MOVIE REVIEW - THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (HFR 3D)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Takes place 60 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It tells the story of the adventure of Bilbo Baggins with Gandalf and 13 Dwarves as they re-claim the land named Erbore that was lost by those Dwarves by a Dragon named, Smaug.
After having great fear of this movie living up to the reviews I finally went out of my way to watch the movie and I have to say the movie actually did for 5 reviews of people I know (and I read and watched 10 reviews actually). I can see why they hate but there were things where they very much overlooked some of the things here and there.
But to get one thing out of the way I have to talk about this “game-changing technology” called the HFR, now the HFR is a new cinematic format that is very high-definition that was filmed in 48 frames per second (Normally, Films would be filmed in 24 frames per second) and if I would describe it in one phrase it would be “The HD TV of Cinema” and by the first scene (Even the Warner Bros. and MGM logo) you can tell it’s definition showing vibrant colors and smooth panning showing vast landscapes. And I have to say it looks beautiful but it does have its flaws. And that flaw is being too “surreal” sure the landscapes looked vibrant and beautiful to look at but you can tell that the landscape you are looking it is a green-screened set and it shows when everyone went to Rivendell (the background and special effects looked like something a big-budget BBC show can do), the special effects look very incomplete at some point and the CGI characters like the trolls, flying eagles and the goblins look very cinematic in a way that they are cinematic characters for video games. That being said it takes away the experience of being convinced that this is a real world and these are real people on an adventure while fighting goblins and interacting with certain characters. I can definitely see why people are badly criticizing it, and it is because the technology ruined the experience, but you can still get some really good shots, clear action scenes and the technology actually made the 3D look good, It is smooth though it does feel like the movie is being fast forwarded in 2x speed. But it being the first time of putting this technology out there hopefully they can find a way to make this use of the technology better in future movies. I like that they are experimenting on the technology, giving us something new but for now, it is a mixed bag.
Also, To be perfectly honest I have not read The Hobbit book fully, I only read a few pages of it in a book store (I’m that cheap) therefore I won’t be able to compare this to the book (which I shouldn’t be doing).
With that out of the way how was the actual movie? It was just good. I can hear the fear in an LOTR fan’s voice (Implying that I actually have people reading my blog) of an LOTR movie being just good is just dreadful to hear but it is what it is and it is just good because it did have it flaws of progression. As an LOTR fan, We would all know that this movie (being the first) is the big set up to the world of Middle Earth and the characters that the movie will center around and it kinda-sorta did the job well enough for some characters old and new, old-characters being re-introduced like Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, Smeagol and some other people I won’t spoil did a great job re-introducing them in different versions (will explain later) while new characters like the 13 dwarves, Radigast the Brown, Goblins, and an Orc king that I unfortunately forgot his name. But Bilbo is the one who stood out in this film because he made a tremendous job being Bilbo Baggins, Perfectly casted as Martin Freeman. You believe that he is this uptight Hobbit that soon rises up as this adventurous loving and fighting Hobbit throughout the movie. The amount of development they gave his character really built him up to be the heroic type. While, Gandalf…. If you thought Gandalf was a badass in the original trilogy wait till’ you see Gandalf in this movie, Sir (yes you have to add “sir” in his name now) Ian McKellen continues to give out a great performance being a wise old wizard. Though as much as I thought of Martin Freeman stealing the show, Andy Serkis as Smeagol/Gollum (like Gandalf) continues to steal every scene he is in and that scene being (say) 10-15 minutes of screen time. With advanced CGI Technology we have now, Smeagol looks incredibly detailed there was one very scene where Bilbo and Smeagol exchanges riddles at each other and I thought that it was such a fun scene and I could even watch it forever (If there was an Extended Cut, Hopefully we’ll have more riddles) It’s that good. There was that one particular scene in “Riddles in the dark” where Smeagol actually had (I counted) 5 different expressions done by Andy Serkis and it flowed very well as they go together and it proves that Andy Serkis is a very great CGI actor. But last but not the least we have Thorin Oakenshield, Right off the bat he is a badass and they illustrated very well in this movie and hopefully continues building up that kind of character like how they built up Aragorn’s character in the Original Trilogy. In the end, Everyone (Especially the cameos) were all pretty good for the time they have in this movie.
That being said the movie also introduced us to new characters as well. The 13 dwarves (besides Bilbo) are the center point of this film, when I did said a while ago that “it kinda-sorta did the job” basically implies that some characters were under-developed and you wished they were developed well enough in this first part, because this is the first part after all the big introduction, that warm welcome that the movie is giving you yet the movie didn’t do a good job for some characters, you can say that this movie still have 2 parts in this trilogy but then again thinking about hopefully they will develop some of the dwarves, there were dwarves in the movie that was just a character in the background. Speaking of under-developed characters, Radigast the Brown…. This guy (from early reviews) was being called “The Jar Jar Binks” of this movie, At some point I can see why but he is not that annoying as I was told that he is. I do wish they handled a little bit better, The way they introduced him is just this guy healing hedgehogs and (oddly enough) letting birds shit on his head, I pretty much thought that he’d be some sort of Forest Guardian (which he is but) that can heal animals (more than hedgehogs) but all I get is a guy eating shrooms, healing hedgehogs and riding a rabbit sled.
That being said, we go to the flaws of the movie. The biggest flaw in this movie is the pacing, When I first saw the run-time of this movie in the cinema it was (I believe) 3 ½ hours long and I didn’t know how will that turn out but when I finally saw it the progression was very slow. It takes a while to go through the point of this adventure in this it’s more of a build-up of the relationship of Bilbo to this group of people it is interesting thought at some point I do wish they cut out a few scenes, some scenes bothered me because of the fact that it felt very unnecessary, very unnecessary that it should’ve been in the Extended Edition (If there will ever be any) for the movie. The movie did feel like the Extended Edition of the movie, It was that long and slow, it did caught my interest a lot of times but it didn’t at few points of the movie. The first hour was kinda weak but the last hour (maybe 2) was exactly what you thought the movie should’ve been. But then again, i f i would compare this to the LOTR Trilogy, the LOTR Trilogy had a lot of down time to focus on meeting characters, thinking about plans, and going through some more character developments, they were all interesting in those movies. But here it was overly long and at some point nothing happens at all while some characters end up looking like they belong to the background. You will still be entertained by some visual scenes of action here and there and some comedic dialogue (which there are lots, but then again this is based on a children’s book). Also you will be entertained by the songs in the movie, my friend told me (who is a bigger LOTR fan than me) the songs were exactly in the book though they were shortened (then again he did say one song lasted 15 minutes long). Howard Shore also continues to deliver a really eargasmic score, though he did re-use some in the old ones (some remixes, some obviously re-used).
Overall, despite its flaws I still enjoyed the first part of The Hobbit, It being the first out of three is it worth the being stretched into three despite the fact that it is only 345 pages long? Too early to say really, Maybe director Peter Jackson will make some curve balls of his own to really connect to the Trilogy as he sprinkle his own ideas for the world of Middle Earth. It's slow but when the last hour kicks in, the wait pays off. Peter Jackson welcomes us back to world of Middle Earth with old and new faces. Hopefully we will see some more development as we continue to journey on to this adventure with Bilbo, Gandalf and the 12 Dwarves. I would recommend you'd see this, just note that if you're not in to lengthy movies or never a fan of The Lord of The Rings at all this movie won't change your mind about the series.
-HFR 3D NEEDS A LITTLE MORE ADJUSTMENT IN FUTURE FILMS
-SOME SCENES SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT OUT OFF THE FILM
4/5 - WIN!