After almost ten years, audiences the world over finally get a chance to return to Middle-Earth and be immersed in the intrigues of Dwarves, Orcs, Elves, Wizards… and oh yes Hobbits. I must admit I have a fond place in my heart for the original LOTR trilogy, and with the opening shot of Hobbiton, I felt the tug of nostalgia taking me back all those years ago, when I first saw the Shire fully realised on the big screen.
So how does Peter Jackson’s fourth foray into the world of Tolkien fare? Well I think it all depends on the viewer’s perspective. Those expecting the same sombreness, tone and emotional weight of the Lord of The Rings will be slightly disappointed as The Hobbit (as is the book its based on), is a lot more light hearted in tone. This is evident from the moment we are introduced to the Dwarves in Bag-end. With burps and sight gags and even a little musical ditty, Bilbo’s initiation into all things dwarf veers towards slap-stick territory. It removes a sense of urgency, and you begin to wonder when the journey is actually going to begin.
In fact it does take a while for the film to get into the main quest, but once it does, the action moves at a fast pace, with incredible set pieces that live up to the amazing work Weta has become famous for. And with Howard Shore’s incredible score always in the background it’s hard not to be swept up with the events unfolding before you. As did the Fellowship theme in the LOTR trilogy, the Lonely Mountain theme soars and inspires whenever the Dwarves enter into battle and is destined to be remembered as fondly as any of the themes from LOTR.
It’s been a while since I have read the book, so it was hard for me to tell what was in the original story and what was added from the extra footnotes and appendices that Tolkein wrote. However, in my opinion, I don’t feel that anything added detracted from the story, and even at a 160 minutes, I just wanted more. It’s going to be a long wait until The Desolation of Smaug, and I guess I will just have to content myself by watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey again in 48fps 🙂
I give The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a 7 out of 10.