DECEMBER 16, 2013

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THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012)

I absolutely love and adore THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. All three are firmly fixed in my list of favorite films of all time. So it was with much excitement that I awaited my return to J.R.R. Tolkein’s (and Peter Jackson’s) Middle-Earth. Given a bad rap by a number of critics and fans, I happen to like THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. It’s not as majestic and involving as THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, but it is still quite an achievement and an expertly made film.
 
Unlike THE LORD OF THE RINGS novels, I have actually read THE HOBBIT. I was familiar with the story of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his adventure with the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellen) and a company of dwarves lead by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) as they attempt to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. I also appreciate the additions to the story culled from other Tolkein books as well as the imaginations of writers Phillipa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Guillermo del Toro.
 
Also unlike THE LORD OF THE RINGS, is the tone of THE HOBBIT. Geared more for children, it’s a tad more light and comical in its approach; an approach that Director Peter Jackson decided to embrace in his adaptation. At first I found this a little disappointing after the serious nature of the other trilogy, but once I settled into it, I came to embrace it as well.
 
There has been a lot of criticism leveled at Jackson and his team for splitting the single book into three films and saying that it’s just a money grab to milk as much out of the franchise as possible. I find that rather unwarranted, especially given Jackson’s clear love for the source material. He has proven himself time and time again that he is more than capable of delivering these master works with all his heart and soul. They are all (THE HOBBIT included) exceptional films and great technical achievements. All the money is on the screen and then some. So what is there to complain about?
 
Yes, they can be a tad over indulgent at times with excessive running times, but have you heard anyone complain that there’s too much to do at Disneyland? It’s absurd to me to complain about too much of a good thing. It’s not like these films are Terrence Malick or Andrei Tarkovsky meditations that stretch on for long sections with nothing transpiring. They are jam-packed with adventure and action or engrossing character moments. THE HOBBIT is overly long, not boring and that’s a huge distinction.
 
So get over it people and enjoy your unexpected journey, because once this new trilogy is finished, you’ll be begging for more films of this quality and car