The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peter Jackson brought to life J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tale, The Lord of The Rings 11 years ago with breathtaking CGI & wowed us with the spectacular plot, not to mentioned stellar casting for all the important characters in the books' trilogy.


A decade later, the director is bringing back the magic to screen with The Hobbit which is a prequel to the incidences in The Lord of The Rings. Feeling the pressure to stay loyal to the book, Jackson decides to stretch the story into a 3-part film. I was ecstatic when it was announced that the first movie, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey will be released in December 2012 after a long wait.

Barely a month before the movie release, I pored through the books; turning one page after another as I was pressured to complete the book in time. Otherwise, it would seem strange that I read the book half way & expect the movie to fill in the remaining gaps. I guess I regretted a little reading it before stepping into the cinema because everything about the movie was exact enactment of the book. So it was a total spoiler. -.-"

Still, nothing beats having the opening sentence of the book narrated out loud in the film. Listening to Ian Holm's voice as the old Bilbo Baggins began with the phrase, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit..." sent a rush of excitement, marking the start of an epic adventure. Those of you unfamiliar to Tolkien's work will find the first 30 mins a pain to watch because of the slow, lengthy pace at Bilbo's hobbit hole & the introduction of every dwarf (who looks & sounds alike) which is bound to leave you in a confused state of mind.

Skip all those & the movie becomes more exciting as Bilbo began his journey with the group of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield & accompanied by Gandalf to the Lonely Mountain. There you have it, Jackson's showcase of Middle Earth using state-of-the-art CGI that will take your breath away. If you have an eye for detail, I would recommend to watch the 3D version filmed in high frame rate which claims to have the highest definition for 3D movie. I'm not a fan of 3D movies & wouldn't bother putting on a pair of 3D glasses to witness orcs running towards my direction. It is already a headache trying to deal with wearing extra glasses on top of my own spectacles.

Overall, the movie looks great & I'd have to applaud the work for its grandeur & cinematic appeal. Somehow it struck me as a more serious film for adults rather than the innocent nature of a children's tale on hobbits. Honestly, the book seems to have some sort of identity crisis because the writing style is pretty dense (though not as heavy as The Lord of The Rings) but it's definitely not the childlike kind where you find in the Harry Potter series, yet Tolkien himself wrote it for children. If this is true, I'm very impressed with the literacy level of children those days.

Also, the book only has one volume whereas Jackson took it a little too far by stretching into a trilogy. This movie already feels maxed out to its limit just to meet the 2 1/2 hour length. Nevertheless, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey is still an enjoyable piece to be cherished & rejoiced for the casts' brilliant acting skills. Given the choice to pick my favourite scene, mine would be Riddles in the Dark - the scene where Bilbo & Gollum first met & exchanged riddles. Best scene ever. Just like in the book...

Now I need to wait patiently for the 2nd instalment next year as the anticipation builds up in unveiling the creature living in the mountains that breathes fire. I wonder which actor will play Bard the Bowman, a significant one in the next film. Can't wait!!

Pic courtesy of