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The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey : I Sound Off

Director Peter Jackson revisited the land of Middle Earth when he introduced another one of Tolkin’s works to the big screen.  The Hobbit, somewhat of a prequel to the Lord Of The Rings, follows a younger Bilbo Bagins around as he helps a group of Dwarves win their mountain back from the dragon Smaug.  This series is unique though because unlike the Lord Of The Rings films which each adapted a novel, this one book is being split into three movies.  This should provide amazing for fans of Middle Earth because it means in terms of pages per minutes of film, this will be the most in-depth adaptation yet.

Now being a gigantic Middle Earth fan and Tolkin nerd I must admit I was biased towards this film from the second I heard of its inception.  There was no film that intrigued me as much as this one in a long time.  However, when compared to The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit falls short in a few key areas while all in all continuing the success of the Tolkin franchise.  To begin with the story is not as dynamic as that of Lord Of The Rings but any fan of the literature would already have known that seeing as how The Hobbit novel is shorter than each of the ones that made up the LOTR(and honestly not many works can come close to the dynamic epc that is LOTR).  Bilbo is pretty much forced into helping these Dwarves win back their land by Gandalf, the most amazing character in the history of the world.  Peter Jackson does a great job from the beginning of relaying the background information needed to fully enjoy this film by exploring the history and the downfall of King Thror and the Lonely Mountain as well as the Elf-Dwarf relationship.  The Hobbit also fills in many of the holes left to explore in the LOTR such as how did Bilbo get the ring, who do Dwarves hate elves, and how did a great wizard like Gandalf and a simple Hobbit such as Bilbo become friends.

But like I said this film does have a few down falls.  To begin with the film used way to much CGI.  One of the many things that made the LOTR’s so successful was the beautiful world that they created as Middle Earth.  They filmed the whole thing in New Zealand and the landscapes in every shot is gorgeous.  In the Hobbit their is CGI all over the place and it is noticeable.  It is a cool and intriguing world don’t get me wrong, but it just does not have the same jaw dropping realistic beauty that LOTR trilogy spoiled fans with.  Also on the same note he replaced many of the human actors, specially for the Ork’s, with CGI which is understandable for time and make up but it does take away that sense of humanity in them.  They could also do a better job of developing the Dwarves because other than Thorin, who is the leader, the rest all kind of blend together.  There is nothing about any of them to make them unique and stand out which makes it very hard to follow and keep track of them.

Many people have also bashed The Hobbit for being to light hearted in the humor, particularly in the first hour, but I truly enjoyed that.  It was a nice switch from the ten plus hours of straight action and intense moments that the LORT’s offered (Unless you watched the Fellowship Of The Ring extended box edition at which point you send 12 hours just in the Shire) to a more relaxed setting.  And when we are discussing or examine Hobbits there should be a laid back and joking feel to them because that is how the race of Hobbits are.  The jokes are key to giving us a look into the Hobbit.  Radagast is also a big part of that humor and beside Gandalf he may be my new favorite Middle Earth character.

All in all though Peter Jackson  has nailed it yet again in trying to bringing J.R.R Tolkin’s world to the big screen.  This film is a must have for anyone from Middle Earth fiends, to LOTR fan, to just movie fans, no one will be left disappointed.  The plot is just filled with intrigue from the beef between the Elves and the Dwarves, Bilbos hesitation for adventure, and the obvious one of trying to win back the Dwarves mountain.  This film was fantastic in its creation and I cannot wait till December 13th 2013 for the release of the next installment.  Hopefully, as with the LOTR trilogy, Peter Jackson will learn from the first film and just keep improving.

Denzel Freeman

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