100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]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![/yellow_box]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe 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…

120+ movies: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

120+ Movies of 2011, Annual Movie Challenge

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the UnicornThe Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (27/10/11)

Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. But someone else is in search of the ship.

This was the kind of film I was hoping the last Indiana Jones was going to be. It’s fun. It’s not just for kids. And it’s fun. Though one irk to get out of the way – I don’t understand in the point of doing an animated feature if the point of your animation is to make it as realistic as using people. Why not just use people and live action! Answers on a postcard please!

Minus my little irk, I really enjoyed the film. There was a father sitting near me who kept telling his children, who didn’t seem to care, that it was exactly like the old comics and cartoon. He couldn’t stop telling them how much it was like he hoped it would be!

All the voice talent was spot on. Most of the time I couldn’t tell the difference between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost! Jamie Bell’s voice was almost unrecognisable as Tintin. He did good!

The story was a simple one, but it didn’t need to be anything more than it was. There wasn’t anything unexpected. There didn’t need to be. There’s enough character in the characters and a few laugh out loud lines. Or at least moments that will deserve a snort.

Go and see it. Not in 3D. I think I might be blind to 3D. Barring a few moments of floaty dust and swords protruding, I just didn’t see the 3D!

One last thing – the opening sequence is beautiful. John Williams score and some gorgeous animation. Yes, it’s a bit Catch Me If You Can, but it’s still a wonderful opening title sequence.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ movies: Burke and Hare

120+ Movies of 2011

Burke and HareBurke and Hare (16/09/11)

A black comedy about two 19th century grave robbers who find a lucrative business providing cadavers for an Edinburgh medical school.

What a disappointment. That’s a horrible way to start writing about this film, but that’s what it was! Great cast, excellent director and yet it all just fell apart. Not sure it was all together in the first place really.

I was hoping for a really dark, black comedy. Considering the subject matter of killing people just to sell the dead bodies. How else would you be able to tell it?

I found a few of the gags funny, but overall, I was left a little bored some of the time and the gags just missed the mark. Ah well.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ Movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

120+ Movies of 2011

Rise of the Planet of the ApesRise of the Planet of the Apes (16/08/11)

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Rise of the Apes just wasn’t a succinct enough title. Despite the overly long title, the film was good! A pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting much, if I’m honest. Perhaps my lower expectations made me enjoy the film a little bit more.

Everyone’s talking about Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar and a bunch of other apes. Don’t get me wrong, I think the capture was brilliant. There was definitely a level of humanity brought to Caesar that some of the human characters didn’t have. But has that got more to do with the almost flawless computer graphics? Someone educate me here! Caesar did bring me to tears on more than one occasion. He was definitely more than just a CG character.

James Franco and John Lithgow were fantastic in the film. John Lithgow made a small role so much larger and I could get behind James’ Will Rodman. David Oyewolo’s Jacobs was an infuriating character who was there to be just that! Well, it felt like it. I couldn’t understand him at all.

Second summer film with a score by Patrick Doyle – I’ll be buying that. It was a good, solid orchestral score which really backed up some of the more dramatic and action scenes as well as supporting the low-key, emotive scenes.

One development that Caesar made in the film made me laugh. I don’t think it was meant to. Thankfully, it wasn’t just me, but quite a lot of people in the cinema laughed as well. I didn’t think it was necessary, but clearly someone thought they needed to go there!

There were plenty of throwbacks to the original Ape films and King Kong. I was keeping my eyes and ears out for more, I know I missed plenty.

So, are they going to do a series of Ape films now then? With the little bit about the Icarus and it being lost in space. I’m hoping they do, if they can be like this film – entertaining, solid but simple story and a handful of decent characters.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far: