The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

December 15th, 2012 at 9:39 pm by David Farrar

Just got back from seeing Part I of 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.

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13 Responses to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

  1. Warren Murray (313 comments) says:

    Loved it. Screen play well written in fleshing out the story in the book, expanding on the role of Radagast, how Thorin got the Oakenshield tag. Quite liked how the Company were captured by the goblins.

    Loved it, didn’t find it overlong at all.

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  2. Tom B (55 comments) says:

    I really like the HFR too and I can’t fathom how some people seem to hate it so much – it’s as if they are seeing a different movie entirely. The only parts which looked a bit fake to me were when the camera would pan around with the near ground scenery pulled out in 3d – the backdrops often looked really flat and artificial. But I’m not sure if that’s 3d of HFR.

    Not up there with any of the three LOTR movies but a great time nonetheless.

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  3. RRM (10,009 comments) says:

    So looking forward to this.

    I have no objection whatsoever to movies on a massive canvas that go for 3 + hours. The whole reason I go see one is escapism!

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  4. Dazzaman (1,145 comments) says:

    Childs movie I suspect, like the LOTR’s….Jackson’s overrated.

    Till he makes something truly epic like Zulu, you know it had real awesome battle scenes, then he might be worth the hype.

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  5. justinian (21 comments) says:

    The back stories were well portrayed – the Kingdom of Eerebor was one, and the reference to Smaug as the greatest of catastrophes is a perfect description and Tolkien cannot be excelled in such a description. The Battle of Azanulbizar (LOTR Appendix A Part III) is brilliant although Azog ended up after that with his head on a spike – rather than limping off with one arm. But hey, we need a really serious villain, so why not.
    For me the arrival at Rivendell was a lump in the throat moment – the mixture of sound and vision is perfect. And Galadriel is clearly a High Elf, dwelling between the physical and spiritual realms – wonderfully realised by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson. Liv Tyler was good as Arwen, but Blanchett is truly majestic.
    Roll on the next one.

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  6. RF (1,448 comments) says:

    Tom B. 10.08am

    In answer to your question how some people seem to hate it so much. easy.. They would be Hobbit Haters !!!

    Looking forward to seeing it.

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  7. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Tom B. and RF, I agree that it’s surprising reviewers are generally negative about the show. Even the venerable Economist magazine gave it a review that was not at all favourable, calling the film an Unexpected Disappointment: http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2012/12/new-film-hobbit

    I don’t recall reviews of the three Lord of the Rings films being reviewed so. But does any one have a better memory about them?

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  8. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    Just saw it this morning. Loved it. Beautifully crafted, links back to LOTR were fun and fit well, possibly dragged a bit at times, but only a bit. Eye candy everywhere. A great experience. Martin Freeman is brilliant.

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  9. Sean (301 comments) says:

    Saw it today, not in 3d or 48fps, so just the actual movie to go on. It was ok. I though Jackson was making a movies of the book called the Hobbit but it turns out it is an adaptation of some parts of several books with some of the characters from each. A competent film but nothing great.

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  10. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Tom B:I really like the HFR too and I can’t fathom how some people seem to hate it so much – it’s as if they are seeing a different movie entirely.

    Its possible that they don’t see things – literally – as you do. The human visual system is complex. Besides major differences like colour-blindness there is a lot of more subtle variation too.

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  11. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @Dazzaman – re fusion-nz website – 1995 called, and they want their look and feel back.

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  12. kiwi in america (2,508 comments) says:

    Saw it tonight – was fantastic and made my Kiwi heart swell with pride – what a stunning showcase of Godzone!

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  13. Dazzaman (1,145 comments) says:

    @seanmaitland….you’ll never make the AB’s by just running fast. Finesse & skill boy, finesse & skill…

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