The Lord of Rings Trilogy by J R R Tolkien could be considered one of mankind’s magnificent literary works. Tolkien wrote a true epic complete with supporting languages, maps and what not. Considering its magnitude it was considered unfilmable, yet Peter Jackson did it. Of course he took liberties in adapting the magnanimous books to celluloid yet the same epicness was captured in his movie trilogy. Peter Jackson did indeed set a milestone in filming history, with his LOTR trilogy having legendary battles, never before seen CG wizardry and backed by Tolkien’s own works it was to nobody’s amazement that Return of King had won 13 Academy Awards.
Peter Jackson went onto make the awesome King Kong remake and the very mediocre ‘The Lovely Bones’ but it was very evident that he’d stride back to LOTR cause there were so much left of the untold Middle Earth Chronicles. And that’s how The Hobbit began taking shape. The Hobbit was actually a childrens book written by Tolkien prior to LOTR and set in the Middle Earth which featured Frodo Baggins’ uncle Bilbo Baggins. I knew the story and it was exactly what it was said to be: A Tale for kids. Peter Jackson decided to pool in more stories from the Middle Earth to The Hobbit and make it a trilogy. The previews were decent enough but nothing bragged to go watch the movie. I decided to watch this one in IMAX as it boasted of superior visuals and sound. And believe me when I say “I was never dissapointed!”
The Hobbit promises & delivers almost everything the previous LOTR movies had done. Heroism, Courage, Adventure, Fantasy everything you could ever imagine on Middle Earth. The Story of Bilbo Baggins couldnt have been told any better. You get to see familiar characters, you revisit familiar places…it was just nostalgic. I was comfortably seated on the very uncomfortable PVR IMAX due to one good reason: I was very much immersed in the movie. And despite its 160 minutes run time, it seldom gets boring.
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins was clumsy and quirky than the adolescent Hobbitses of LOTR Trilogy. I have to say he was better than Frodo or Sam. I felt all the characters, good or bad, had equal screentime and they all stood out. It really matters because you’ve got like 13 dwarves scampering on screen at any given time, each with their own individual personality. It was indeed a feat to give em all equal importance and Peter Jackson has done it skilllfully. Of which, Thorin played fantastically by Richard Armitage stands out, even with all those layers of prosthetic. Ian McKellan once again reprises his role as Gandalf the Grey and its always good to see him. Andy Serkis returns as the ever-malevolent Gollum, revamped and re-CG’d in all its grandeur. I had a wave of goosebumps through me when I was first given a glimpse of Gollum. The sequence where Bilbo & Gollum plays a game of riddle is one of the high points of ‘The Hobbit’. It once again it reminded me why Gollum was my favorite computer generated characters of all time. The Pale Orc, Azog, felt just bland. It was one thing to see Gollum brought back to life in CG in all its glory and to compare it with Azog…unthinkable. It only makes me wonder with all this budget why didnt Peter & WETA put their efforts in creating Azog as lifelike as Gollum. Azog never felt like an intimidating antagonist either.
Peter Jackson has masterfully recreated the living breathing world of Middle Earth, yet again. You get sucked into this world of fantasy in no time. Epic battles are never a stranger to the LOTR movies and its no different in The Hobbit albeit a little less epic I’d say. It was a true delight to watch it all in 3D.
Fun is stamped all over the movie. Even when our heroes are rushing past Trolls, Orcs and Goblins, even when everything was at stake, comedy was delivered throughout their adventure. There comes a tiny thing that put me off. The movie is really jovial at times and in the next, they show something really gory. I was kinda disoriented why they’d done it. It is an adaptation of a kids book and there wasn’t any need of this kinda gore. Atleast not to please the adult audiences. I am a fan of gore, but I thought the addition of gore in this one was really unnecessary.
Sound Design was superb and I’d be glad if it gets an Academy Award. The clangs & swishes of swords, hammers, the Troll yells of Agony everything was superb. Howard Shore’s score was warm, welcoming and mellow at times, heroic and adventurous the other. ‘Misty Mountains’ is a very noteworthy track that you’d be most likely humming on your way home frm the movies.
CG felt great, but there were sequences that felt unfinished. IMAX didn’t help at that either because the details were almost in your face and I was like…’oh thats a blue screen scene’, ‘this is totally CG’. A bit more finesse could have helped.
The Hobbit The Unexpected Journey, does recapture the very good feeling of watching a Tolkien movie but being the first movie in a planned trilogy it was unable to get that ‘Fellowship’ vibe. Partly because the subject matter of the Hobbit’s tale was never as vast as the LOTR trilogy. They are just squeezing in bits of other lore from Tolkiens works to make a trilogy and it definitely has that feeling. I expected to see ‘Smaug’ but I was dissapointed, I anticipated a cliffhanger ending like that of ‘Two Towers’ and I was dissapointed again. In short Peter Jackson is letting us know that everything can’t be as epic as LOTR. The Hobbit, like Fellowship, felt incomplete to be justifying the the impending sequel. But being a fanboy the ride was awesome nonetheless. With, The Unexpected Journey, lets just hope that The Hobbit is setting, rather grandly, of things to come.