Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Film)

Rating:HeartHeartHearthalfheart
Blurb: 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.
Purchase Book: Amazon | Book Depository | GoodReads
Purchase Film: Amazon

Film: The Hobbit
Rating: HeartHeartHearthalfheart
Favourite Line: “If Baggins loses… We eats it whole“- Gollum

Oh The Hobbit, where do I begin? Generally, I thought the film was a very good one. I enjoyed it immensely and those 2.5 hrs went by in an all too quick blur. The film was a loud, fun and engaging one. It was, in a sense, well-balanced: the directors includes enough action, dialogue, glitz, glam and loud bangs in it to create a feeling of fullness and wellness. But first I’ll speak on some things that annoyed me, however, and then get into the gritty of what I loved.

I believe that Tolkien Purists will find the film disappointing. The movie did not stick to the book in a very close fashion, with new and large plot lines being created. First, there is this bit with a big, ugly pale orc that has it in for Thorin and is explained as the reasons behind the company’s travel woes. Eh? I am still on the fence about this inclusion to the plot and I shall hold my judgement till December 2013 when the second installment comes out. Second, a few LOTR characters appear that were never in the book. I was all fine with this at first, but then I was dismayed about how many of the old greats they brought in. It felt like they were trying to piggy back off of the success of LOTR and the public’s favourite characters. I don’t understand how Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman added to the film generally. Especially Galadriel, I thought her screen time to be quite pointless and frustrating. Yes she is beautiful and otherworldly, but my goodness, was she needed?

The film also extended the plot of the Necromancer quite a bit which is something I was a bit iffy and yet pleased about. I was intrigued whilst reading The Hobbit as to why Gandalf had to disappear to deal with the Necromancer, so to see that plot line brought up, acknowledged and extended has potential to make the other 2 films in the series quite enjoyable.

Now I’ll get to my biggest beef: CG effects. One of the most bewitching aspects of the LOTR films was their use of real people as the bad-guys. The orcs, Uruk-hai, goblins, etc, were real people behind exquisitely constructed and crafted costumes, masks and make up. This added a crucial element to the films: everything seemed real. Those same goblins, orcs and so on were so real that they could have come from our Earth. I found this element to be sorely lacking in The Hobbit, as the goblins were pale imitations of their predecessors, at best. Don’t get me wrong, the CG effects were quite real, the Goblin King’s pustules felt all too close to me during certain points, but nothing felt real. It felt like a large green screen and a large budget for special effects, when the money should have been spent on good old-fashioned costume design and make up. Those trolls? Nope, not terrifying, just annoying. What say you on this?

I won’t end this review on a flat note. Despite these minor quirks that I found terribly distracting and annoying, I have a number of strong elements to point out. First of all, I must say that the casting department deserves a good clap on the back. Bilbo is a delight and his interactions with Gollum were terrifying, tense, electrifying and quite funny. I found Bilbo to be a thoroughly engaging character who played well with the others. The dwarves were also a delight, Thorin was stoic, handsome and as proud as I expected him to be and I loved Fili and Kili and their brotherly dynamic.

Despite the screen writers liberties with plot lines, the individual characters’ lines stuck closely to those from the book. As a result, I found myself to that geek in the room mouthing certain phrases that I already knew. The film score was also a delight, it was loud in the right places and soft and ethereal in others.

Overall, I feel that the film is fully deserving of its HeartHeartHeart, as it is a film that is well-rounded enough to deserve some serious accolades. It has its downfalls, but not enough to detract from the films overall delight and fun.

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About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Film, Middle-Earth Mania, Obsessed, SFF. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Film)

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  4. snowtinsel says:

    I thought the film was certainly enjoyable, though I have the same annoyances you list here. The pale orc was frustrating, but bearable. The CG was immensely aggravating; probably my least favorite part of the whole thing. And the trolls were…eh. I didn’t really care for them. But otherwise, I felt that the essence of the book was kept, which is how I felt about Lord of the Rings. 🙂

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