367 of 449 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King Returns
Since Sir Peter Jackson's last foray into Middle Earth, he's created the fantastic (King Kong) and the fantastically awful (The Lovely Bones), and now we're back and it's like we never left. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)... they've aged like elves - not a day. Tonally this is breezier than the Lord of...
Published 12 months ago by R. J. Harvey
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overcooked?
Having adored Tolkien's book 70 years ago, I expected to be dubious about the film version - and I am! The joy of the book was its freshness and the economy of the story telling. To expand it into three films is a recipe for disaster. But one should not ignore the cleverness of the effects, or the skill of the actors. My gripe is that the lightness of touch has been...
Published 6 months ago by Ann Shearer
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5.0 out of 5 stars "Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo" - a bright star shines indeed on our meeting with this new great, wonderful adventure...,
1. A successful combination of great fidelity to Tolkien's vision with some skilful alterations. In second part of LOTR ("Two Towers") Peter Jackson allowed himself some very considerable liberties with the characters of king Theoden of Rohan and captain Faramir of Gondor, and as a consequence he harmed this one part of his great trilogy. He clearly learned his lesson and in this film, even if there are some differences between the scenario and the original book, those modifications were done with a great skill, good taste and in deep respect with the general vision contained in Tolkien's books in general.
Amongst those successful modifications are a greater development of the story of Smaug's coming to Erebor, of dwarves wanderings and their wars with Orcs from Moria (those last elements are taken from original annexes to "Lord of the Rings") and a larger inclusion of scary and extremely creepy Dol Guldur fortress (which is only briefly mentioned in the book). There is also a longer and more dramatic chapter devoted to Great Goblin's caves, a brief but impressive look at stone giants (creatures only suggested in Tolkien's lore) and last but not least, some real screen time devoted to Radagast the Brown, an extremely odd but very, very attaching character. Radagast also shows in this film that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with and not just a sidekick - although, as Saruman venomously suggests it, he also appears to be all the time "tripping on 'shrooms"...)))
There is also more place devoted to the White Council (with Saruman, Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf present and Radagast and Cirdan absent) and those passages come in fact from the annexes to LOTR rather than from "Hobbit" itself. Finally, even if many good jokes are included, the general tone of this film is more serious than in the book, with the dwarves being a little less comically represented and their leader, prince Thorin Oakenshield, being a much more impressive character, conserving a very great dignity and majesty even when being stuffed in a troll's bag...)))
Finally, the leader of Moria Orcs at the time of dwarves expedition is still Azog the Defiler rather than his son Bolg - but I forgive willingly Peter Jackson this change, as Azog is a really IMPRESSIVE creature! On another hand, and this is one of the very few things I found a little objectionnable, Orcs seem to not fear sunlight in this film (Goblins of Misty Mountains on another hand still fear the light of the day) - but after all it is a rather minor thing.
As you can see Peter Jackson changed the story for the needs of his "Hobbit" trilogy, but he did it with the greatest care and by showing this time the greatest respect to the general spirit of Tolkien's works.
2. A great mastery of the visual aspect of the film. The images of Middle Earth are breath-taking, the creatures (good and evil) are excellent and the costumes and weaponry simply perfect.
3. Gollum; All the chapter about Bilbo's meeting with Gollum is pure perfection and in this film we finally can realise how REALLY DANGEROUS this creature is!
4. Tom Troll, William Troll and Bert Troll. Hilarious and scary in the same time, their moment in the film is simply a treasure.
5. Goblins of the Misty Mountains. In this film we have a real insight into goblin's government (tyranny), administration (anarchy), strategy (mostly blunt force trauma) and communications, although the little pearl about this last point, you will have to discover by yourself...)))
6. Dwarves/elves mutual cultural shock - one of the best scenes of the film...)))
7. Music. It mostly uses the same themes than in LOTR (ex. Shire theme, Rivendell theme, Ring theme, Company theme, etc.) which gives a familiar feeling of continuity, with just enough new elements to underline the fact that we are in a different chapter of Tolkien's tales.
8. Action scenes - they are many and of excellent quality, thanks to some modifications of the story by Peter Jackson (see above). They help also to set a rather fast rhythm of events, once the initial Shire chapter is concluded. If you think that to make a trilogy out of "The Hobbit" Peter Jackson had to drag things and slow the events, well, think again... This is a reasonably long film but I didn't feel the time pass.
