Our guest reviewer Alex Hewett took a trip down the Hobbit Hole…
Peter Jackson is a true visionary. You may or may not like his directorial vision of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” I indeed did like it very much. I was lucky enough to view the 3 hour spectacle that was shot using a new format, 48 frames per second and in 3D. Most films audiences are used to seeing are shot 24 frames per second. What does this mean? This higher frame rate produces smoother motion and a clearer image. I guess it’s like watching High Definition TV for the first time. Everything looks different. The friend I attended the film with commented that the make-up was more visible with this new film technique and he found that distracting. Most people are resistant to change. I have heard so much criticism towards Peter Jackson for introducing this new format. I do agree it is something to get used to, but for me it added to the fantastical world of Middle Earth. According to Entertainment Weekly “The Hobbit” will be released in a variety of formats: 48fps in 3D, 24 fps in 3D and old-fashioned 24fps in 2D. The 48fps version of The Hobbit will only be shown in 3D and will be limited to roughly 450 handpicked theaters nationwide.” I can go on and on about the technical aspects about the film, but I went to see the movie for the story. So I am going to tell you about the story.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) was quite content living in his comfy Hobbit Hole, until one day, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) shows up on his doorstep and asks him to join him on an adventure to reclaim Erebor, the lost Dwarf Kingdom. Gandalf explains there is also a horrendous dragon Smaug and he cannot guarantee that he will return alive from this journey. Bilbo refuses, saying adventures make one late for dinner. Slowly, one by one, 13 Dwarves show up at Bilbo’s doorstep, making themselves at home, eating his food, belching, and causing merry havoc. Their leader is the very strapping warrior, Thorin Oakenshield, (Richard Armitage) and he has no faith in Baggins, but Gandalf does, saying he gives him courage. Next we know Bilbo Baggins is jauntily sprinting out of his village and off on a journey.
The Dwarves and the Hobbit encounter creepy Goblins, horrendous Orcs, scary Wargs, and what I was dreading to see in 3-D, Giant Spiders. Thank you Peter Jackson, for your sense of suspense, showing us giant webs and only hints of shadows of arachnids outside a window, for the 10 years old me slept with her lights on after reading about these spiders in the book. So I am telling you if you do not like seeing creepy crawlies in 3-D, you will not be freaked out by this film. But there are epic battle scenes and more battle scenes and Dwarves in constant peril.
Gandalf believes in Baggins, but Thorin does not, telling another Dwarf that he doesn’t think Bilbo belongs with them, that he is in the way. Bilbo overhears this and starts to leave the group and along the way he runs into the brilliance that is Gollum (Andy Serkis). This is where The Hobbit finds his courage and he also finds the RING. This is my favorite scene in all of the film, Riddles in the Dark. I would love to get Gollum and his precious in the therapy room.. he is deliciously evil and yet sweet for a spilt second, like he’s your feeble great grandfather, but then in the next split second, you think he may tear you to pieces and eat you up.
There are more battles, and the Elfin Counsel complete with Saruman (Christopher Lee) the breathtaking Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and battles and more battles. Wait, where’s the dragon? Oh, yes, The Hobbit is going to be a trilogy, so there are at least 6 more hours of adventure to follow where we may see a dragon… and hopefully not Giant Spiders!!!
Sadly, I found the score to be very predictable and traditional. If you are going to present a film using this new amazing technology, why not spice up the music? My friend whispered to me during the screening, he wanted the bad guys to have heavy metal music as their backdrop. This suggestion had me hankering for some ACDC or Metallica to blast me out of my seat
Stepping out of your Hobbit Hole may do you some good. Bilbo discovers who he is, what he is capable of, and what it means to trust someone. What is home? Is it your comfy chair and Grandma’s table? Or is it friends that may be outcasts to the world, but to you, they are your family and they trust you to join them in life’s adventures and struggles, but may not be able to explain why