Just got back from seeing Part I of The Hobbit films.
The 48 rate frame speed is quite incredible, especially combined with 3D. It definitely does take around 10 minutes to get used to it, and the early scenes with the dwarves seem almost unreal and you wonder if it is CGI. But then when you get some NZ scenic shots, you realise how amazing it is.
The movie starts with a history of the dwarf kingdom under The Mountain and the coming of Smaug. You never see Smaug, just his tail and devastation. His full glory will be in Part II. The scenes of Erebor in its glory are amazing.
The Bag End scene is very faithful to the book, and a lot of fun. It did drag on a few minutes longer than necessary in my view, but overall the movie was well paced for what it got through in 140 minutes.
The troll scene was quite comic, and in fact there were many laughs during the movie – tinged with a bit of darkness.
The wargs were absolutely terrifying, and Jackson’s battle scenes remain unsurpassed.
Radagast the Brown was generally okay and funny, but I can see how one reviewer said he had a tinge of Jar Jar Binks about him. But they pulled him back just in time. His rabbit powered sleigh was absolute genius though. Radagast plays a key role in uncovering the growing evil at Dol Goldur, which will be a major aspect of Part III I am sure.
The dwarves are difficult to distinguish at times, despite their physical differences. The best guide to their different personalities is actually in the Air NZ monthly magazine.
Saruman and Galadriel play minor roles which add little, but help set up Part III also. Azog makes a great baddy, and you see how Thorin got the name Oakenshield.
The highlights are the scenes in the Misty Mountains. Great battle and running scenes. Barry Humphries excels as the Great Goblin and Andy Serkis captures Golum in all his complexity. I especially like it where Bilbo spares Gollum’s life, as this is so significant later on.
Seven of us viewed it, and everyone loved it. Can’t wait for Part II which will have a lot of action also – Beorn, Wood Elves, Giant Spiders, Bard and Smaug.