- Print Editions
by Cedric Hyon
Peter Jackson is known for some of the best special effects in a movie. From the Lord of the Rings trilogy to King Kong, Jackson has never failed to bring pioneering effects to his creations. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is no exception.
The story revolves around Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman. What begins as a humorous tale of determined adventure soon unfolds to a vast epic with full-fledged battles with orcs and goblins, alike.
Gandalf the Grey, played by Ian Mckellan, recruits Bilbo as a burglar for a band of dwarves determined to take back their home that’s been overrun by a dragon.
Throughout the entire movie, the audience is presented with a plethora of special effects. The scenery from the beginning with the small village to the vast forests and wilderness in the end all present a bright, picturesque quality that astounds me profusely. I regret not seeing these vibrant colors in 3-D.
Another contributing factor to this vibrant style is the score composed by Howard Shore. The Dwarf hymn that the group sings that is their song of hope is played in many types of instrumentations. I find myself singing the hymn, wanting to go to battle, myself.
Aside from the effects, some of the acting is superb. Ian Mckellan steals the show completely. From beginning to end, my eyes immediately gravitate towards him. His character, physique, and presence are just incredible to watch. Especially when he starts throwing flaming pinecones at the enemy. His acting performance is unmatched by anyone in the movie, as expected by someone like Mckellan.
Before I go into my complaints of the movie, I have not read the book, and I don’t think one should have to read the book to have an opinion on the movie. Cinema is not meant to be a line-to-line remake of the book. That is why they are called adaptations.
My biggest (and quite frankly only) complaint is that the movie is just dragged out far too long. Over 2 hours was hardly sufficient. A lot could have easily been taken out or shortened, such as the dinner scene. It was essentially 10 minutes of watching dwarves eat, which was not pleasant to watch. It was very clear the audience was getting bored as well, as I saw many of them pulling out their phones for the time after about 2 hours. Long tales of epics, however, are Jackson’s style, and have worked well in the past, especially in “Return of the King.” It was simply just too long for a tale this short.
Despite these complaints, however, Peter Jackson delivers a beautiful tale full of colorful images and vibrant imagery. The detail and nuance in cinematography is astounding, the action is full of enough high paced sword-fighting to keep you lasting those 3 hours, and overall the story is told at a pace appropriate for an epic tale.