It has been a little over seven decades since J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, first came out and about nine years since the last installment of director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy cast a spell on moviegoers and fans of the literature. Now, Peter Jackson is at it again, mixing advance technology with a tale as classic as it is current in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of another whopping trilogy.
To do that, he travels back through time, 60 years before the events that transpired in The Fellowship of the Ring, introducing viewers to a much younger Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is asked to join in an adventure with Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and thirteen dwarves, led by the very Aragorn-like Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). This new fellowship’s mission: to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, once ruled by the dwarves, from the killer claws of Smaug the dragon.
The film revisits familiar characters (Hugo Weaving as Lord Elrond, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Cate Blanchett as Lady Galadriel, and Elijah Wood as Frodo) and sensibilities, but the movie’s innovation is in how it was shot 48-frames-per-second, allowing the landscapes and CGI action sequences to be crisper and more fluid. The downside of this however is that after two hours and 45 minutes of mind-blowing 3D madness, it can be a bit taxing to the senses, leaving viewers feeling like they’re crashing from a magic mushroom trip.
Majestic beards really get tiring to look at after a while
All jokes aside, it’s Jackson’s wizardry of melding this state-of-the-art technology with the film’s ability to provoke recognizable emotions that seals the film’s authenticity as a heartwarming fantasy adventure.
Another familiar face fans should watch out for is the return of Andy Serkis as the skulking Gollum. As Bilbo battles it out riddle-style with the haunted and haunting character, the scene brings out both the adoration and hatred people have with the character.
The effect of The Hobbit isn’t as powerful as its predecessor (or should we say its successor?) but it still packs a magical punch, thanks to its amazing cast, the efforts of the man at its helm, and the solid story it’s grounded on. The overall effect is nostalgic yet there is so much freshness in this to sustain the attention of even the youngest of audience members.
Bilbo was deeply mesmerized by the dwarf's finely groomed moustache
Themes of bravery, camaraderie, and going against the odds are all timeless and archetypal storytelling tools that will always resonate no matter when and where the story is told. So be ready to hold back those man-tears when Bilbo first wields his sword in an act of selflessness, for it will surely remind you of the first time you ever stood up for yourself.