I’ve been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien nearly all my life. One of my earliest memories was my dad reading The Lord of the Rings to me. I would sit on the arm of his old red chair as my father brought to life the story of Frodo and the ring. When I heard that movies were going to be made, I was very excited. While there were parts of the story left out in The Lord of the Rings movies, I loved all three and saw each one several times in the theater.
Peter Jackson did a great job of bringing Middle Earth to life with The Lord of the Rings, so I was psyched to see what he could do with The Hobbit. I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D, in 48 fps and I was not disappointed.
The movie had stunning visuals. With the 48 fps, it almost felt like I was in the movie. The extra frames per second was a bit jumpy in several parts of the movie. But overall, I could tell the difference with the faster frame rate, which made it even more defined than just normal 3D.
With the 3D visuals, the rolling hills of the Shire were immediately striking. The battle scenes put the viewer right into the action. For example, when the wargs were chasing after the party, there were close-ups on the warg’s face and it made me it feel as if I was the one being chased up a tree. And when the party is captured by the goblins, I felt like I was also there under the mountain surrounded by the hoards.
The Hobbit is a lighter story and has a great deal of humor in it, unlike LotR. The movie is the same, especially centered around Martin Freeman as Bilbo. His expressions alone caused me to roar with laughter as he tries to deal with the invasion of the Dwarves in his hobbit hole.
There are more laughs in the sequence when everyone is captured by the trolls and Bilbo must talk his way out of being eaten. Even during the riddle game with Gollum, the humor remains. Freeman was a perfect choice for Bilbo.
The last time I read The Hobbit was a while back, so I was a little fuzzy on the details of the story. The movie seemed to be very faithful to the book but there were obviously some scenes added to the movie, such as the Rivendell sequences that included both Galadriel and Saruman. As noted in the appendixes of the LotR stories, Saruman tries to put the breaks on Gandalf’s work. And there’s a short original scene between Galadriel and Gandalf where she supports his decisions and encourages him to continue.
There was quite a bit of foreshadowing of the events that will happen in the LotR trilogy, but it also worked well in the course of this movie.
While the journey represents the physical one that the dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf take to the Lonely Mountain, we also see Bilbo’s emotional journey as he finds out who he truly is inside, which is the heart of the story. Even though there are two more movies to go, Bilbo is transformed from a homebody to someone who is willing to risk his own life to save another’s. This is a story of hope and trying to find your way home.
I would highly recommend everyone to see The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. It is a wonderful adaption that I think really captures Tolkien’s story. I would also recommend seeing in 3D with the new 48 fps because it makes the movie so amazingly beautiful, even more so than regular 3D.