100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (13/12/12)

A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit was one of my most anticipated films of the year at the beginning of the year. With a whole year to wait, the anticipation and excitement was only going to rise. And it did. With every production diary video I watched, the more impatient I got. December rolled around and tickets were booked as soon as they were available. Though… in boring old 2D.

While I’m all for pushing the boundaries with technology and all that new stuff, I’m fairly old-fashioned with my cinema viewing. I don’t want to have to wear anything on my face. I don’t want to be told where to look. I just want to enjoy the story and film making.

So this is a non-HFR, non-3D review of The Hobbit.

What of The Hobbit? Well, in a nutshell, I enjoyed it. It was a welcome return to Middle Earth. It felt like going back to an old TV show and already knowing what to expect. But in a good way. That nice familiar feeling watching the camera roll around Hobbiton. It felt like home!

Howard Shore’s score made it all the more familiar with themes from The Fellowship of the Ring creeping in every now and then. I really loved Over the Misty Mountains Cold. Really beautiful bit of music. Solid score. I expected nothing less.

The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Young Bilbo was a bit more sullen than I expected. Gandalf was as I remembered him. Exactly how I wanted it. Gollum – wow. Sure he was only onscreen for a short amount of time, but he lit up the screen. Loved the riddle scene so very much.

The dwarves were all brilliant, but they came off as more comic relief than anything else. Which was a shame. While watching this troop I couldn’t help but compare to the Fellowship and how they were all such individual characters and, yes at times, comic relief, but they had purpose. The dwarves all blended together a bit for me. Which was a shame.

I’m amazed that from this one film we have only got a portion of The Hobbit. The good sort of amazed. There’s a lot of Middle Earth history, which I appreciate and look forward to seeing more of. I’m not sure how successfully it was intertwined with the story of The Hobbit. I think LOTR did a better job with their pre-title prologues.

The set pieces of the film let me down a little. Not visually. But just that there were quite a few of them. Lots of fighting. Not in the spirit of the book. But guess they have to cater to the mass cinema going audiences.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Hobbit. Probably more so because I saw it in 2D. It’s a welcome return to Middle Earth, but it’s not on par with The Lord of the Rings for me. So far. It lacked the heart of Fellowship but hoping that will change with the next two installments.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

87 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
  49. Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
  50. A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
  51. Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
  52. The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
  53. Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)
  54. Horrible Bosses 4/5 (06/07/12)
  55. Broadcast News 3/5 (07/07/12)
  56. We Need to Talk About Kevin 4/5 (07/07/12)
  57. Miller’s Crossing 4/5 (18/07/12)
  58. The Dark Knight Rises 5/5 (20/07/12)
  59. 21 Jump Street 5/5 (29/07/12)
  60. The Mystery Team 3/5 (07/08/12)
  61. The Help 4/5 (11/08/12)
  62. The Bourne Legacy 3/5 (13/08/12)
  63. The Expendables 2 4/5 (17/08/12)
  64. Brave 5/5 (19/08/12)
  65. Dracula 3/5 (19/08/12)
  66. The Woman in Black 3/5 (24/08/12)
  67. The Mummy 4/5 (28/08/12)
  68. Lawless 3/5 (30/08/12)
  69. Real Steel 2/5 (31/08/12)
  70. [REC] 3 Genesis 2/5 (04/09/12)
  71. Take Shelter 4/5 (15/09/12)
  72. Dredd 3D 3/5 (19/09/12)
  73. The Apartment 5/5 (23/09/12)
  74. Young Frankenstein 5/5 (25/09/12)
  75. Looper 5/5 (28/09/12)
  76. Sinister 3/5 (10/10/12)
  77. Skyfall 5/5 (26/10/12)
  78. The Prince & Me 3/5 (31/10/12)
  79. Crazy, Stupid, Love 4/5 (03/11/12)
  80. Argo 5/5 (07/11/12)
  81. Super Troopers 3/5 (22/11/12)
  82. The Raid 5/5 (24/11/12)
  83. Moneyball 4/5 (27/11/12)
  84. Lars and the Real Girl 4/5 (28/11/12)
  85. The Illusionist 3/5 (29/11/12)
  86. Seven Psychopaths 4/5 (12/12/12)
  87. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 4/5 (13/12/12)

26 comments

  1. Good review Jaina. 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.

    • For lack of a better word, Fellowship just felt like such a “tight” film. Even in the extended version, there didn’t feel like there were any spurious scenes. Hobbit lacked that a little. But still, a brilliant fantasy film.

  2. I think I’m gonna catch this one on DVD, I just still can’t believe how they divided it into 3 films. Glad you enjoyed the movie!

