In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
– The Hobbit
I must start with a confession: I only saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this week, and for a Tolkien fan that is shocking, given that it came out almost a month ago. But I have seen it now (in 3D, and at the higher frame rate of 48 fps, no less), and that’s the main thing.
Ever since I went to the world premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington (the capital of New Zealand), I have been looking forward to seeing the film. I quite like Tolkiens work, and I have 4 of his books (if you count The Lord of the Rings as one book).
What’s good about this film?
One thing I quite liked about the film was that there is a prologue at the start of the film that explains how Smaug the dragon destroyed Dale and took Erebor from the dwarves, forcing Thorin, the leader of the company of dwarves we see later on, to flee. The prologue also shows the viewers why Thorin and company want to reclaim Erebor. These two things might not be known to those who haven’t read The Hobbit, which is probably one reason why the prologue is there, but even for me, having read the book a while ago, it is still very entertaining and interesting.
The music is amazing. The score for the three Lord of the Rings films was absolutely stunning, so it will come as no surprise that the score for The Hobbit is of a similar calibre. Some of the music in The Hobbit was even very similar to the music that was used for The Lord of the Rings, as were some of the shots used. For example, when Gandalf sends the moth to get the eagles to come and help the company at the end of the film, the shot used when he talks to the moth is very similar to the one used in The Fellowship of the Ring when he sends a moth to get the eagles to help him escape from Isengard, which is Saruman’s tower. The are some striking similarities between these scenes.
Another standout was the singing, in particular the dwarves singing the misty mountain song, which appeared in part in one of the trailers for the film. Singing is a prominent part of the book, as there are many songs that appear throughout it, so it’s good to see at least some of the songs appear in the film.
The performances from all the cast are very good, and very believable. The standout performance for me was the performance by Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin, the leader of the company of dwarves. That’s because it’s just so easy to believe his performance, and that Thorin genuinely doesn’t like Bilbo, or the fact that he’s a part of the company. The believability of a performance, for me, is a very important part of what makes it great. It’s so important for me that I even mentioned it in my last film review as well.
What’s bad about this film?
In this film there are a fair few dwarf jokes. There’s nothing wrong with that (they are quite funny), but I’d hate to see what the extended edition of this film is like. There are only so many dwarf jokes you can have in one film, after all.
Also, in the scene where the company enters the trolls caves, it is quite hard to see where the dwarves are when the trolls are smothering them. That may very well be the point of that part of the scene, but I found it very annoying not being able to tell what exactly was going on.
Aside from that, there aren’t really any significant bad things about this film.
It could be argued that the hype surrounding this film is bad, but I believe that’s just part of how Hollywood does business.
The first instalment of The Hobbit film trilogy is a superb film overall, with a couple of small annoyances. They don’t detract too much from the film overall, though.