As we all know, the Hobbit released today 14 December 2012 after a ten year gap from the end of the Return of the King. I went to watch it at the the midnight show. Prior to watching the movie I had read some of the early reviews, and most of them complained about the slow pace of the film. I usually hate movies that drag on with a passion, however, with the Hobbit I did not notice anything wrong with the pace. The movie script itself was well developed and honestly, I did not notice the passage of time at all and the end of the three hours came as a surprise.
Let’s begin with a brief summary of the plot. As most of the people out there know this movie is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is the story of Bilbo Baggins, told by him 60 years after its occurrence. It is about his adventures with a band of thirteen dwarfs/ dwarves on their quest to regain their city from the evil dragon.
I think the key point to pay attention to before watching the movie is that it is told by Bilbo Baggins, so it seems natural that he puts himself in the best light. However, he is not the principle character of the tale. The dwarf-leader Thorin is a major character and so is Gandalf. The rest of the dwarfs, though not prominent, are important to the story development.
The movie begins with a prologue describing the events that led to the plight of the dwarfs. This is an important part of the film and gives the background needed for the story. We then move on the Ian Holm as Bilbo beginning the writing of his book. Rewinding to sixty years ago we see how Bilbo, now played by Martin Freeman, first finds himself a part of Thorin and Co. The movie then describes their adventures. The company finds themselves in many dangerous situations and also meet many familiar and new people (familiar to the viewers that is). We have Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee and Andy Serkis revisit the roles of Elrond, Galadriel, Saruman and Gollum. We are introduced to Radagast the Brown, played by Sylvester McCoy, as a member of the Istari.
One of the highlights of the movie is the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum. Serkis has managed to make Gollum an even more nuanced character, if that was even possible. I think he deserves an Oscar nomination for his wonderful performance.
Another character who I found intriguing was Thorin. If you are familiar with my blog posts, you would know that I’m a big fan of Richard Armitage who plays Thorin. When I first found out that he was cast for this role, I was super excited as the LOTR series are probably my favorite book and movie series. After watching the movie last night I am even more convinced that Armitage was a wonderful choice for the role. He manages to bring out the authority of Thorin along with maintaining an aura of mystery and sadness.
The only part of the movie that I found lacking was the CGI effects. I watched the regular (read not 3D and 48 fps) version and though the images were not as bad as I have heard they looked in 48 fps, the CGI still looked extremely phony at certain scenes. I hope this issue is taken care f in the later movies as I am very excited to see Smaug the dragon and do not want to see a cartoonish figure as the dragon that haunted so many of my nightmares as a kid.
On the whole, I enjoyed the movie tremendously. It establishes the relationship between Bilbo and the dwarfs and gives us a background of the things that will undoubtedly develop more in the future movies to come. I would give it 4 stars out of 5.
All images are from Google images, I own nothing.