The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Movie Review

Peter Jackson once again amazes the world with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". Although some may criticize the film for feeling a little too similar with "The Lord of the Rings", we actually beg to differ. It is probably its biggest asset as not only when nostalgia kicks in but because it also brings everything we loved before and even more. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a marvel to behold - not only for fans of the books or the films - but also for everyone else. One thing's for sure though, this sets what to expect from the two other films in the planned trilogy. And after this showing, we simply cannot deny that things are looking pretty darn amazing.

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is a curious young Hobbit who is invited to journey with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a group of Dwarves with the goal of reclaiming their stolen treasure and home at the Lonely Mountain. Decades ago, the dragon Smaug captured the Dwarves home inside the mountain and up until now, the Dwarves have yet to find vengeance for what happened. The journey leads them from Bilbo's home in the Shire through the Elven stronghold of Rivendell and through the Goblin infested Misty Mountains where Bilbo meets a creature with an object of mysterious qualities that will change his life, and the life of his family, forever. As they continue, they discover that other vile creatures especially the Orcs and their leader, the Pale Orc, also seek to destroy them.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has only two faults. One is its length and second is the film feeling like a start to something bigger and better in the next two installments. Those two may sound as major faults but this is far from the truth. When it is all said and done, the whole film still feels magical, special and spectacular. What's truly amazing is the way Peter Jackson and the film captures your attention. Even with dialogue dominating the 162-minute run time, never did we feel any point of boredom setting in. Maybe it was because of the jaw-dropping and stunnung visuals or the slightly light-hearted and humorous tone or the great acting not only by Martin Freeman (who is more than perfect for the role as Bilbo Baggins) but also by everyone in the cast or simply because this is a well-made film. The most memorable scene for us is the riddle showdown between Bilbo and the unforgettable Golum, still played by Andy Serkis. The scene stood out not only because of Golum being in it but also the acting props shown by the two men evolve and the CGI work that makes this the most realistic Golum yet. Finally, one thing that struck us is how well the movie played with our emotions. At times, we laughed with the merry Dwarves and even gasp when something unexpected happens on-screen. We almost even shed a tear in a couple of scenes by the end. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" may not feel as epic as its predecessors but does it even have to compared in the first place? The answer is no as what we found is still a great and memorable film within.

Rating: 4 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- as expected from a Peter Jackson film, this is a visual and technical marvel
- the story and acting propel this film into something great

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- this was a lengthy film for something that feels like a filler film for the next two installments
- leaves a very big cliffhanger at the end

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