Escape to the Movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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xplosive59:
I know I am not gonna enjoy this as much as LOTR, that's a given considering I consider them almost perfect movies. The Hobbit should be good but the lack of practical effects make it look unrealistic IMO.

Really, it's the lack of practical effects that make it look unrealistic, not the trolls, not the dwarves and hobbit, not the wizard riding a sleigh pulled by rabbits?

Kinda iffy on seeing this. On the one hand LOTR had a lot of great moments and was overall a enjoyable experience. On the other hand the most annoying aspect of middle earth (to me) was the hobbits, and this movie is literally titled a race that I really didn't like seeing.

I mean Frodo was fine, so was Sam, but the rest of them I wished stayed the hell away.

Brilliant to see that Bob thinks it's good. I'm going to see this at the IMAX in London with my best friend next weekend. Can't wait! I'm still not sure about the whole "3 movies" thing; giving a child's story the same screen time as the LOTR trilogy doesn't seem justifiable.

Oh and FYI, Howard Shore doesn't disappoint with his soundtrack. I have the special edition and it's fantastic!

...................................................SQUEE!!!!

Great, glad Jackson managed to pull it off, was alittle worried (after all, King Kong was good and all, but not on par with LotR and I was abit worried LotR was just a realllly great fluke).

Again, SQUEE

Tiamattt:
Kinda iffy on seeing this. On the one hand LOTR had a lot of great moments and was overall a enjoyable experience. On the other hand the most annoying aspect of middle earth (to me) was the hobbits, and this movie is literally titled a race that I really didn't like seeing.

I mean Frodo was fine, so was Sam, but the rest of them I wished stayed the hell away.

I haven't seen it. But I think your in luck. The film is called "The Hobbit" singular. As far as I remember in the book Bilbo was the only Hobbit in the entire book. His neighbor talks to him once I think.

The Hobbit is a rousing adventure. The Lord of the Rings is a history book.

So disappointing Jackson and Co. felt the need to drag it out over 3 movies. Shameless money grubbing.

charge52:

xplosive59:
I know I am not gonna enjoy this as much as LOTR, that's a given considering I consider them almost perfect movies. The Hobbit should be good but the lack of practical effects make it look unrealistic IMO.

Really, it's the lack of practical effects that make it look unrealistic, not the trolls, not the dwarves and hobbit, not the wizard riding a sleigh pulled by rabbits?

I don't think you got what I meant, I meant that the practical effects in LOTR oozed realness, the orcs and Uruk-Hai were threatening because the make up looked amazing and felt like it fit in the environment, the models used for Minis Tirith and Helms Deep felt and looked real and really dragged you into the environment of the film. CGI goblins on the other hand just look like special effects, you know that the actors are just swinging at nothing during a fight scene.

All in all it's probably for the best that the Hobbit devolves into fight scene after fight scene. There's simply not that much meat on its bones for three long movies if you just go by the story, and swordfights with orcs are a cool and otherwise pretty rare sight on the big screen. Wish you hadn't reminded me of 'Heavenly Creatures' though. Psychodrama or not, the keening of those two proto-lesbian murderesses gave me nightmares for days afterwards. Nobody should ever be that excited about anything.

My official prediction: Zack Snyder's Superman prefers the company of other men('s penises), or at the very least finds the idea of women offensive.

I know I'm not alone in liking the Hobbit more than LotR (talking about the books, not the movies). I really enjoy the smaller scope and the sense of bigger things looming in the background and the more lighthearted tone allows the more serious or tragic moments to carry a lot of weight (LotR did this too, but it's so long that the tragedy is removed from the comedy by a much longer span of time and the effect is lessened). I've certainly never found re-reading the Hobbit to be any sort of letdown after reading LotR or any of Tolkein's other Middle Earth stories, and I don't see why I should need to expect less of it.

If you say that the Hobbit can't be the Lord of the Rings, then I would add that the reverse is equally true.

