They said that The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) would be difficult, near impossible to bring to the silver screen, but three motion pictures, a couple of good fan films, award winning games and a fan base of loyal films later and The Hobbit has transpired as a new trilogy.
Based on the children’s book, the story follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he is brought into a dwarf plan to reclaim an ancient dwarf mountain domain that is currently occupied by a big, bad dragon called Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Along for the ride are thirteen dwarves led by the warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and a wizard (Ian McKellen) that will play a larger more decisive part in the war of the ring sixty years down the line.
On their adventure the company runs into a band of trolls who want to eat them for dinner, they meet the elves at Rivendell, get caught by the goblins of the misty mountains and Bilbo has his first confrontation with a creature called Gollum (Andy Serkis), who seems to have misplaced his precious.
…recurring characters poke out throughout…
The film is glorious in its scale. It slots perfectly in with the LOTR trilogy as all of the sets seem to be rebuilt. There are subtle changes that keep the film fresh, but recurring characters poke out throughout and link to the future that we have already seen. And that’s where the fun of the film comes from. The Hobbit as a novel is fine, but Peter Jackson has taken the stories that are happening at the time and expanded them, making The Hobbit much, much more than a quest to reclaim a mountain.
Building the film up to a trilogy is no easy task, but Jackson does this by accommodating the appendixes of other Tolkien related works and adding them in. For instance the wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) realises that Mirkwood is under a spell cast by dark magic’s and goes to investigate. Not only was this part of the story frightening, but points to a future that includes the Rise of Sauron, the primary antagonist in the LOTR. His discoveries take him to Gandalf and the white council where Saruman (Christopher Lee), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Elrond (Hugo Weaving) debate the return of the greatest evil.
…it makes it seem as though you are watching a home-made fan film…
It really is very good.
The film however, has its faults. The CGI is impressive as many actors were made to look younger by new techniques, but with the new frame speed that the film is premièring it makes it seem as though you are watching a home-made fan film rather than a cinematic masterpiece. At points the action looks sped up, but it is just the new camera technology. Unfortunately my friend left the cinema feeling a little dizzy and he wasn’t the only one.
…replaced with CGI capture technology…
Another fault lies in the villains who seem to have been replaced with CGI capture technology rather than the impressive special effects make up used in the LOTR. This showed the film to be apart and maybe that’s the reason, but why create the great goblin (played amazingly by Barry Humphries) when the actor who plays him looks like a goblin anyway?
…a rabbit powered sled…
Overall the film is gorgeous in its depiction of a nicer time in the LOTR universe. With characters we’ve already seen popping up and a fine cast of actors portraying the band of dwarves; the film is a nice treat for the whole family.
At a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes do make sure you go to the toilet before sitting down to watch it, lest you miss out on all the Tolkien-esque eye candy, a hedgehog called Sebastian and orcs versus a rabbit powered sled. Yes it’s that great.