Release Date: 13 December 2012 (Malaysia), 14 December 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, JRR Tolkien
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, Andy Serkis, Manu Bennet
Duration: 169 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman) is recruited, rather unwillingly at first, by Gandalf The Grey (played by Ian McKellen) to join a quest of reclaiming the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. What was once a glorious dynasty, it has been conquered long ago by an unstoppable dragon called Smaug. Joining the two on the quest are 13 dwarfs led by the heir to Erebor's throne, Thorin son of Thrain (played by Richard Armitage).
+ Characters and references to future events from The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy. Serves as a nice expansion of the universe
+ Battle between stone-giants
+ The elves' dietary choices. Of course they are vegetarians (or at least seem to be)
+ The familiar score from Howard Shore
- Horrifically slow pacing, and clocking-in at 169 minutes makes it extremely tedious
- Seems to lack a bit of focus. Lot's of stories seem to be going on, but nothing really exciting really happens. Some scenes aren't necessary.
- Talking trolls. I don't care if this is how it is in the book, it just seems off to me. Trolls are supposed to be beasts. These not only speak, but they don't even have monstrous voices (even the Uruk-Hais from LOTR had meaner voices).
- Lacking the overall grandiose feeling that an epic needs
The Verdict Is In:
Chronologically, both in terms of the story being told and the date the book was published, The Hobbit proceeds that other Tolkien novel, The Lord Of The Rings. But now I know why the latter was made into a movie first... it has a much, much superior and fascinating story to be told. Granted that this film is still only the first part of a trilogy, so far it just doesn't have that same level of excitement or emotional engagement. We just haven't yet felt that wondrous and exhilarating feeling that we got from our previous journey through Middle-Earth. Niether do we share that emotional burden that Frodo had to endure. As much as I enjoyed the expanded view of this mystical universe, the most excitement I had was whenever a familiar character (Galadriel is as enchanting as ever here... are we sure Cate Blanchett isn't a real elf in disguise?) or background story to the LOTR trilogy was made (finally we know why Gimli hates Elves).
As much as I enjoyed Gandalf revealing the story of the 5 wizards that exists on Middle-Earth (apparently there are a few more color-types for wizards other than grey and white... I feel enlighten) and then actually getting to meet Radagast The Brown himself, I felt that those scenes were among the many that should have been left for the Blu-Ray extras as to prevent this film from feeling overtly bloated and long. Oh yeah, right now I'm not feeling encouraged to know they'll be another two films after this. The pacing was incredibly slow and by the time an exciting action sequence took place, it was hard for me to shift from my (mildly-) bored emotional state. Of course, maybe this is because I'm a geek who bewilderingly enjoyed the LOTR trilogy. Would anyone new to this franchise enjoy this movie? My guess is, if they did, it won't be by much. For those craving for an epic adventure, this resembles more of exploring a local park than a journey through mythical and uncharted territories.
6 out of 10