Back to Middle Earth – ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Movie Review

Thanks to Roadshow Films, we had the chance to see Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at its Australian premiere. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, follows the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a group of 13 Dwarves under the command of Thorin (Richard Armitage) who sets out to reclaim the stolen Dwarf kingdom on The Lonely Mountain, now the home of a terrible Dragon named Smaug.

Peter Jackson took a big risk in dividing the Hobbit into 3 films and shooting all in 48fps which is double the amount of work than a normal film to show more visual quality and reduce film grains, creating controversy amongst critics and people in the film industry.

However, we had the chance to see the film as Jackson wanted the public to see, in 3D and 48fps. It may be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning as everything you see moves quicker but after a while, your eyes become accustomed to it. The experience is simply amazing with crystal clear images and never seen before film quality, transporting you to another world. Put it this way – it is like watching Blu-Ray on a giant screen! Some people may still not get used to it but don`t worry, the film will also be released in classic 24fps.

Speaking of the movie itself, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey keeps all the elements that made the Lord of the Rings trilogy a masterpiece, putting New Zealand back onto the map as Middle Earth, boasting stunning landscapes, outstanding special effects and many memorable characters.

All the performances in the film are flawless, such as Martin Freeman painting a perfect portrait of Bilbo in many key scenes and moments which fans will love. Ian McKellen needs no elaboration as he is the only one fitting enough to fill the wizard’s shoes. But of course, the eyes of the world are cast on the 13 Dwarves – Thorin, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Oakenshield, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori. Though Thorin is always in the spotlight, Richard Armitage did a fantastic job as the reckless leader of the expedition, whose performance is equal to that of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. Moreover, every Dwarf has a moment to shine, especially their bravery in battles, plus we’ll be seeing more of each in sequels so don`t worry if your favorite character is not on a lot in this one.

We have to make a special mention of Andy Serkis who lives and breathes as Gollum, looking even better and more realistic in this film as his quality is mind-blowing. Serkis is also behind the camera as a 2nd unit director which deserves a standing ovation all around.

Simultaneously, CGI brings to life epic battles featuring digital characters such as the king of the Orcs Azog (Manu Bennett) and the Goblin King voiced by Barry Humphries.

Action is another achievement which constantly amazes the viewers, including stunning sequences like the flashbacks of Thorin facing Azog for the first time when the dwarves lost control of their kingdom and battling against the Stone-giants in the mountains.

Thus, the film is a 3 hour Middle Earth adventure (it can be very slow sometimes) where new things are added outside of the books, such as a closer look at the eccentric wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) who is perhaps the weakest character in the film (it fails to be funny with little on-screen time) Nevertheless, we believe these little flaws won’t deter our Lord of The Ring fans from loving this film as they’ll be ecstatic to see some of their favorite familiar faces back in action such as Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Saruman (Christopher Lee).

Overall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a new journey on Middle Earth which will delight fans for sure as they don´t mind seeing the film in 3 parts, meaning more Lord of the Rings magic every 12 months. It’s a visually fantastic film full of great performances and despite what some critics say about the film, if you’re a true Lord of The Rings fan, you will go and see The Hobbit with your own eyes and be your own critic!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in Australia on 26 December 2012.