The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I’m a Tolkien guy, but I wasn’t always one.  I read The Fellowship of the Ring about a week before seeing the first movie and really hadn’t ever considered reading it before then.  I found that book good, but oddly slow moving so when I went to see the movie I had rather meager expectations.  Then I sat in a San Antonio, TX movie theater and watched one of the most awe-inspiring movies I had seen.  The book literally came to life (with a few things left out and the end of the movie being a chapter into The Two Towers, but I digress) and it made me want to read the other two as well as The Hobbit again every time a new movie in the series came out.  I’ll admit that I’m not the quintessential Tolkien fan because the movies drove my desire to read the books and I haven’t read all the “history” books that go along with The Lord of the Rings, but I do get pumped about these movies and The Hobbit was no different.

I tell you all that nonsense to tell you that I’m completely biased when it comes to reviewing any of the Peter Jackson adaptions of The Lord of the Rings.  I’m never going to say that he needed to leave something out or should have added something that was not in the movies (except for Tom Bombadil, but that will have to wait for another blog).  I also kind of go all out for these movies.  In college that meant going to the midnight premier even though there were Friday 8:30 AM classes to reckon with the following day.  It’s sad to say, but the wife and I just don’t make it to many movies any more.  One because she falls asleep in movies and also because we’re attempting to save money since we have a baby on the way.  All that goes out the window though when The Hobbit tickets were released.  I got online and bought tickets at the iPic Theater across DFW from us because I knew for sure that would get the wife to come with me.  If you haven’t been to one of these theaters, I highly recommend it but that’s for another blog as well.

I’m not going to spoil the movie for anyone, although I would recommend you read (and thereby ruin the movie for yourself) the book before seeing the movie.  Below is a short list of things I noticed about the movie:

  • It’s definitely a Peter Jackson film.  What I mean by this is that he has a certain style about him.  I love it, but I can see where other people may have an issue with the 48 frames per second frame rate, the lighting of many of the backgrounds, and the creative license that he takes with some of the story line.  
  • I do not interpret the books like he does.  There are parts of the movie that have a higher level of stress than I ever imagined when I read the books on my own.  It makes me question my own reading of the books from time to time, so maybe I need to read more critically next time.
  • The level of detail is astounding.  In this instance, I’m not talking about the frame rate, I’m talking about the wardrobe and props.  I’m the guy that sat around and watched all the different extended features DVDs that came with the Lord of the Rings and as I watch these movies I can see the differences in armor and weapons of the different races.
  • I need to go to New Zealand.  This country looks amazing in every one of Peter Jackson’s movies.  I realize that not every place is a post card waiting to happen, but I feel like I need to go and see these places for myself.

I was really blown away visually by this movie and it’s the first movie I’ve ever been in where I didn’t mind wearing 3D glasses for the entire movie.  I loved watching the movie come to life in real time, not just the cartoony way it did in my childhood.  I highly recommend the movie and I’m looking forward to the next two installments in the coming years.

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