Hello Internet, and here I am again keeping my word and doing what I said I would do. Man. I need to get myself back on form… hang on I’m gonna go light something on fire… Okay, well that’s a little better anyway. So where were we? Oh yeah, me keeping my promises and reviewing the Hobbit. Or (as I should call it)
Micah Reviews: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
There are probably too many colons up there huh? Not like colon colons like that thing in your body that does… something. Just regular colons. Two little dots that signify the top of a smiley face. Or something. Anyway, the Hobbit: AUJ was definitely one of my most anticipated movies of the year and I went into the film with a song in my heart and a sword in my hand. So, did it live up to the hype or is this one Hobbit whose toe hairs just weren’t curly enough?
That extremely disturbing mental image aside, the Hobbit begins just a little bit before the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring (the first movie in the first trilogy) and after a few minutes if semi-aimless wandering around Hobbiton, and a narration of some dwarfs getting medieval style owned by a dragon, the movie ACTUALLY begins with a quick jump back thirty or so years where we meet Young Bilbo Baggins. Young Bilbo is a placid sort of person, uninterested in the world, content to just sit and smoke his pipe. Until that is he is introduced to Gandalf the Grey and a group of twelve dwarfs who are on their way to reclaim their lost kingdom from the evil dragon Smaug.
Bilbo (somewhat unwillingly) joins up with the dwarfs and is brought along as they make the long trek towards the Misty Mountain. Meanwhile (in another part of Middle Earth) a creepy, strange, odd, weird, mostly pointless, weird, strange wizard named Radagast discovers that something is very rotten in the state of Denmark. I mean… the woods. Of Mirkwood.
But meanwhile to that meanwhile, Bilbo and co. are captured by a group of cave goblins. Bilbo escapes but is lost in the tunnels where he finds a class ring and—Where he finds a ring of power and is introduced to a creepy cave dwelly “person” named Gollum. Bilbo discovers that his ring has the power to make him invisible, the dwarfs escape with the help of Gandalf the Grey (and their apparent immunity to gravity) and after a hardy laugh and some more “tobacco” from their “pipes” they all set of towards the Lonely Mountain.
I really liked this movie. I thought it was a great first entry into what will be another great Lord of the Rings trilogy. Bilbo is played incredibly well by Martin Freeman and the rest of the cast is also brilliantly cast, with special nods going to the ever awesome Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage who did really well with the character of Thorin Oakenshield.
I thought the dwarfs were handled really well. Even in the books it’s sometimes hard to remember which dwarf is which when all twelve of them are running around with names that rhyme (Ori, Nori, Oin, Gloin, Mary, Moffat etc.) but I thought the movie did a really great job making each dwarf into his own character and giving you a different reason to like each one in turn (James Nesbitt’s Bofur being one of my favorites).
Just the whole world of Lord of the Rings is still so well captured by these movies. Yes, the Hobbit has a different more fun feel to it (so does the book by the way) but it is still unmistakably Lord of the Rings and it is still a journey well worth taking. I do have some negatives on the film and we will talk about them but hey I’m a critic that’s my “job” (air quotes required by people who actually get paid to do this), but I really really liked this movie and would willingly pay to see it again. That said let’s get to:
Radagast. Oh. Buddy. How. Radagast is the Jar Jar Binks of this movie. I get that he’s a little eccentric. I even get that you wanted to use him for comic relief. Fine, great, go for it. But there’s comic relief, and then there’s a wizard riding around on a sleigh carried by giant rabbits with something that I’m pretty sure is bird poop clinging to the side of his face. One does not demand the other.
The characters in this movie are all apparently made of flubber. Dwarves are punched, crushed, and thrown off cliffs and they all seem to just bounce right back up and keep on moving. Once again, I understand that this is a “lighter” sort of movie, but just cause you want something to be lighter doesn’t mean you can launch somebody of a mountain. Man… that should be a greeting card or something.
At times the movie seems to drag a lot. I’m thinking particularly of the opening sequence and a section in the middle where there’s a lot of fairly unnecessary sitting and talking. It didn’t really bother me but that’s cause I am (unapologetically) a complete geek (In a manly, awesome kind of way). I get that we’re setting things up for the next movie/establishing some kind of connection to the old trilogy but we did seem to belabor this particular point a lot.
Special note needs to be given to what might be the lowest point of these entire movies: the Goblin King saying “that’ll do it” and then dying. I would have thrown up but my heart punched myself in the trachea so hard that I couldn’t.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a great movie. I loved the characters (giant rabbit wielding wizards aside), enjoyed the story, and am certainly looking forward to what’s coming next in the trilogy. Sure, I had some gripes with it, but that shouldn’t (and doesn’t) detract from my (or your) ability to enjoy a great movie, with a great cast, and an epic story. Hobbit On!
I give it 4 bouncy wizard rabbits out of 5.