JaredXE:
I hope you don't mean Les Miserables was too damn long, Bob. I think a two and a half hour musical is perfectly fine, especially if you're a theatre watcher like me.

I've got a sinking feeling that Bob won't do Les Mis justice... maybe I'm being unfair but he doesn't strike me as the sort who enjoys musicals much :-/

OT: Just saw the Hobbit this afternoon, absolutely awesome film, highly recommended. It's definitely got a more humorous feel than Rings and really managed to get going after an admittedly slow first half-an-hour.

I've seen it and can safely agree with pretty much everything he says. It's damn good.

HBaskerville:
The Hobbit is a rousing adventure. The Lord of the Rings is a history book.

So disappointing Jackson and Co. felt the need to drag it out over 3 movies. Shameless money grubbing.

Shameless money grubbing? The film is not just the Hobbit, The reason it's over three films is that they are covering other events that go on at the same time, so more then one story in a sense. See it for yourself and you will know what I mean.

TheSapphireKnight:
Some critics have also complained about the heavier use of CGI and lack of practical effects. Is it as much of a problem as some people say?

At times it definitely is, in goblin town especially. That entire part was the big low point of the film for me. CGI all over the place, weird creature design, high speed editing, etc... Thankfully it leads right into Riddles In The Dark which was friggin awesome. Andy Serkis is better than ever as Gollum. I also didnīt really like Azog. As much as it pains me to agree with IGN, he did look a bit like a video game character. His scars especially looked like lo-res in game textures.

This is all nitpicking of course. The film was nothing short of breathtaking.

Can't. Bloody. Wait. Seeing it Monday with friends, and possibly again with parents that week. I was so hoping that these films would be good considering the burden of expectation and the fact that they are unlikely to be done again in a very long time.

Well that's a relief...although I am now starting to worry that the "too damn long" movie is Django Unchained..hopefully its something else.

Also if they don't have Sylvester McCoy's character do something with an umbrella i will be very disappointed.

Happy to hear it's good and that you accepted early on that it wasn't going to outdo Lord of the Rings, I feel too many critics expected The Hobbit to better them and their reviews felt bitter as a result.

Saying all this, the one part of your review that really left me thinking was the spoiler at the end, I MUST KNOW WHAT MOVIE WAS TOO DAMN LONG!

Tiamattt:
Kinda iffy on seeing this. On the one hand LOTR had a lot of great moments and was overall a enjoyable experience. On the other hand the most annoying aspect of middle earth (to me) was the hobbits, and this movie is literally titled a race that I really didn't like seeing.

I mean Frodo was fine, so was Sam, but the rest of them I wished stayed the hell away.

You should love this, then. There's only one hobbit.

themilo504:
Sylvester mc coy is in this movie? Does he at any point in the movie rrrrrregenerate?

I see what you did there.

Tiamattt:
Kinda iffy on seeing this. On the one hand LOTR had a lot of great moments and was overall a enjoyable experience. On the other hand the most annoying aspect of middle earth (to me) was the hobbits, and this movie is literally titled a race that I really didn't like seeing.

I mean Frodo was fine, so was Sam, but the rest of them I wished stayed the hell away.

The Hobbits were always the entire point of LOTR. There's an ongoing theme that even the smallest and most unassuming of things can wield great power and integrity, a description that fits both the One Ring and the Hobbits themselves. In LOTR every one of the four Hobbits did something brave and entirely unexpected for one of their race. Then again, that's not exactly going to change your enjoyment of them if you're already predisposed to finding their race rather dull. Just thought I'd drop it into the discussion all the same :3

Juan Regular:

TheSapphireKnight:
Some critics have also complained about the heavier use of CGI and lack of practical effects. Is it as much of a problem as some people say?

