4.5 out of 5 stars
My task this week is to review one of the most highly acclaimed high fantasy stories to have graced the realms of literary imagination since the Phoenicians created their primitive form of the alphabet.
I speak, of course, of The Hobbit—written by J. R. R. Tolkien and published in 1937. The Hobbit was the first of the stories to come from Middle Earth, the fantasy realm where most of Tolkien’s stories took place. The Hobbit was also considered the prequel to the more well-known “Lord of the Ring” trilogy.
However, this is not a book review, or an itinerary of Tolkien’s other works. It is a review of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey—the major motion picture that was just unveiled on December 14, 2012.
The movie is set very similar to the book; it begins with the now famous phrase “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit…” and follows the story very closely, with a few minor discretions.
Those minor details are critical to my review. The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, is actually the first in an anticipated three part series of movies. As a result of this extended story, the producers are including stories and a character from Tolkien’s other works, such as the Silmarilion and the Lost Tales. This, in my opinion, is a brilliant idea.
The Unexpected Journey combines enough Tolkien lore to make the hardcore fans happy, but enough excitement and adventure to have the average movie goer blown away—which is pretty impressive, since the movie is two hours and forty six minutes long.
As far as the main cast, Martin Freeman makes an excellent hobbit and Ian McKellan always makes an awesome wizard, in real life and elsewhere. I absolutely adored the dwarves—the movie did an excellent job catching individual personalities, and given that there were thirteen of them altogether, is a very impressive feat.
And don’t get me started on the music. Tolkien’s poems and songs are regarded as masterpieces by many literary critics, but not one was featured in the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy, and the last recollection of them actually getting any airtime was in 1977, when the animated Hobbit came to theaters.
I would say the only complaint I can come up with for this movie is that I have to wait until December 13, 2013 to watch the sequel, the Desolation of Smaug.
Erick J. Fredendall