The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Film Review

So, finally saw The Hobbit, and as much as I had hoped it would reflect the original LOTR trilogy, it was not up to the full expectations; with that being said, it was not a terrible or bad movie, it was pretty good, but had quite a bit of room for improvement that should not have been needed.
For the record, I have not read The  Hobbit novels, but from what I have heard from a few people, those who have read the books, Peter Jackson and crew stuck very close to the story line.

For this review, I will do a “good” and “bad” of each aspect of the film, and from there a final personal rating.

The story:
“good” the story was well done, overall an okay script, but some lines were a little kiddish and not as “LOTR” style. It also had good points of giving background to some of the story…
but that is also where the “bad” comes in; some background of the story was also bad because it would explain one thing, and then just bring up another event or talk about one without prior knowledge or scenes of it. The overall, or main story line was well, but the points that showed flashbacks, other intentions or “quest” and so on were not always well explained or discussed.

The Visuals:
The visual aspects were once again tremendous and magnificent! The New Zealand and Australian settings are amazing for the LOTR and Hobbit films, and they do an amazing job both from visual effects and natural settings to create the film’s settings. From the rolling hills, peak of the mountains, rushing waterfalls, it all comes together to truly create a “fantasy” or Middle Earth not many parts of today’s Earth are capable of use for.
Other aspects of the visuals I love are when the views are over Rivendell where the Elvish live; throughout and over the Shire for the Hobbits, and of course the architecture of the Dwarf kingdom. The architects and film designers did a marvelous job at this, thanks to artists and the entire crew responsible for the film!
As for the visuals in costumes, appearances, weapons, etc, again these have been brought not as a “video game” look, but an actual real life look, almost as if, while watching the film, you are there and want to hold the sword, wear the armor, or look through the windows!
One of my favorite settings also was . **spoiler alert** when the Stone or rock creatures were fighting in the mountains, an amazing scene and obstacle for the crew!
It is always great to watch Peter Jackson films for these features and to have the life like feeling!

The Characters:
The Hobbit did a great job of bringing in old characters, or well new characters from the now sequels, but also did a good and bad job of the new introduction of characters. The return of well known characters include Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, Gollum/Smeagle, Frodo Baggins, Lord Elrond, Saruman the White, and Galadriel. They all reprised their roles as how they were in LOTR and the actors did a fantastic job once again!
Now the bad side to the characters… I am not sure how they were depicted in the novels, but a few of the dwarves were just..not the right material, too fat or too “funny” …not a Gimli funny from LOTR, a more JarJar Binks x10 from The Phantom Menace. It was hard to take some scenes serious because of this. Also, the Goblin King was a bit over done with the look and seemed like a children’s bad guy.

That was probably the biggest disappointment for me for The Hobbit. They did what Star Wars did for Episode I and VI, made it “kid and family friendly” but they made it too “friendly”. The first probably 30 minutes of the film made me feel like Jar Jar Binks wrote the script. Now, I love Jar Jar binks, so there is no hate towards him like the rest of the world has; but, for The Hobbit, the first half hour was just a childish humor fest. Dwarves making slap stick remarks and acting in a way that children would enjoy. It would not have been as bad, well if the writers took it about 4 knotches down on this style. The rest of the film also had too much “friendliness” like the Trolls with their idiotic personalities and such. What made the original LOTR great for comedy was the humor between Legolas and Gimli, fighting for the most kills, or Mary and Pippin in their type of humor. But this was way too much and that has to be my biggest downfall for this film.
The fight and battle scenes were also very much like The Fellowship of the Ring, no long major wars or battles, but sequences and reflections of battle here and there which was well built. Good Choreography and weapon handling, as well as the fighting techniques of Orcs and what not.

So, my final rating for this film would be a 7.5/10. Like I said, the comedy and new characters, as well as a few mishaps in the story were the biggest downfalls; would I see it again? Of course, because it is in the series and it was not a bad film; but this would be related to Star Wars episode I, the same issue for both reboots of the franchises. With the $84.8 million haul over the weekend, things are looking good for The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again.

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