9. Actors. Unlike in LOTR II "Two Towers" (when he seriously blundered by casting Miranda Otto as Eowyn), in this film Peter Jackson didn't commit any mistakes in the choice of actors. Martin Freeman is more than perfect in his interpretation of Bilbo - for me, after two minutes, he WAS Bilbo. All right, OK, maybe they just should have given him ten pounds more around the waist in the first part of the trilogy, but this is just a detail. Ian McKellen is of course perfect as Gandalf. Richard Armitage as Thorin is THE revelation of this film. Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee are of course brilliant - and Cate Blanchett swept me of my feet in this film (something that didn't happen in the LOTR...).
The one objection I could have is that I didn't quite picture Balin, the friendliest of dwarves, as being that old - but this is a very minor detail.
10. Clever little details of the scenario. Peter Jackson put in the scenario some little but significant details which explain better some important questions, like why did Gandalf wanted SO MUCH to help Thorin Oakenshield in his quest and why exactly did he choose precisely Bilbo Baggins as the "burglar" for the Company. Those little details didn't figure in the book, but they are VERY faithful to the spirit of Tolkien's story - and it is a very precious thing...
CONCLUSION: Since attacking the LOTR Peter Jackson learned a lot in last 10 years and he put all this experience to good use in "The Hobbit" - and the result is immediately visible on the screen. This film is on the same very high level of quality as LOTR I and III and BETTER than LOTR II. In some aspects he even did a better job than in LOTR, because here he had to manage a Company larger than the Fellowship of the Ring (15 characters instead of 9) - and he succeeded very, very well indeed. I loved this film and I cannot wait to see "The desolation of Smaug".
44 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad adaptation, but not brilliant,
On the plus side, the scene from the book where three trolls debate the best way to eat thirteen dwarves and a hobbit is genuinely hilarious, and the riddle scene with Gollum is very nicely done. But the adaptation could have been better.
26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars will perhaps be better judged later, but not by me.,
In LOTR we had the structure of the fellowship equally divided between the hobbits, the elf, the dwarf, the men, and the wizard, but the individual characters in the Hobbit are not fleshed out or distinctive yet, though they may each come into their own in the following parts of the trilogy. There are simply too many of them, but I felt the book suffered for this too, so this is not a fault of Peter Jackson's, because he would have been heavily criticised by the luvvies if he had chosen to cut the number of dwarves down to a more manageable number which would have made it easier to focus on individuals. Cutting it to seven would have been ideal, but Disney got there first with Snow White.
The movie does not follow the book exactly but i won't go into spoiling details, just to mention that characters and scenes that exist elsewhere are added here, though are not in the Hobbit book. Some of the additions will be extremely popular as they harken back to LOTR,reintroduce some well-loved characters and give some added depth and seriousness to the tone of the film. Nothing seems out of place.The set designs are incredible and the visual style matches LOTR and the script has some obvious echoes in structure and style, and it's almost at times as though some key lines were lifted from the LOTR at certain moments and inserted into this script, to maintain the link between the two stories, even though they were not part of the book.Those who know LOTR will recognise these moments immediately.
BUT BUT BUT,this should have been a one movie story and not the first part of a trilogy. We needed pace not padding but this is clearly written with dollar signs in the eyes of the makers.
