was my rating too. I was afraid that It wouldn’t like this. Loved LOTR trilogy but after all this time I was concerned. But no, Jackson pulled it off 🙂

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  3. […] The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey […]

  4. […] One of the biggest complaints about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was that it introduced all these characters, especially the dwarves, but no one could tell who was […]

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