“yet again Peter Jackson has taken JRR Tolkien’s source material and brought it to life in a style that so few could.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review
By Simon Jago

There has been a lot of talk about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, not only because it’s Peter Jackson’s first revisit to Middle Earth since the large success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy but because you can watch the film in 3D Higher Frame Rate screenings for a more immersive experience. Now I’m not going to get into that in this review, but you can read my blog post ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected High Frame Rate Journey – 48 FPS Good or Bad?’ to hear my thoughts on the matter, this review however is purely Hobbits…and Dwarves…and Wizards, Orcs, Dragons you get the picture.

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) a Hobbit from the shire is accosted by the wandering wizard Gandalf the grey (Ian McKellan). He proposes an adventure and it’s not long before thirteen Dwarves show up at his door and proceed with plans for the quest. The Dwarves homeland was attacked by a fierce Dragon named Smaug many years previous and the Dwarves plan to sneak into the dragon’s lair and reclaim the treasure that’s rightfully theirs. Bilbo unsure of why he has been selected for this adventure eventually gives into curiosity and his unexpected journey begins.

Firstly I have to say that 2012 has been the year of disappointment when it comes to blockbusters; Prometheus left us longing for Alien, The Dark Knight Rises fell flat on it’s face and John Carter frankly sucked martian arse. However, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey delivered exactly what it was supposed too. I feel the film is overall a bit more childish than Lord of the Rings but not having read the book I’ve heard that’s generally the nature of the original source material.

I really enjoyed all the new characters in Jackson’s Middle Earth, the time being taken to build and develop the audiences relationship with each as well. The film starts a little slow but it needs too and this day and age many director’s would have skipped this character development and gone straight to the action. Not knowing how one small book would be dragged out into three movies I was really impressed to see some of JRR Tolkiens Middle Earth folk lore being included, adding stories from the other books and appendices. Most of all I enjoyed ex-Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, a wonderful character who I look forward to seeing more of.

Martin Freeman is excellent as a young Bilbo Baggins and the scene with Mocap King Andy Serkis as everyone’s favourite CGI character Gollum is truly outstanding. I’m sure a lot of fans were looking forward to the confrontation where Bilbo must play a game of riddles for his life and Jackson really delivered. It’s nice to see a lot of British actors in a production of this size and Christopher Lee returning as Saruman despite his age was brilliant. I’d say on the whole if you like Lord of the Rings you will love the Hobbit, if you don’t then steer clear of it. After seeing the film twice I’ve seen people leave both showings so I don’t really know what they were expecting? Mind you one audience member passed comment that she thought JRR Tolkien was dead and didn’t understand how he could write a sequel to LOTR. Shows the intelligence of some people.

It’s not quite as good as Lord of the Rings but yet again Peter Jackson has taken JRR Tolkien’s source material and brought it to life in a style that so few could. Middle Earth really does in a cinematic sense belong to Peter Jackson and if he wanted to carry on making more films I’d go see them, just imagine, Hobbit 4: Big Trouble in Little Shire.

Maniac Rating - 4 Stars