  3. It’s got some room to grow… as for the Dwarves blending all together, its kind of hard to distinugish them all and give them all things to do on film. You know? There’s 13 of them, that’s a real challenge…

    4/5 is a fair grade, I think I’m leaning towards a 4.5 for my Lamb score. I thought it was a great piece of fantasy movie making… its just that it has SO much to live up to!

    I didnt like that they CGIed the main Orc villain…. cmon. That Uruk Hai in Fellowship was a real person!

    I will say this, 48 fps was REALLY different. Holy cow… so if you like being “old fashioned” when you go to the cinema… I’d steer clear!

    • The CGI’d Orc villain got to me too. Just why? If they managed to have the Uruk Hai as real people, why not here too? That Orc villain didn’t instill any fear. Uruk Hai – holy crap were they formidable!

      I’m intrigued about 48fps. I don’t want to rule it out. I’d like to see it, but I just didn’t want my film viewing to be swayed by how I was viewing the film. You know?

  4. Am sick with jealousy right now.

    Fantastic review, Jaina, and it puts me in a jolly mood for when I eventually go to see this :D

    • You know what? I remember back in the “old” blogging days when we all had LOTR layouts up on our blogs. I loved your Sam/Frodo one! Hurry and go see!

          • 2D! I loved Avatar in 3D. Then I watched it on dvd and found much of the charm was lost on me. I’ve done a U-turn on 3D as a result. I think it’s like you said, about not wanting to be told where to look. I just want to enjoy a movie as freely as possible.

            Incidently, if I recall correctly, it was because of you that I got into LotR in the first place. It was all lost on me until I read one of your blog posts back then talking all kinds of goodness about it :D

  5. Good review, Jaina. I haven’t seen this yet, but I have read the book a couple of times. In the book (at least for me) the dwarves all blended together, too. I never knew which was which with the exception of Thorin. I suppose that’s a problem with the source material if its reproduced in the movie. Also, I’m glad you watched it in non-3D, non-HFR. I’m in the same boat as you. I like my movies the old fashioned way.

    • Why can’t people just enjoy films for the film? Surely you get immersed in a film by the storytelling of it all and not just the visuals?

  6. Just saw this one yesterday and I agree with most of your points. Some of the random fight/chase scenes could have been omitted, I thought, but overall I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. I planned on seeing it in 2D as well, but my friends pushed me to see the 48fps screening, and I’m glad I did! It felt gimmicky but it was a really interesting experience. Definitely worth trying if you have any interest in seeing it again.

    • Definitely want to give the 48fps a go. Just not first time around viewing!

      I think cutting out a lot of those chase/fight scenes and you’d get a more cohesive feeling film. I get that it’s a journey and it’s all up with the peril but so much was just for show.

  7. Hey Jaina, my blog is back on with a brand new post. Thanks for your most recent comment. I expect to be on the blogosphere a lot more often than I have in the past since I’m all done with academia (for now).

    As for The Hobbit, I’m not sure if I will see it on the big screen. I’m not really a fan of the LOTR series though I appreciate their scope and the artistry of the world the trilogy created. Maybe they became a bit too big and over-hyped as the years passed. Having said that, I do love Gollum, who I considered to be the most consistently entertaining character of the trilogy so I’m glad he gets some screen time in this new film.

    I’m sure I will get to this film sooner or later and I’m glad you enjoyed it after waiting for so long.

    • I think there’s justification for the hype surrounding LOTR. Mostly because it made fantasy film more acceptable. Before LOTR, the genre wasn’t well represented. But yes, I can understand why you’d feel that way.

      Gollum stole the show. Looks near flawless now.

  8. I was hoping for a little more, but still enjoyed it. the camera pans and the musical score was so great and tied it brilliantly to the look and feel of LOTR. Plus…Gandalf the Grey!!!

  9. The Hobbit was brilliant for special effects, that’s for sure. The story was good, not great, in my opinion. Overall for me a 7.5/10 (which is what I think it should be on IMDB).
    if there was no previous lord of the rings trilogy, I might have rated The Hobbit higher. At times it felt like a cash-cow-remake of Fellowship, and lacked the freshness of the earlier films. Agree about the riddles part, that was one of my favorite scenes.

    • It did feel like a bit of a remake. More so when they hit the mines of Moria.

      We were definitely spoilt with LOTR. It’s hard to live up to that set of films. But hoping the next couple will “up” things a bit.

  10. Finally got around to posting my own review of this movie. I re-read your review. I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but I think you’re letting the movie off easy. 4/5? That seems generous considering how many glaring problems there were.

    • You know what? I think I did let the movie off easy with a 4/5. I think it was that post-movie watching glow that I get. It just alters my perception. Like some crappy X-Men character.

      Off to read your thoughts now! I expect nothing more than shitty!

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