Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey

Well, my family and I went to see a highly anticipated movie on Saturday afternoon and caught the 3D showing of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey!

I don't normally do film reviews on this blog, but in this case I will make an exception!

Warning - may contain SPOILERS!

I have to say we all thoroughly enjoyed the film, and the 3 hours went past in the blink of an eye!

Although rated PG13, my six year old daughter and nine year old son had no issues with any of it, though they have already been quite used to seeing LOTR at home...

The movie appealed on so many levels - there was great continuity between it and the prior trilogy of Lord of the Rings. The movie followed the story of the Hobbit, very well and typically was embellished with movie drama. Where it differed to the book, I did not not find any of that an 'issue', and I loved the fact that they brought into it the greater back story - information gleaned from the Appendices of LOTR and Unfinished Tales no doubt.

The discussion of the White Council was very appropriate as was the initial scene setting sequences too. It wasn't just the dwarves off on an adventure, there was clearly a sense of greater things afoot!

Whilst initially skeptical at the idea of Radagast played by Silvester McCoy and his 'rabbit sleigh' - it all simply worked and was quite charming and mildly humorous too. I also liked the idea of Radagast investigating Dol Guldur too.

Great to see the elves again, this time mounted and I can't wait to get my hands on the new Rivendell cavalry models. Seeing Thranduil on his Stag was very nice, and the scene set up the animosity between the elves and dwarves very well.

And Smaug? Well, I liked the fact that we didn't get to see him in all his glory from the get go, no doubt he will feature in the subsequent movies. But his power and menace was clearly in evidence.

Another aspect I really liked is the fact that the orcs genuinely seemed something to be feared, and weren't simply 'cannon fodder' as they were so often in LOTR... Plus the fact that the orcs spoke their own Black Speech, which was subtitled on screen. This gave them a greater authenticity and menace...

I would equate it to watching a WWII movie, where the Germans speak English... its always far more authentic to have them speaking German, with English subtitles on screen...

All the scene setting was simply marvelous, from Kingdom of Erebor, to the glimpses of Dale, and the greater views of Rivendell, and the general panorama of Middle Earth, provided by the New Zealand backdrop, and of course seeing Hobbiton again, knowing we had walked those paths ourselves, when we last visited the movie set location at Matamata...

Basically it had it all; drama , tension , humor, excitement!

We are off to see it again tonight for a charity viewing, this time in 2D though in perhaps a more comfortable cinema setting, which has better seating and spacing... can't wait!

So of course now I need to get the sound track, and then wait eagerly for the movie's DVD release... and then an Extended edition??? More than 3 hours? Bliss!

And of course now I think the figures are great, and can't wait to get them painted up!

My construction of Goblin Town is progressing well, and even my understanding wife is not raising her eye brows too much, at the the fact that there is bark mulch, balsa and polystyrene all over the house! ;-) The figures have been clipped from the sprues are and steadily being trimmed ready for paint.

So what more can I say, if you're a fan then no doubt you'll be seeing it anyway. If not already a fan, go see it and enjoy the beginning of the ride! I say this as my boss isn't particular a fan and I don't think has bothered to go see or sit down and watch the LOTR movies, but he did go an see this and thoroughly enjoyed it. If that's not an endorsement then nothing is!

Oh, a movie rating? It would have to a 5 out of 5, no surprises there then ;-)


  1. My review is still in rough draft form but I have to say that I agree with you on most every point Scott.

    I too saw it in 3D first and I have to say, I wasn't all that impressed with the effects (not the movie itself which was great). There were a few scenes where 3D really made a difference but for the most part, it felt gimmicky. HOWEVER, the next day I saw it in 2D and it was perfect. Though it wasn't the HFR version, the scenery and details were much more evident and I could truly appreciate the fact that I was back in Middle-earth. I hope your 2D experience was as good as mine.

  2. Now this is what I had hoped to hear; had read a mixed review earlier, but like you I'm slightly biased in favour of the material.

  3. Great stuff Scott! Thanks for the review, I'm literally leaving out the door to go see it now. :-)


  4. Forgot to mention - there is a side effect to watching this movie - you may not be able to help yourself from embracing your 'inner dwarf' - I haven't trimmed my beard since watching the movie... ;-)

  5. Hi Scott,

    thanks for the nice review. My wife and I watched the film on Saturday and I agree in most of your points. It's a really good movie and I liked it but it's not as awesome as the Lord of the Rings was / is. A thing that really bothered me that it is too clean: No dirt, no scratches, not a drop of blood spilled. To my mind that's a crack with the ultra-realistic special effects that the Hobbit provides elsewhere. And it has the aftertaste that they did it just because of commercial considerations and parental guidance politics...


    1. You raise a good point Monty... perhaps as you say, since this was origianlly a childrens story, there could well have been a number of children destined to see it, even though the rating was PG13... after all we took our 6 year old... But one small counter point to your arguement - when Azog loses his hand, the stump clearly bleeds - yet when Aragorn cuts off Lurtz's arm in FotR, not a drop of blood is seen! There was plenty elsewhere though... ;-)

      Anyway glad you enjoyed it. I just got back from seeing it again in 2D. Just as enjoyable... :-)

    2. Could also be said, poor Thorin took a bit of a battering at the end! ;-)

  6. Sorry I've flicked through the post, don't want to know a thing other tham what i do already!

    1. No worries ;-) Hope you enjoy it when you get round to seeing it!

  7. Very nice review and no question it's a must see and the DVD's will of course find their way next to my LOTR collection.:-)



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