At times it definitely is, in goblin town especially. That entire part was the big low point of the film for me. CGI all over the place, weird creature design, high speed editing, etc... Thankfully it leads right into Riddles In The Dark which was friggin awesome. Andy Serkis is better than ever as Gollum. I also didnīt really like Azog. As much as it pains me to agree with IGN, he did look a bit like a video game character. His scars especially looked like lo-res in game textures.

This is all nitpicking of course. The film was nothing short of breathtaking.

That's good to hear aside from the goblins of course. I hope there are more practical and stage effects for Mirkwood, Lake-Town and such, though it makes sense why the goblin town would likely have the most CGI apart from huge landscape shots and fights. I hope just that is as 'bad' as it gets through the whole trilogy.

The movie is awesome. I don't really understand the critics who don't like it.

While I agree that this is no Fellowship, I have no problem saying that this is actually better than Fellowship. Why? I'll tell you.

Now both movies are similarly built. One might say that they are almost like carbon copies of each other. This actually comes from 3 things.

First, it's intentional. Since Jackson made them all you are reminded of that throughout the movie. For example there is a "Gandalf gets angry" and "grows in size" sequence in both Hobbit and Felloship.

Second, it's accidental. Again all movies were filmed in New Zealand and every time we get to enjoy the nature scenery, you can't help but to recall a similar scene from one of the Rings films. The barren fields sequence where dwarves escape the wargs was clearly filmed in the same location where they filmed wargs ambushing the people of Rohan on their way to Hornburg in Two Towers.

Third, it's Tolkien. It seems Tolkien intentionally mirrored the beginning of Fellowship with Hobbit. You have the Shire, setting out on the journey, meeting new people (though Frodo met them in Rivendell, all the dwarves are introduced in Bag End), and finally visiting Rivendell.

None of this is a bad thing, though you might get a feeling "we've been here, done this".

Now why is it better.

One word: PACING.

The movie starts slow, but once they are out of Shire, it really takes off and the pace does not stop until at the very end.

Fellowship had one huge fault - the climax was in the middle of (well 3/5 into) the movie. I'm talking about the Balin's tomb/The Bridge of Khazad-dum/Balrog sequence. As far as I'm concerned this was the best 20 minute action sequence ever made, but the problem was the anti-climatic Lothlorien that followed it. For me it just took the "oomf" out of the movie. The movie tried to regain the speed after that, and it did manage to do that (to a degree).

However, there is no such problem with Hobbit. Action FLOWS. It really does.

There is also a much better sense of "this is an ending sequence for the movie" than there was in FotR.

So, to me this was better than FotR and Towers, but not as grand as RotK. But there is nothing wrong with that since this was just one out of three. The pacing really is impeccable.

If you can quickly accustom yourself to 48fps (which I did) you'll enjoy the movie much more from a get go.

I'm gonna go see the movie next week and I'm pretty psyched. I'm expecting to like this movie more than I did the three LoTR ones. I mean... no Virgo (yey!), no bloody Orlando Boom (double yey!). Don't get me wrong, I love Virgo (I loved The Road, in spite of everybody else's hate for it), but he was never right for Aragorn. Boom (i know it's "bloom") I do hate so... Plus, no Hobbits!!!! In the book they had a special charm, but they were much older than portrayed in the movie. Plus, they were fun. Merry and Pippin were okish in the movie, but Frodo and Sam NOOOOOOO!!!!!432hfheeu!!ooooo. The young Bilbo has enough British charm to resemble the one from the book so YEY!
As for the story... well... I always liked the Hobbit more. I know that sounds weird, but... Tolkien structured it much better than LoTR. In LoTR it's as if he made the story up as he went. Sure, the last book was AWESOME (unfortunately the last movie was a CGI gangbang in my opinion), but the story meanders in the first two. The Hobbit always had a target and was a much better travel/adventure book. The finale was also epic, almost a parody of any fairy tale where the Hero usually kills the Dragon and is usually in the front line (instead of trolling a Dragon to make him get killed by someone else, then sits under a tree during the battle and saying "screw this, I'm too old for this shit". I'm not expecting the movies to show that... but there's always hope.

