The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — A Review with Spoilers

Some of you have been wondering about my absence. It’s a two-fold issue. There is a lot going on with my family and my business. It’s all good, but it’s time consuming. I also had to step away from The Hobbit full court press machine in order to preserve enjoyment of the movie. That’s not a knock on the PR. I understand they had to do it for the general public who hasn’t been following along. But with over two years of immersing myself in information about it and then going to New York and being bombarded by its presence, I knew the movie would be ruined for me if I didn’t step out of the fray.

Okay, enough of my excuses for not being here, I’m ready to review this puppy. Unfortunately, I suck at analysis of movies and books, so I will be deferring to SO for most of this.

We saw the 48fps 3D version. Honestly, I loved this version. It was very clear but not in a buffoonish way as was suggested about 48fps 2D. Most noticeable to me is I came away without the slight headache and nausea I usually get from 3D. With the negative space severely restricted in the higher frame rate, my eyes were not continually straining to focus, and it made for a very pleasant experience. So I think 48fps as the basis for 3D is a big win and here to stay for those who will take the time to try it.

Our 12 year old and one of her buddies went with us, and thankfully, they sat at the very back so we could perhaps escape being subjected to their muffled giggles and their incessant need to go to the restroom. Such is the life of middle school girls. Oy. Despite my sometimes distraction by the two girls, I enjoyed the movie. Mostly, I wanted to know what SO thought since he’s the writer, he’s the movie connoisseur,and he hadn’t been biased by an avalanche of information about The Hobbit!

We had not even reached the exit door after the movie was over when SO announced with a surprised grin, “I really liked that!”

I cut my eyes at him and wanted an explanation, “Really? What did you like about it?”

“It was fun!”

After all of the time talking on and off about The Hobbit, I was hoping for a bit more from him. He continued, “Yeah, it was fun. I was 12 again, and I loved the adventure.”

“So nothing beyond it being an adventure?” I asked still hoping for an examination from him. C’mon give me something I was thinking.

He said, “Well, it was too long, but then that’s Peter Jackson, and I’m sure he has an eye toward people watching this at one sitting when the series is out on DVD. Something to be savored over and over. Isn’t that what Ringers do?”

Yeah, it is. “But why do you think it was too long?” I persisted.

“The whole Frodo part was extraneous. The time in Bilbo’s house with the dwarves was also too long and too much singing. They should have kept it to one song and then sung the one about the mountains later. But then that may just be me.”

I had felt the song was out of place as well, but I was curious about his thinking. “Why do you think the singing was a problem?”

“It did little to develop the characters or the story. I knew it was supposed to move me, but it did not. When I read the book about a hundred years ago, I didn’t care for the singing then either. It seemed disjointed from the rest of the story. A bit lame. At least that’s how I remember it. As I think of the movie now, part of the problem was that your guy was not developed enough for me to really get the significance of the Misty Mountain song. I did notice the other dwarves were in awe of him when he came to Bilbo’s door, but that wasn’t really enough to show me why they were in awe. Yes, he was the leader, but all I knew of him was he was a deposed prince and angry at the Elves for not helping his people. What in all of that should generate awe? What made the audience really care to know about him? It wasn’t until Balin told more of Thorin’s past and the maiming of the Pale Orc that I understood he was a badass who deserved the reverence from the others. This should have been near the beginning.

The Badass Dwarf

The Badass Dwarf

“And of course none of this is Richard Armitage’s fault. I think he did a good job, but the writing failed there.”

I was stunned. Not by his breaking down the story but at the use of Richard Armitage’s real name. LOL!

He continued, “Then again, Peter Jackson was slow to develop Aragorn, and your guy [yeah, I noticed Richard no longer had a name. :D] is very much like that character in the sense that he is really the Man as it became evident that Aragorn was the Man.”

“But what about Bilbo?” I asked.

“Sure, he’s the physical conscience whereas Gandalf is the spiritual conscience, but the story is about Thorin. He is ultimately the center of this piece. And I did not realize how much Armitage was going to be the central character in this movie. This is Thorin’s story! I guess I kept thinking about the last thing I saw with him — a five minute bit in Captain America and didn’t realize he was essentially going to have the starring role in The Hobbit.”

“Oh, but he’s not the star!” I corrected.

SO laughed, “Yeah, right. Although he didn’t have many lines in this segment, he’s going to be Aragorn at the end. Hide and watch.”

“But the story isn’t the same as the Lord of the Rings,” I said still trying to set him straight.

“No, it’s not, but Thorin is an Aragorn in the sense of the pivotal character.”

I agreed with everything he said and was compelled to keep asking questions, “What did you like best about the movie?”

“Too much to narrow it down, but the ending was fantastic. I’m ready for the next installment.”

“Wow. You really did like it.”

“Yes, I did.”

I have more thoughts about it, but I’ve added it to another post. For now, just know that the movie was worth $12.50 a person, and more important the almost three hours investment of time.

And the biggest plus to me personally is SO now wants to watch other pieces with Richard Armitage. Thank you, Peter Jackson. :D

15 Comments

  1. Here in Ontario, Canada we had to pay $17.50 for 3D at IMAX 24fps. But still worth every penny. My SO, The Writer, really enjoyed it as well and was impressed by RA. And that’s saying something because, like your SO, mine is probably a little tired of the RA details I throw at him. He’s a good sport. Very important in a SO.

