Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey [2012]


Background:
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).


Thumbs Up:
+ 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
Thumbs Down:
- 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.
Rating:
6 out of 10

15 comments:

  1. The fact that Peter Jackson stretched the least interesting of these books into THREE movies is making me not want to see it. It's a shame, I really loved the LOTR trilogy.

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    Replies
    1. Completely agree here, 2 movies would probably be too much but 3? I'll see it on DVD just to catch 15 seconds of Lee Pace. Hopefully since the next part will feature more exciting events than this one it will be a bit better.

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    2. I agree with you guys, three movies does seem absurd especially since this one was just too darn long. And you know what's worst than a movie too long? A movie too long moving at crawling pace! That's what this was. And I am a fan of the LOTR trilogy.

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  2. My excitement is waning. The cash grab is just too obvious. And while that's not the worst thing, Jackson not delivering is.

    Good review, asrap.

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    1. I was excited going in, but now not so much for the next two films. I think The Hobbit not receiving any major awards nominations so far is an indicator of how inferior it is to the LOTR trilogy.

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  3. It’s fun, that’s for sure but going back to watching Jackson in Middle Earth isn’t anything new and not as epic this time around. Still, I look forward to seeing what they can do with the next two, even if they are unneeded. Good review Asrap.

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    1. If I need encouragement to view the next two movies, it's that this one spent time establishing the back stories, so the others will be much better. Really hope that will be the case. Thanks Dan.

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  4. banyak benda aku agree ngan kor..dari segi pacing ya amat slow dan setengah scene yg x perlu..sampai la ke Galadriel yg sangat mesmerizing ..tapi...aku rated it higher than you...hehe
    oh dan haah kor ckp baru aku teringat pesal gimli x suka elves..

    ha lagi satu...ni spoiler la gak..tapi aku ckp dlm malay :P ...pehal burung2 tu kat ending tak bawak jer mereka semua kat mountain tu? abih cerita...ke I missed something?

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    1. aku tertanya gak part burung tu... adik aku punye teori: kalo bwk dkt sgt takut naga tu prasaan & hilang element of surprise... kan diorg nak guna Bilbo tuk masuk senyap2... kira bole terima gak la teori tu.. buat masa ni..

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  5. I saw this one too last weekend. I didn't follow the book, and I find the detail quite boring. The jokes was a bit off, partly funny. It only treats my longing for LOTR, but not quite memorable. Nice honest review, Asrap

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    Replies
    1. We're in agreement here. Definitely not as memorable as LOTR. Terima Kasih Andina!

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  6. This will help you find out of there's stuff after credits
    http://www.mediastinger.com/
    Merry Christmas :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks... makes me wonder what else I've been missing. Merry Christmas to you too Lisa!

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  7. I have been kind of surprised by the movie reviews this one has gotten. I think this is a case of a movie being over hyped.

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    Replies
    1. Surprised that the reviews were good or bad? But to be honest I was expecting a lot from this since I'm a fan of the LOTR trilogy.

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