Where the Hobbit absolutely falls short for me is when we see several scenes of extreme danger and destruction even greater than in LOTR and almost not a scratch on any of the heroes follows as a result. It is inconceivable that they would all escape the things they escape in this movie,and this tends to result from scenes that have been added that were not in the book. Yes the scenes add drama and imagination, but sooner or later we need to go back to the book and at that point in the book they were all still alive because they hadn't faced those kinds of dangers. Bilbo waves his sword like an idiot and cannot fight to save his life, but when it suits the story he suddenly becomes able and heroic and fights off a wild savage beast far bigger than himself. In LOTR there was never the feeling of any character suddenly being able to exceed his abilities,and so each film was grounded all the way in believability. I found the first part of the Hobbit didnt match the LOTR in this level of credibility and we are left just having to assume that everyone will always get away no matter what is thrown at them, and a certain level of tension is lost as a result. Unfortunately for the Hobbit, it has to follow standards of excellence in LOTR so high that they will be hard pushed to beat on any level.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hobbit.Unexpected Journey.3D disc problem,solved,
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)Providing you have all the correct cables in place and your other discs play ok,the most probable answer is a firmware update to your blueray player as mentioned in the hobbit forum..Having received my 3d disc as a birthday present (bought from amazon),like many others i was gutted when playing it,only to find it unwatchable on fast moving sequences.Slow parts great,but come to any fast moving bits,and WOW!blurred,one frame seemingly layered badly over another,motion sickness or what.Disk in hand,over to my friends house,slipped the disk into his samsung blueray,pressed play,and guess what,perfect.Mmm!That rules a faulty disk out. picked a ethernet cable up,plugged it into my LG player,other end in router went to setup on player,scrolled to updates,pressed ok and let it do it,s stuff.Dont touch it unless it asks for an ok and when it,s finished after a few minutes.player shuts down then reboots itself.Put the disk back in (player asks you to take it out)and hey presto PERFECT! Just for info,Ihave a LG tv and aLG player both only 12months old so quite suprised that updates are required already,but hey! thats the world we live in.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hobbit - DVD,
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better then the Book?,
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)Before Tolkien fans start crying heresy I would urge everyone to reread the book before commenting. I have and whilst the book is still a good read at heart it is still more of a children's book and written in an appropriate style and light on characterisation.
Peter Jackson has breathed greater depth into the characters, provided more layered motivation and emotional depth and created a stronger link with the Lord of the Rings which fills in the gaps between the two books and also Gandalf's experiences when he is missing from the Hobbit. Hopefully the future parts of the trilogy will deal with some of the gaps referred to in the Lord of the Rings. This is important because when it comes to the books you can read the Hobbit and have a complete tale without reading the Lord of the Rings, but you can't fully appreciate the Lord of the Rings without first having read the Hobbit.
The reverse problem Peter Jackson has is that almost all of those who see the Hobbit will have seen the Lord of the Rings and therefore there needs to be more linkage between the two sets of films.
That's the backdrop but what about the film itself and why in some ways is it better than the book?
The book never really sets the scene with regards to the history of Erebor and the dwarves are painted more as adventurers after treasure, but the film provides more emotional depth and historical backdrop which is summed up when Bilbo explains that yes he is homesick, but he has a home whereas the dwarves have none and he is prepared to help them win back their home. It's a poignant and emotive part of the film made all the stronger because of the earlier depiction of the fall of Erebor and the the loss of the Dwarves home and their failure to find a new home in Moria.
You can tell that Peter Jackson has really thought through some of the other small details and has taken a more layered and realistic approach then in the book. If nothing else Middle Earth has always been depicted as a formal place. Even the Hobbit is referred to as 'Mister' Baggins and Lords and Kings are given due deference and everyone is by now conscious of the issues relating to Stewards and Kings in Gondor, but one thing that doesn't ring true in the book given this backdrop is Thorin Oakenshield's arrival with a bundle of other dwarves falling on the floor as they arrive at Bilbo's house. The collapsing group of dwarves still features but Thorin, heir to a the great dwarf kings of Durins line arrives on his own and last of all - and that's a much more realistic depiction. Jackson has also introduced a number of other nice touches - the reasons why Thorin has the name Oakenshield; the back story to the Necromancer and the behind the scenes discussions of the White Council that take place 'offstage' in the book. Radagast never appears in the book, but has a prominent role in the film which again creates more linkage with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Martin Freeman makes a great Blbo with a combination of humour, enthusiasm and a frisson of fear that is true to the book and in only one film has become a more three dimensional character than was achieved with Frodo over three films. Richard Armitage has brought to the screen a magnificent rendition of Thorin that is so much more than the one dimensional character in the book. The Thorin in the film is clearly noble in intent, wants to do the best for his people, has a core of sadness for what happened to his home and his line and a massive hate for the Orcs who slew his kin. He is flawed, but you can immediately understand when Balin describes the battle before the gates of Moria and says that when Thorin rallied his people Balin felt that he had found someone worthy to follow; someone who he could call king.
And as always with Peter Jackson's Middle Earth the battle scenes are epic; the Orcs are suitably vile; the monsters are on a grand scale and the spiders are scary.
