#REVIEW: “THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY”
Reviewer: Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
A Movie that like its literary roots, struggled to grow. Yet it climbed from the soil and up the metaphorical mountain; slayed the dragon and spread the wealth the beast protected. Nevertheless some complain it’s not enough.
Peter Jackson like his pen-wielding predecessor (J.R.R. Tolkien) is a world builder. Capable of incredible feats there’s little wonder why he’s so misunderstood. With his first trek through Middle-Earth the masses smiled at the unexpected. So why now do they weep? Perhaps it’s the resolution, 48 frames per second, offers a beauty the beholders have never seen before. Beauty so defined that the surreal has become believable. Gollum who we know, we know now on new terms; Rivendell which we’ve seen is here brighter than it will be. Also, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) is ever more incandescent as the goddess who will soon steal Gimli’s heart. And speaking of dwarves it’s interesting to note how full this fellowship is with them. Thirteen in all, they turn the familiar on its head. This world was there seen with an eclectic eye and in this back again it is distinct. Perhaps this is another reason why the public cries in confusion.
So let us discuss the dwarves for there are no Aragorn’s or Legolas’ as of yet. There is a Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) however, who’s a character all his own. Tortured by a tragic past he’s ever so enchanting, as every time the plot points to him one’s attention is swiftly stolen. They call the man a king and he leaves one with no doubt that he is. Immediately after the Film’s end we’re left wondering if he’ll win back the Lonely Mountain, conquer his arch-enemy Azog, tear Smaug asunder and snatch the Arkenstone from his scaly grip. Oh how heavy weighs the crown.
The dozen others make-up a choir of colorful voices, despite Gandalf (Ian McKellen) being gray throughout, (and far more interesting for it). All of that said this is The Hobbit, so onto the story’s titled hero. Played by Martin Freeman, Bilbo is unlike his nephew Frodo. He’s far more chipper and clever to boot. His somber moments are few as his humor is ever at the surface. Still his depth is a point of interest and it plays out in a Game of Riddles. As part of the closing act the Game of Riddles ignites the tension. Bilbo unknowingly is crowned Lord of the Rings, while nearby the Goblin King plots how his friends will die. Unwilling to acquiesce their lives a climactic egress ensues. For those who pay the 3D price be glad that you did, for the imagery bursts forth from the screen like the blood said heroes spill. My god the glory these men seek.
As was said before, Peter Jackson is a man misunderstood. May this be an elementary attempt at trying to do exactly that. For the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a film one watches over and again. With two more yet to come it’s a wonder what he’ll show us next. Warner Bros. releases wide on December 14, 2012.