The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, now in theaters, is a magical adventure back into the brilliant mind of director Peter Jackson and the fantasy world of Middle Earth, which is the setting of Jackson’s previous “The Lord of the Rings” films. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey instantly hurls the audience back into a familiar setting and satisfies every expectation. From the names, music, locations, and recognizable faces, this film feels every bit like Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” and offers more to behold. The film, set prior to “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, takes the audience on an exciting journey meant to creatively dazzle the viewer, taking him to great heights. For some, the movie may fall short, but for me, the vision of this director makes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a spectacular experience.
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we follow the character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as a young man embarking on an epic quest to help a group of dwarves try and reclaim their homeland, the lost kingdom of Erebor (also the Lonely Mountain), which has been desecrated and taken over by the dragon Smaug. Along with the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), legendary dwarf king and warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and twelve other dwarves, Bilbo and company set out on a journey across Middle Earth, facing goblins, orcs, giant spiders, sorcerers, giants, and more. While fighting their way through the wild, Biblo also encounters the creature Gollum, where he discovers the “precious” ring, which will forever change the fate of Middle Earth.
From a visual standpoint, Jackson filmed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 48 frames per second (twice the normal rate of most films), and this creates a very unique experience for the audience. The change in filming format produces incredibly sharp detail, but almost shows too much detail, making it difficult to tell what is real (because everything looks fake). Others compare this format similar to watching a soap opera or stage play, or looking at a poorly calibrated TV. Parts of the film look like a video game, or animation mixed with real actors, using a lot of computer generated imagery (CGI). Personally, I’ve seen the film in the new format as well as the normal version, and there is a vast difference. Some audiences will enjoy the new format as it creates a new viewing experience, but others will find it annoying. Jackson couldn’t have done a better job in creating this film in the new format, but it will take some getting used to. Seeing this movie in regular format allows the audience to experience more of the story, but either format creates a captivating experience. I recommend strongly considering the different formats before seeing this film. These formats are not to be confused with 3D technology as this is an option for both formats as well.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is an incredibly enjoyable and mesmerizing fairy tale. I rate this film a 4 out of 5 stars and recommend The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to “The Lord of the Rings” fans or anyone who enjoys science-fiction fantasy adventures. The film is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence and frightening images. Runtime is 2 hours and 49 minutes.
By: Hayden Pittman, Film Critic for YouPlusDallas
Tags: Action, fantasy, Film, Hayden Pittman, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, movie, movie review, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, science fiction, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Lord of the Rings, youplusdallas