<Review by: Daylynn DeSouza>
Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Lee Pace, Barry Humphries, Sylvester McCoy
For those of us that are fans of The Lord of the Rings, or have at the very least seen it this is a chance to visit the world of Middle-earth once more. For those of you who are not fans of the series, you’re about to be introduced to a world of enchantment, wonder, great danger and astounding lore.
I myself am a fan of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and having read both books (actually, I listened to them on audio books) I can safely say that Peter Jackson has stayed true to the source material as best he can. And, while doing so he’s presented it to us in a format that is both visually pleasing and astounding to behold. There are lots of treats and things that you’ll recognise from both books, because the movie is told to us as Bilbo is writing the events down in his diary whilst making preparations for a party: the one he has at the beginning of the first Lord of the Rings movie.
Speaking of visuals, let’s get to the technical aspect of the movie. The movie has been shot at 48 FPS (Frames per Second), which is twice the normal frame rate than normal movies. Aside of from the High Frame Rate, we also have the way the 3D was captured… By using one camera for each eye. (Oh, Peter Jackson… You so crazy.) “BUT WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT THAT?” I hear you all say. It’s simple; a frame rate of 48 FPS makes movements on screen less blurry and a lot crisper. And the two cameras just bring it closer to the way we actually see things in real life.
Let me clarify one thing. I’m not a fan of 3D, never have been. But for the first time, I think I get it. I wish we were treated to the brilliance of IMAX 3D but alas the movie was screened at PVR, which is decent enough and was still spectacular. Even without IMAX 3D the landscapes, sets and visuals of this movie are mind blowing. It’s almost like Avatar except it has a story. (I haven’t seen Avatar because I don’t like the synopsis of the story and I’ve already seen Pocahontas. The trailer for Avatar was very pretty though.)
Now that we’re done with the visuals, let’s move on to the synopsis. This Prequel to The Lord of the Rings revolves around Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a Hobbit who is sent on an adventure by Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellen) where he has to accompany Twelve Dwarves on their quest to reclaim their home Erebor and treasure that lies within it from the Dragon Smaug. It starts off a little slow but then it gets going and just doesn’t stop until it ends.
Bilbo, Gandalf, the dwarves Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bomber and Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) depart on their quest to reclaim Erebor and it’s treasures. On their journey they encounter Trolls and nearly get eaten, they meet Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) one of the five wizards of middle earth who warns them of a new evil in the woods, they visit Rivendell and seek council with Elrond (Hugo Weaving) so as to decipher a map, get captured by Goblins in a storm after escaping death as Rock Giants battle each other.
Bilbo manages to evade the Goblins but falls into the lair of a strange creature named Golum (Andy Serkis) where he finds a ring that lets him turn invisible. The others are rescued by Gandalf and reunited with Bilbo, all while they’re being hunted by Azog the great pale Orc (who has a score to settle with Thorin), his minions and their Wargs (Wargs are like wolves but nastier and come with more drool). The final moments of the movie include a battle with Azog and an escape from his minions and certain death.
Being part of a trilogy, this movie will leave you wanting more, and for those of us who have seen the original comic con panoramic poster for the movie (see gallery below), I should warn you that the poster was released before the franchise was announced to be a trilogy so don’t be disappointed that you haven’t seen all the scenes depicted in the poster; they’ve been bumped into the second movie because the movies now contain 125 extra pages of events that Tolkein hadn’t included in The Hobbit.
I say go all out and enjoy this movie in all its glory in IMAX 3D. If you hate waiting for a year in-between your fills of Middle-earth goodness, then I’m afraid you will have to wait for another 2 years before you get to watch all three movies back to back. But yes this is a movie you must watch if you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings or if you like a good fantasy movie and even if you’re somebody who just likes a lot of stunning visuals accompanied by a nice story. So, sell your kidney if you must and go watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
On a personal note… God Bless you Peter Jackson. There’s finally a movie out there that does justice to book it’s based on.
PS: Having watched the movie in 48FPS after this one (24FPS) I can honestly say that the 48FPS is like getting a high-priced hooker and realising at the end you could have gotten a lot more pleasure if you had just taken care of yourself. All the scenes seem much too quick and you can see too many finer details of make-up and CGI which just ruins the magic. 24FPS is just fine.