I got to see an early screening of it. It was pretty good, though nothing exceptional. There are some epic scenes to be sure, but more than a few times I felt some moments were dragged out far longer than they needed to be (looking at you "Dwarven-feat introduction" scene) that exist for no purpose other than to extend the length of the film and justify the creation of 2 more movies.

chozo_hybrid:

Shameless money grubbing? The film is not just the Hobbit, The reason it's over three films is that they are covering other events that go on at the same time, so more then one story in a sense. See it for yourself and you will know what I mean.

Adding material from other books to extend the length of the story to three movies is a money grab. The story of the Hobbit is complete and could be artfully done in one long film. The new fashion of drawing out movies to multiple parts (Potter, Twilight, etc) is nothing but a way to wring more dough from people pockets. Apologize for Jackson all you want, but the book is the book. Jackson shoving more stuff in from other sources just because he can is blatant. The only reason to add 2 movies worth of extraneous material is to get more cash.

Phew, an actual review of the The Hobbit (part 1 anyway)...I was beginning to get a bit worried, as I haven't seen any doing the rounds in the usual "respectable" publications (until now, that is *ahem* ;)). Glad to hear it shapes up well.

Funny, I was round having dinner at my folks one evening when my Dad says "did you hear The Hobbit is going to be 3 hours long?". I was myself thinking if it's a surprise to you that the film is three hours long (is it?), you will probably be even more surprised to hear it's actually three movies long. Though how that particular piece of information has managed to elude him so far I don't really know :)

I am now intrigued to hear what "too long" is....in the context of this video series, that is. :)

I was wondering whether you saw this in 24 or 48 FPS. Apparently once you get up to 60 FPS it just gets trippy as balls.

Wasn't really worried about The Hobbit being screwed up though but always nice to see it was well executed.

Really amazing movie. I've been browsing the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, and they are pretty disgusting. "Serious" movie critics whining like little bitches because it's 3 parts, and it's not non stop action, and that it's too long because they've clearly got better things to do than watch movies, a few even going so far as to claim that Tolkien's tale itself was bad and had no characters. Just... no comment. Kill yourselves.

I was really surprised by the attention and respect to detail that Jackson showcased with this movie. I did not expect it. There are so many amazing things that he decided to include, material from Tolkien's addendums that were not included in the book because, of course, Tolkien had not come up with the background story and depth that he added later. It was truly a delight, seeing Radagast, the burning of Erebor and so many other ESSENTIAL things included in the movie. This is, pretty much, The Hobbit that Tolkien would write, if he had written it after Lord of the Rings. I had the time of my life, can't wait for the second movie.

"The Middle-Earth High Council of Exposition"

I have GOT to find a context for that, because it is just too good to lose to antiquity.

I enjoyed it.
Only small negative comments is that the passing of the first 45mins feels too slow. You start to worry that the film will be a lot of talking as you're aware that it's a short story split into 3.

I also found the structure of this film to be similar to The Fellowship. I can draw 3 comparisons:

The Hobbit proving himself arc did feel slightly annoying and a little in-your-face.

Proverbial Jon:

The Hobbits were always the entire point of LOTR. There's an ongoing theme that even the smallest and most unassuming of things can wield great power and integrity, a description that fits both the One Ring and the Hobbits themselves. In LOTR every one of the four Hobbits did something brave and entirely unexpected for one of their race. Then again, that's not exactly going to change your enjoyment of them if you're already predisposed to finding their race rather dull. Just thought I'd drop it into the discussion all the same :3

Yes that theme was obvious, and quite well done with Frodo and Sam. Everything beyond them however was annoying, and extremely unnecessary. And I would disagree they were the whole point, a lot of the important moments of the films had nothing to do with Hobbits, if anything it felt like they were tossed into a bunch of moments that could've easily been accomplished without them. Really they already had the slot of main hero and important sidekick that kept him going, anything after that was just overkill. Of course this is all more likely the fault of the personalities of the other 2, who seemed determined to be as annoying and useless as possible. But they seemed to represent how a "average" hobbit acts, compared to the exceptional Frodo and Sam, so that's might also explain my predisposition.

