Director: Peter Jackson
Studio: NewLine Cinema
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 169 minutes
Released: November 2012
2D tickets bought at Cineworld, Cardiff
This is the third and final in a 3-part super post in line with Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit. Wednesday was my list of things to do while you wait for the movie, and yesterday was my review of The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith.
A movie that needs no introduction, but I'll have a go anyway. Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) finds his world turned upside down after the arrival of Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and a company of dwarfs led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). The dwarfs convince Bilbo to accompany them on a quest to reclaim their stolen treasure and take back the ancient dwarf city of Erebor.
I deliberately didn't go to see The Hobbit in 3D or in 48 fps. After the initial reviews slating how fake everything looked with the new technology, I decided to go old-school. The visuals were stunning; the same calibre that Jackson spearheaded when he made Lord of the Rings. The sets and vistas were epic, and the quality of the digital creations was brilliant (there was only one instance when the CG looked out of place when we see a glimpse of Smaug's tail at the beginning, but that's it).
Martin Freeman did a fantastic job as Bilbo, and played the part of awkward layabout-turned-hero with a passive-aggressive shyness that only the British can master. The dwarfs were all well played, though having such a large cast meant that it was very difficult to remember all of their names. There was a great moment towards the beginning where the dwarfs go from partying at Bilbo's expense to their suddenly sombre "Misty Mountains Cold"; the cinema suddenly went completely silent and people stopped moving to they could hear the haunting song. The best performance from the dwarfs was from Bofur (James Nesbitt), whose sarcasm and blunt nature only makes things worse for Bilbo's nerves.
The Hobbit rings in at not much shy of 3 hours long, which is what we now expect from Jackson's Middle Earth endeavours. There was a lull when the company visit Rivendell that could have been shortened, but I found that there was enough action to keep the momentum. Jackson has also managed to keep a lot of the light humour that made The Hobbit book accessible to children; I never heard an audience laugh out loud during Lord of the Rings, but there were plenty of them here.
The Hobbit is an excellent beginning to the story, and well worth a second viewing. I can't vouch for the fancy-pants 48fps, but it does an excellent job of showing you the wonders of Middle Earth and the adventures of its inhabitants. I plan on seeing it again very soon.