Warning: may contain plot spoilers


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D



Sometimes when I’m sat in the cinema, genuinely enjoying a film, I find my mind wandering: ‘Is it nearly over yet…?’, I just don’t like sitting in the cinema for sustained periods of time. I don’t like the so-uncomfortable-it-should-be-illegal seats, the noisy eaters who become our temporary neighbours, and I don’t like having to peer past the inevitable person who has to go for a toilet break halfway through. I can happily say, though, The Hobbit was the first film I’ve seen for a long time where I found myself unaware of my surroundings and was 100% drawn into its magical world.

 

The film is physically beautiful to look at. The Shire is entrancing and holds a whimsical charm, and best of all, it ‘feels’ real. The efforts made by the CGI team were something that, in particular, made me want to leap out of my chair and applaud them. When we see Smeagol – or Gollum – it’s clear that they’ve took a huge evolutionary leap when compared to Lord of the Rings. They’ve perfected something that I already believed to be perfect, exhibiting that filming and animation is all about evolution.

 

Gollum’s face is real: his features still hold the deformity of beforehand, but the tiny muscular movement as he speaks makes it all the more believable. The scene where Bilbo first meets the fellow Hobbit (yes, Gollum IS a Hobbit!), we see a differing character from that of what we see in Lord of the Rings. Gollum hasn’t yet undergone the trials of the ring being stolen from him and his character – though still dark – is very apparently not as twisted. He insists on playing a game of chance with Bilbo, and hilarity ensues as Gollum and Smeagol argue with each other, perplexing the Halfling. One thing I found amazing was how they made him appear so eerie, yet you really do WANT to feel sorry for him. This takes real, admirable talent.

 

We see drastic contrasts in the animated characters; from the hilarious, wart-ridden Goblin King with his wobbling chin and heavy stature, to the ferocious, wolf-like battle Wargs. It’s apparent that the team have reflected upon previous weak points and improved on these. Subtle things like the jerking and erratic movements of the Goblins, to the streamlined steps of the Wargs, just make this film an absolute treat to watch. This film really is alive.

 

The Hobbit is packed to the brim with personality and charm – and I don’t just mean Bilbo! The differing personalities of all characters fit oddly together in a perfect puzzle. There is a particular moment in Bag End where the Dwarves raid Bilbo’s proud and humble abode, and the Hobbit stomps around in a panic, whilst Gandalf watches in amusement. There are many genuinely funny moments in the film, contributed to by the initially haughty nature of Bilbo and the hapless natures of the Dwarves… Well, 12 of them at least. The 13th Dwarf – their fearless leader, Thorin – displays the stereotype of a Dwarf perfectly. He is stubborn, proud to a fault, and has an insatiable love for gold.

 

The acting made this one of the most impacting films of the year. I highlight the performances of Ian McKellan as Gandalf and Martin Freeman as Bilbo in particular. Of course – you’d expect them to provide an outstanding performance because they’re the leads – but they truly have gone above and beyond getting into character. Bilbo’s character is genuinely hilarious to watch, with his slightly clumsy but well-intentioned nature birthing many amusing scenes. Gandalf remains as the figure of wisdom in this film, but also retains a sense of humour and a slightly condescending nature throughout. We also see the appearances of a few old favourites, such as Saruman the White and Elrond, the lord of Rivendell.

 

There have been a lot of accusations thrown unfairly into the face of Peter Jackson. Why did he want to spread it out over three films? Oh, he must be out for money! I chuckle at the thought of this. The people who make such accusations need to witness the film before pointing the finger. As a matter of fact, I’m glad that he ‘exacerbated’ the films, because I can’t imagine The Hobbit being cut shorter. I mentioned before that I didn’t want the film to end, and that’s exactly why. In fact, I cross my fingers, toes, and everything else that’s physically possible that an extended edition is released on DVD!

Overall I rate this film 5/5




Review by Jade Earley

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