You know when you see a movie — a really good movie — you can’t help but develop doubts about additional movies within the saga. That was the way I felt when I first heard that the Hobbit was being released in film form.
Don’t get me wrong; I was excited about the movie version of the Hobbit. We’re big fans of The Lord of the Rings and I hoped the Hobbit would live up to my expectations. Like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has been broken into three parts: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and There and Back Again (2014). Well, we took the family to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey today and I am glad we did.
It’s not often we see a movie in the theatre; with a family of five a trip to the theatre can be an expensive afternoon but some movies are best seen on a large screen and in my opinion The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is one such film. It’s true the movie is long, it feels long, but the ebb and flow between action and story keeps you focused and wanting more. Even after sitting through the whole film, we couldn’t help but wish the movie didn’t end when it did.
I loved the scenery, both the real and the computer generated. Trekking across Middle Earth and running through the troll caverns below the earth, it’s scenes like these that make The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a feast for the eyes best seen on the big screen. The CGI was pretty good through an escape scene from the troll caverns seemed a little hokey. I think my love of the whole story had me over looking these elements of the film.
I realize The Hobbit is a different story than The Lord of the Rings but it’s hard not to draw comparisons. You’ll find new characters within the film but you will still see some of your favourite characters, like Gandalf, Gollum, Galadriel, Saruman, Elrond, and Bilbo. Perhaps because many have seen The Lord of the Rings, film creators felt a need to build a connection with that trilogy when telling The Hobbit. I can see how Old Bilbo fits within the movie naturally since it is he who is telling the story from his memory. However, I could have done without the brief inclusion of Frodo. This felt a little forced to me.
Similarly within The Lord of the Rings film, the story is dark, about good versus evil. Devilish creatures like orcs and trolls are plenty in the film and there is more than one epic battle. I’ll admit I jumped in my seat during a scene or two. Our kids are familiar with The Lord of the Rings movies as we have watched them many times on Blu-ray, but the big screen in a dark theatre adds a whole lever of dark and scary to the film that younger children may not enjoy.
As for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey staying true to the original book, that I cannot comment on as I have not read the book in completion. I own three copies of various printings in the hopes of reading it. Perhaps I will before the second part of the film comes out in 2013.
The whole family gave The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey thumbs up and are already craving the continuation which we will also see in theatres as well as own on Blu-ray when it is eventually released.