Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey, film review.

An Unexpected Journey is the first in a trilogy preluding the ever famous Lord of The Rings. Based on the prequel-book, The Hobbit, which was written by J.R.R Tolkien before the LOTR's, which has been divided into a three-parter in order to include as much detail from the book as possible. As a fan of The Hobbit book, and a fan of books in general, this is something which has made me very happy, as key scenes which are often cut-out in the transition from paper-to-screen have been included.

The film tells the story of a young Bilbo Baggins who defies the expectations of a Hobbit and goes on an adventure, which he has been coaxed into by Gandalf The Grey. Bilbo signs a contract to join the company of Thorin Oakensheild, King of the Dwarves of The Lonely Mountain, and his mixture of 12 loyal companions, as their burglar. Their quest is to travel to The Lonely Mountain and reclaim the treasure taken from the Oakenshield family by the dragon Smaug the Magnificent. This task however, is not as simple as it sounds. Throughout their journey many things stand in their way, as a journey through Middle Earth is never going to be an easy one. Many enemies stand in the way of the company of fourteen, from dim-witted trolls, vengeful orcs, and a nine-toothed creature who features in The Lord of the Rings - Gollum. All of which provide for spine shivering battle scenes that will leave you perched like a Great Eagle on the edge of your seat.
Thorin Oakenshield and his company of 13 Dwarves. 

Martin Freeman has stepped away from his side-kick position of Doctor John Watson in the BBC's Sherlock, and into the starring role of the films namesake, in what I can assure is his best performance to date. In an interesting twist of fate, and a move by Peter Jackson which has overjoyed nerds like myself, two of the films antagonists have been portrayed by Freemans BBC co-star, Bennedict Cumberbatch, although we only have glimpses of his characters in this, the first of the trilogy. 

Often when a person is as excited to see a film, as I was, their expectations can lead to disappointment, with The Hobbit this was not the case. I watched the film with a smile on my face - enjoying being back in Middle Earth, being reunited with beloved characters, and happy with how little of the stories origins were lost through the paper-to-screen-transition. Commonly it is the case that films based upon novels have made changes in order to adapt to the restrictions of the screen, an example of this is The Hunger Games, in which many adjustments were made so that aspects of the story were as clear as they were in the novel.

Most of the criticism that I have heard about the film, is from those who have not read the book - and who have probably never experienced the frustration of a beloved book losing its original essence when a film 'version' is produced. I have heard people describe the film as 'too long', but I feel it is just long enough - fitting in key features from the book and ending in an appropriate place. 

I personally feel those who say that this film is rubbish don't know what they're Tolkien about. 

Martin Freeman as, The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

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