It took some time for Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson to return to Middle Earth, but the wait was very much worth it. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
starts off by playing strongly to its links to the previous adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings
trilogy, before setting off on an adventure of its own.
The first of three films based on The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey isn't a fast film to get going, but it does spent quality time introducing its key characters. Most moviegoers are more than familiar with Sir Ian McKellen's Gandalf of course, but the collection of dwarves and Martin Freeman's take on Bilbo Baggins are all brought together, and the adventure ensues. It's a journey that's punctuated by terrifically orchestrated action sequences, a swirling score, and lavish production design.
Furthermore, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has one or two real standout moments contained within its running time, not least when we finally get reunited with Gollum. The sequence where Bilbo Baggins and Gollum come face to face is as good as anything Jackson put on screen in the Lord Of The Rings films. And while The Hobbit doesn't quite capture the magic of the earlier trilogy often enough, there's a lot here to enjoy, and plenty left to look forward to. It's beautifully, beautifully presented on disc, too. --Jon Foster
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The trilogy of films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever...Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities; a simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.