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
THE HOBBIT EXTENDED ED DVD