Dammit, now I'm more curious about what movie Bob thought was "Too Damn Long"!

I, for one, am hoping parts 2 and 3 really help this trilogy live up to LotR.

Why?

Because, like it or not, they're inextricably linked at this point. While the Star Wars prequels (to name one example of an after-the-fact prequel trilogy that don't live up to the promise of their predecessor sequels) may be safely discarded and the original three may stand on their own, the value and quality of "Star Wars" as a whole is still dragged down by the inferior three. The same could happen here, easily.

Added to this is the fact that we're not going to get another chance at this particular series. Like it or not, this is the (one and only) Hobbit movie(s) to be tied to the existing Lord of the Rings trilogy; if it fails, and they make a new one later on, there will be no sense of continuity between it and the original LOTR (which, I am positing, simply cannot be bested or even equaled in a remake).

You just spent two minutes telling us how An Unexpected Journey wasn't The Lord of the Rings. Two minutes of a five minute review. Then you spent the next three minutes telling us it stood up on its own merits and was a genuinely enjoyable film.

Why did you even bother with the first two minutes...? The fact that you felt compelled to compare it to its predecessor as though it was relevant in any way beyond "Oh yeah, this is a prequel trilogy", merely confuses your message.

On another, more relevant note - I saw it earlier. I loved it. It didn't feel too long to me - hell I was wanting more when the credits rolled. But I will definitely feel the length when it comes to watching it on DVD. I always do.
A couple of things - the conversation between Gandalf and Radaghast felt like two 'divine' beings meeting on a rare occasion. Maybe because there are just five wizards. Or were. I forget. But there was most definitely that.
The dwarves were amusing. It was like having my Scottish family over. Except the dwarves have better singing voices - Which I would buy an album of, by the way.

MovieBob:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

MovieBob gives us some insight regarding Peter Jackson's latest low budget extravaganza.

Watch Video

Why all the hate on lens flare? We've been stuck with measly 3-point lighting for how long now? So now we have the key light, the fill light, the backlight, and the Clumsy Idiot With a Flashlight Wandered Onto the Set light.

Many of the early negative reviews seemed to me to be simply for the reason that it's more entertaining to write a review where the hero, (in this case Sir Peter Jackson,) fails than if he succeeds. I mean look what Bob said here; it's very good but it's not ground-breaking Lord of the Rings good - which is all anyone can ask of it. But who wants to be the measured guy when it's so much more fun to say that the geek hero has been felled by his own hubris.

So many of the criticisms just seemed to confirm all the concerns that were floating around the movie before it was even seen which suggested to me that these people went to the film with certain expectations. They expected that the 48fps would make things look unconvincing and expected that with the short book now divided in three it would be too slow-paced. Funny that.

Going to see this on Sunday with my mom and dad. They don't have any non-3D versions anywhere near me and 3D gives me the worlds biggest migraine so normal version for me.

HBaskerville:
The only reason to add 2 movies worth of extraneous material is to get more cash.

Or you know, because he actually wanted to see the other material on screen. It's easy to accuse someone of money grubbing, but unless you're friends with Jackson and he told you that he was only in it for the cash, it's just baseless accusations.

The extra material (Erebor) that Jackson has used was actually from Tolkein reworking the story into more epic saga to go along side the Lord of the Rings, he viewed the original version of the Hobbit as someone taking an epic tale and turning it into a children's story, so one could take the view that this is the intended version.

I for one am happy that he took the opportunity to put it all up on the screen, it's the only way we're going to see it.

Edit: Bob, it was so nice to see a review that focused on the film itself, rather than the technology behind it. So far it's been a game of 'see how long the reviewer can go before turning the article into a 48fps rant.'

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