I was in two minds whether to buy this film given some of the comments I had heard and like many people I was cynical about the need to create another trilogy with such a short book. So if anything I started watching the Hobbit with a negative mind set, but it quickly won me over for all the reasons outlined above. If the other two films are anywhere near as good as this first part of the trilogy it will be a fantastic triumph.
Having reread the book I really do believe that this film is better than the equivalent part of the book.
This is a five star film and I think JRR Tolkien would have very much approved and applauded Peter Jackson's innovations.
21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hobbit - I liked it,
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)The one thing I liked about this particular product was the fact it was region free BD. so I got it earlier than regular release in Oz.
Because I'm a fan of everything Tolkien/Jackson, I even "splashed" on metal box. Oh well. It's cute.
But the movie itself is a delight. Yes, it's not as epic and soaring as LoTR but then "Hobbit" was meant for younger audience. The humour is more slapstick but there is greatness too. Thorin Oakenshield delivers plenty of it. I'm not sure Martin Freeman agrees, but he was born to play Bilbo. He is so believable and you just cannot help but be charmed by him. The scene of Bilbo sparing Gollum's life was chest- tightening. Peter Jackson is an absolute master to get actors express emotion that resonates with viewers. You know, my husband has dementia, but he so totally got it, I cried. And he hasn't read a book.
Baddies didn't disappoint either. Orcs and wargs are as menacing as ever and the Goblin king, oh dear. Whoever came up with that chin? Stuff of nightmares.
Look, I'm not going into the storieline. Surely, this movie will delight devotees as well as first timers. There is energy and fun and suspense enough to sweep you along. Just check it out.
Can't wait for the next installement.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It gets you right here...,
Not a nasty smelly dirty house, but a pleasant little semi in Belfast.
In this house, an eight-year-old boy is being tucked in to bed by his father. The father asks if the boy would like to hear a story. The boy nods happily and the father opens a copy of 'The Hobbit'...
Years later, this arrived through my door and was in the DVD player before the postman was out the gate. Strange that the postie carried a staff and wore a tall blue (and slightly battered) hat...
Within five minutes of starting the DVD I was transported back to my bedroom 29 years ago, tears of nostalgia clouding my eyes. My dad was reading softly and the amazing story which shaped a large part of my life began once more...
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tiny book, huge over-stuffed film.,
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)`The Hobbit' is one of the first books I read and then immediately re-read (seven times) many, many years ago as a child and was my introduction to Middle Earth and the whole Fantasy genre. I was somewhat dubious about how Peter Jackson would interpret what is, essentially, a 240'ish page children's book; how would he turn this simple little tale into three epic films?
The answer is... by adding loads of stuff that doesn't happen, pointless action sequences and messing about unnecessarily with things that do happen just to add a bit of cinematic impact. The result is, effectively, the opposite of `The Lord of the Rings' where Jackson again messed about a bit with events and left out important things but, despite my early purist grumblings, the end result was well paced, engrossing and a fine dramatisation of a classic tale. Conversely, `The Hobbit part I' is a painfully sluggish and drawn-out LotR prequel with no identity of its own. The visual effects are, of course, stunning, Weta Workshops have again done Tolkien proud and the casting was, on the whole, spot-on (although I never see Martin Freeman without thinking back to `Love Actually' and Hugo Weaving will always be Agent Smith).
As is evident, I was not overly impressed although probably not to the point of not watching the next instalments. If I watch them as if I'd never read the book and have a few drinks then perhaps the forthcoming events in Mirkwood, Dale and at the Lonely Mountain will keep the tale bowling along (please!!).
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An overlong journey,
But this film is pretty dull in lots of places, and seems to have been peppered with unnecessary padding just to eke out a trilogy from material that would have made an absolutely awesome "duology". Jackson did similar things with the LOTR trilogy, altering characters and plot lines to the detriment of the overall movie. It's not that I believe that the films should slavishly follow Tolkien's writing, but adding bad padding for the sake of it does nothing for the film.
Sadly for me, I had recently seen The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, so throughout the film I saw more "Arthur Dent" than Bilbo in Freeman's performance. Not Freeman's fault at all - just an unfortunate coincidence.
Gollum once again steals the show, which is a worry, as he shouldn't reappear in the remaining films... but with Jackson at the helm, who knows?
OK, but not special.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free] by Peter Jackson (Blu-ray - 2013)