The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 2012. 169 minutes. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage. Directed by Peter Jackson.
A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on an "unexpected journey" to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug. [imdb]
Nicole: OK, Cassidy, so I know you don’t go in for this sorta thing. You’re not a big geek like me. I’ve been waiting for years for this to come to the big screen – and it did not disappoint. Waiting another year for the 2nd part, now that smarts.
elizabeth: Would you please go outside and stare at the big round ball in the sky for ten minutes? I don’t see the appeal of men looking like they haven’t bathe since the days of the Black Plague. And I think Smaug was my boss at my last two jobs.
Nicole: That's quite possible, but I digress... Let’s first talk casting. I cannot think of another actor that could have played hobbit Bilbo Baggins better. Martin Freeman is inspired – he fits seamlessly into the cast. It’s perfectly believable that he’s the younger Baggins (whom we see played by Ian Holm in this film, as well as the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy). He handled the role with finesse, humor, and acuity. Cannot wait to see him continue the journey. Ian McKellen is back as Gandalf the Grey, a role he’s played so many years now it fits him like a glove. And, Richard Armitage as heir-apparent dwarf Thorin Oakenshield is the right amount of moody, betrayed, and fierce warrior. And, let’s not forget Andy Serkis as Gollum – perfecting creepy on a whole new level. The cast is HUGE and I could go on for days, but I’ll leave it there.
elizabeth: Did you say something?
Nicole: Ignoring you. Now, on to the script. If I had to argue about anything, it would be that I felt they concentrated on some scenes too long, whilst others got little attention. That could be because I’m a whore for elves and really was looking forward to more time spent in Rivendell. I did want to see more of Bilbo’s impression and interaction…but I’ll take what I can get.
elizabeth: “A whore for elves” – is that on your resume?
Nicole: In fact, yes, it is. Still ignoring you. Special effects – I guess I can say little since I saw this film in SD. (I learned my lesson from Avatar. I cannot handle a nearly 3-hour movie in 3D. Vomiting is a very likely possibility.) What I did notice from the SD version (and Jackson’s choice to shoot the movie at 48 frames per second) was that some things didn’t transition well and looked a tad fake. But it’s scenes like the warring Mountain Giants that make you quickly forget anything that might be off about the film’s production. I was fully clenched the entire time. TMI? If you’re a Tolkien fan, a Jackson fan or just a geeky nerd – invest in seeing this movie and making the commitment to see it through to conclusion in 2015. ‘Cause the journey is well-worth the effort.
elizabeth: You mean I have to wait till 2015 to call you a whore for elves again? Seems so unfair.
Nicole: I think you'll manage.