    Cheers and have a great day!

  2. I also shared my husband’s perspective–in his case, as a non-Tolkien fan who humors me in my RA obsession–in my review. We both agreed the film was just too long. More editing, PJ, please!

    But I doubt that’s going to happen. Still wish it was only two movies, as much as I love Thorin. And I agree–in many ways, he’s THE star of the film. If I had any doubts RA could be a compelling big screen presence, they were completely erased. You really cannot take your eyes off that man.

    I could have done without the Blunt the Knives song but loved Misty Mountain. But your husband’s argument it should have been later in the film makes total sense, too.

  3. Long movies are one of Peter Jackson’s trademarks, it was never not going to be long, and there will be an extended edition of course lol. I didn’t pay anything to see it in 48fps 3d but I did also pay £13.50 to see it in 24 fps 3d.

  4. I think spouse and I got a bargain. We paid matinee discount of only $10 per ticket to see if in HFR 3D. It will probably cost me almost that much to see it at local theatre in plain old 2D. Oh, I I think hubby will run kicking and screaming before he watches extended edition. LOL

  5. I think the best lines in this entire review are your very last 2 sentences.

    :-D

    #Fistbump to your SO.

  6. I also found that the HFR 3D format agrees with me. I usually opt for 2D since I get diziness and cannot focus properly with normal 3D (I hated Avatar).

    The only bit that I found overlong was Rivendell. I actually found the prolouge being too short on first viewing since it is the foundation for the three films.

    I love the serious part of Bag End – the Balin/Thorin dialogue into Misty Mountains. For me the timing is perfect. The dwarven song seduces Bilbo into going onto the quest.

  7. My husband loved it too and this is definitely not his genre by a long shot. He loved the fighting sequences but, his favorite was the hug-it-out between Thorin and Biblo. Awww, shucks. He is def in like Flynn the next segment and even said he would go again. He def is onto the Armitage appreciation as Spooks was his gateway ‘drug’. Another dude joins the AA ;). RA is going to be huge….and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

  8. There’s definitely a difference between those who have read/studied/truly lurved the book and those who wanted the movie to do the work telling them a mostly unknown (to them) story. I don’t think anything is wrong with either camp, but I can see where PJ had to walk a fine line balancing between the two. Pretty tough to please all of the people all of the time. I thought he did an excellent job trying to do it.
    Not convinced it should take two more movies to finish the story, but I don’t see myself complaining about anything in future except the long wait between releases.

  9. I agree that PJ had to try to please the Hobbit fans and people who were just there for an adventure. I liked both songs and the movie seemed just the right length. I was surprised by how quickly the time passed.

  10. Thanks for the review! I’m going to see it as soon as I’m able.

  11. Brace yourselves, I’ve got a few things to say – having missed chiming in on thsi blog for, well almost every. I just got back from seeing The Hobbit and was to say the least – totally sucked in. After having watched the LOTR trilogy (to death) I can’t imagine any movie depicting these books, books that were so detailed and specific, being anything but long – and that’s ok with me. The question I would love to put to PJ is that if he had to do it over would he have make each LOTR book 2 movies? Having seen this one I think perhaps the answer would lean to the yes – or at least 1 and 1/2 movies each. But enough about the past, lets talk Hobbit. I think that the best thing that PJ did was not assume that just because so many movie goers are familiar with Middle Earth; if not the exact characters of The Hobbit, he took the time to recreate Middle Earth for anyone that might be seeing it for the first time. All the characters are new whether you had seen the other movies or not. All the characters being introduced for the first time. While there is always a scene, a moment, a speech or song that someone feels is to long and would benefit from more harsh editing I applaud him for giving the same care and attention to ensuring that The Hobbit was its own story and not just a return to a place we assume that people know. As for Richard Armitage – no voice, no piercing baby blues, no stern look could played such a hardened leader as Thorin. Each dwarf had his own character but I have renewed appreciation of RA’s talent and depth and truly believe that Thorin Oakenshield would be a dwarf that anyone could follow and call king. As for the song – for myself they served the same purpose for me that they did for Bilbo…the one at Bag End showed him that nothing (not even his mothers dishes) are so serious or precious that they can’t be handled with a nod to the whimsical (lets face it – dwarves (as a people) must have a huge sense of humour to embrace those hairdos; and the Misty Mountain song was to show that every place is steeped in legend and history to those that long for it. So those are my deep thoughts about the movie…and in the words of my friend, who has never seen an LOTR movie, read The Hobbit or heard of Richard Armitage…can we buy tickets for the second movie NOW! Well I’m off to watch anything with RA in it and read The Hobbit yet again. If any of you are in Calgary – drop me a line, I’ll even stand you the price of a ticket to see it again.

  12. So glad your SO enjoyed the film too, Frenz! :D

  13. […] campfire maybe as they were marching off into the gorgeous New Zealand mountains!  I concur with Frenz’s SO’s evaluation that it was too much singing at one time.  Just sayin’.  But I love that song and that the […]

  14. My hubby also refers to RA as “your guy”. Men!
    But I love Thorin being called The Badass Dwarf So true

  15. […] I may go skiing, and I may go see The Hobbit again. It occurred to me I was tense about SO‘s take on the movie and couldn’t really enjoy it like I wanted. So back to the movies without him. Until then, […]


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