I’ve waited long enough for this, this HAS to be a great movie, there’s no other option. And with that mindset, I went into the cinema a mere few hours ago, expecting an awful lot from ‘The Hobbit’.
The movie opens up with a short and recognisable scene, tying the movie directly into the proceedings of the first LOTR movie and shortly after we meet the lead of our next trilogy of movies: Bilbo Baggins. Played by Martin Freeman (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), this Bilbo differs quite a lot from the somewhat easily scared Frodo we’ve grown to know and love over the course of the first three movies.
I say first three movies, but to stop any confusion, this new trilogy of movies act as a precursor for the events happening in the Lord of the Rings movie, effectively making this a series of prequels. But back to Bilbo, I don’t envy Martin Freeman, stepping into the lead role of a movie with such a sky high anticipation by so many, can easily kill someones acting career. And you can see that he needs his time to make the role his own, by the end of it’s 2 hours and 49 minutes lasting debut in the world of orcs and wizards he has done just that. And so we can rest assured that one of the most burning questions that most fans had: is he a good lead? can be answered with a big fat YES.
Like mentioned at the start, Bilbo is a different hobbit as opposed to Frodo. He’s definitely happy with living a carefree and unexciting life and it’s at that point that the first familiar face comes into play: Gandalf. Without any spoilers, the basic gist is this: Gandalf and a bond of 13 dwarves are setting out to reclaim their kingdom from a dragon called Smaug. He took their land and made it’s home inside their treasure chamber. Because of their need for a lightfooted burglar who can sneak in without the dragon noticing, Gandalf recruits Bilbo and so the journey begins.
Knowing more about the story isn’t necessary to properly review this for you guys, and even if you do belong to the rapidly decreasing amount of people who haven’t read the book it’s based on, knowing it all or knowing nothing about what’s going to happen doesn’t make a big difference. So you have your story and your lead actor that performs as planned, add to that mix a very experienced director with Peter Jackson (Director of the first three Lord of the Rings movies), but that doesn’t mean you have a good movie.
The large cast consisting of familiar faces and new members takes time to grow on you. When you know and love Frodo, Sam, Gollum and all the others, being introduced to 13 dwarves with names like Oin, Gloin, Nori and Dori takes some getting used to. I promise you that you’ll end up going ”ah that’s the smart one”, ”that’s the funny one”. But it doesn’t matter, they are all loveable and unique, impressively so, Peter Jackson manages to meld it all into a group of people who become persons you care about when the credits roll. Without a way to properly keep them apart and no diversity in their group aside from behavior (they are all dwarves ofcourse), that’s a very commendable effort to say the least.
In a lot of ways ‘The Hobbit’ has to carry the weight of it’s 3 companion movies and depending on how much you loved those, ‘The Hobbit’ will either fall in your love it or hate it category. It’s got the same hefty amount of running time spent on exploring the different characters, action scenes are not big in numbers and the movie’s dramatic weight depends solely on your knowledge of the previous movies. Seeing people like Galadriel, Saruman or Elrond again without any introduction will make some people scream of sheer joy while others will go Galadriwho?
Peter Jackson also can’t hide the fact that the story of this movie is relatively simple in it’s approach and apart from the dwarves’ need to reclaim the land that was once theirs, the stakes aren’t as high as they were in the Lord of the Rings. But through some cleverly put in clues about the dark forces rising, it sustains the right dosage of epicness that a movie like this needs.
At times it can feel small, almost like a character piece movie, but once it get’s going it never stops.
The pacing can be a bit all over the place, but never in a distracting way, slowly but steadily we’re sucked back in to the world of Middle Earth and it’s as if we never left.
With the music from Howard Shore and a certain person living in the caves who happens to love a ring, you get swept away at times. Speaking about that certain person, it’s safe to say that the scenes that he’s in are easily amongst the best of ‘The Hobbit’ and in my opinion, the single best scene of all he has ever been in.
Gollum (duh!) is a star, and Andy Serkis (the actor who portrays him through motion capture) should at least get some sort of recognition for his work here. I feel for Gollum, and if anything, ‘The Hobbit’ gives him much more weight as a character.
Having waited well over 9 years for the moment I could see and review this movie for my friends, I can honestly say I don’t feel dissapointed. I’m beyond words over the skill portrayed in this movie, and while some might argue the pacing can be all over the place, and the amount of time spent on introducing its characters is way too much (mind you, the same was said about the first LOTR movie) I think ‘The Hobbit’ is a grand piece of filmmaking in every meaning of the word. Sets, Actors, Cinematography, Lighting, Special Effects and it’s story are all on such a high level of quality that it painfully shows how much better this is as opposed to what the general crowd has accepted as it’s standard for a night at the movies.
The movie remains one of the most powerful instruments of art, it can inspire you, move you and make you become aware of things you haven’t even thought about before.
Early on in the movie Gandalf says to Bilbo: ‘The world isn’t here in your home, the world is out there, waiting to be seen’, so is ‘The Hobbit’.