Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

In Movie, Review by Chris

Peter Jackson returns to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth in the high-adventure, action-packed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Hobbits are short, unassuming human-like creatures that inhabit Hobbiton. They prefer good food and spirits, with no interest in risk or adventure. Bilbo Baggins is one of these hobbits. One evening, a wizard by the name of Gandalf the Gray and a party of thirteen elves convince Bilbo to become the burglar of their company. Long ago, the dwarves of a gold rich mountain were removed from their home by Smaug, a fire-breathing dragon. Lead by dwarf lord Thorin, the company (and their burglar) set out to take back the treasure.

Unexpected Journey is the first of three films chronicling the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. Peter Jackson intends to bring every bit of Tolkien’s novel to life in his movie trilogy. It’s very faithful, it’s extremely long winded. This segment in Tolkien’s fantasy-adventure leads Bilbo to encounter a trio of trolls, giant wolves, a goblin king and a chance encounter with the creature Gollum (and his “precious”).

If you thought Jackson brought the tech in his Rings trilogy, he 1-ups all of them with Hobbit. Aside from the breath-taking CGI, Hobbit sports the industries first full-length 48 frames-per-second presentation. The method produces images so crisp, it’s almost unreal. The first 30-minutes take some getting used to, including close-up action shots that appear to “stutter” (the best description I could muster). I assure you though, this is your brain’s failure to adjust to twice the data coming at you.

The presentation is amazing, but you won’t catch it just anywhere. Most theaters are not even equipped with the projectors required, so call ahead and ask for “HFR” or 48fps showings.

The Hobbit is a must-see film this holiday. At 167 minutes, it’s a marathon, but Jackson paces the epic very well. Peter’s interpretation is very faithful to the novel, which should satisfy the Tolkien followers.