Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Movie: Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5
Genre: Fantasy, classic, adventure
Series or set: The official prequel to Lord of the Rings
Primary actors: There are a lot! They include Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, and Martin Freeman along with others.
Length: About three hours -- just under.
Based on: The classic and amazing work of literature, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Time period: Fantasy
Quote(s): Go here for quotes!
Year it came out: 2012 (December 14)
My overall opinion: It lived up to all my hopes and dreams. Before you read any further: this review will have spoilers. Please do not read until you've seen the movie. It'll be so much better then!
Now that we're all clear on what you are or are not doing (and you'd better not be reading this if you haven't seen it -- I'm serious!)...let's go. This is in no order...just as it comes to mind. :) I saw it just a few hours ago, so it's not all in order yet.
Azog -- disgusting. And inaccurate. I knew he wasn't in Hobbit, but wasn't sure about the whole thing with Thorin. On coming home and looking it all up in my Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster, I discovered that sure enough, Thorin had nothing to do with Azog. Yes, Azog killed Thror, Thorin's ancestor. But though Thorin fought in that battle, he didn't apparently have personal contact with Azog. Azog was killed in that battle as well and most certainly did not come back. However, including him certainly added some excitement!
Soundtrack -- amazing. Beautiful. Unebelievable. Never going to stop listening. I love it SO much. Combines Lord of the Rings' music with the theme of the Lonely Mountain song in a beautiful way, blending familiar and new seamlessly. I found a copy on youtube and can't stop listening. I had included it below, but it appears to have stopped working, so I removed it again. It's awesome and I can't wait to get the CD soundtrack!
Panoramic scenes -- Again, beautiful. Simply stunning. Especially in a theater. The landscape is so beautiful! And there's a wide variety too! More on sets and stuff in a bit.
Goblin king -- Wow. That guy was super interesting, my dad's favorite character...for looks, you understand. A huge flap of flesh almost like a beard...so unbelievably disgusting and, well, fascinating! Warts everywhere. Puppy dog eyes. He's scary, he's disgustingly fat, he's...wow. Definitely a memorable part of the movie!

Sets -- There were so many amazing sets that I had no idea were coming! Or at least, I really had pictured them all wrong when I read the book, and hadn't pictured at all for the movie! For example, the whole goblin kingdom under the Misty Mountains (more on the kidnapping later). Astounding! And Rivendell -- beautiful. Even more so than in LOTR, I think. The waterfalls and all were amazing! I was pretty impressed. Also, the scenes including peeks into Moria (so familiar to me!) and Erebor (pretty cool) were exceptional.
Rivendell -- I loved it. Like I said above, the waterfalls were so pretty. The whole place was beautiful, and apparently also caught in perpetual sunrise. Though the movie spent relatively little time there, it was clear how peaceful and calm it was...I liked it.
Elrond -- My only reason to include him in this particular part was his age. I felt like he looked significantly younger here than in LOTR. Having looked at pictures online, I may have been mistaken. I thought his hair was a bit gray in LOTR...guess not. But he has a lot of lines on his face there, and (if my memory serves me right) not so much in HAUJ. That may be just me. Now, I know it  was 60 years or so between HAUJ and LOTR, but since Elrond's thousands of years old...he shouldn't age.
Gandalf, Elrond, Saruman, Galadriel -- The whole council meeting at Elrond's was all wrong. Saruman and Galadriel never appear in the book. Gandalf does go to visit Saruman, but it's not mentioned except that he's gone...and you only learn where in LOTR (I think...maybe appendices or something?). Galadriel was beautiful, but shouldn't have been there. And Saruman...well, yeah, I talked about him.
Gollum -- Somewhere on the web I saw someone call him cute and say they kind of liked him. At the time, I admit that I laughed at them...how could anyone like Gollum? But now that I've seen him here, I see what they meant. He is pitiable! And almost cute during the riddle game! Which I loved, btw, except that they left out some riddles...very sad. Interesting to see him here.
Bilbo -- One can hardly review HAUJ without mentioning Bilbo. I've seen some reviewers that bashed him, but personally? I though Martin Freeman made a great Bilbo. His face expressions were so neat! I liked those. I think they did a good job with picking Martin for Bilbo...I never did like Elijah Wood as Frodo, so I'm glad that this one's straight on.
Fili and Kili -- Liked them a lot! Especially Kili. They're awesome little guys. :) And I am suddenly not anticipating the third movie if it follows the book. Which I generally strongly advocate, but might make an exception for here. And if you don't know what I'm talking about...go read the book. You should've read it already anyway. :) But yeah, I liked them! Oh also. By my third time through, one thing had become clear...one of my all-time favorite scenes is when Kili jumps out from by the rock and shoots an arrow and kills the warg and orc. SO MUCH AWESOMENESS there.

Thorin -- Ah, the other must-review character. Gotta admit, Richard Armitage was great! I had seen him as Mr. Thornton in North and South and knew of his roles in Sherlock Holmes and ...was it Robin Hood? Anyway, I didn't quite know what to expect. But? I loved it. Okay, fine, I loved him. Overall. But it was rather hilarious to see him looking so short by Gandalf! A guy with a personality like he has definitely shouldn't be short. But he was pretty much awesome as a short dwarf with a big sword.
Radagast -- Okay, the whole Radagast thing was weird. I knew that he'd be in here (even though he technically shouldn't be according to the book) but like that? He was just a little ditzy! I didn't like the way he was portrayed. Now, it's true that we have practically no information about Radagast the Brown. But I don't think he was quite this crazy. And that white stuff on his head...what was it, bird doo? No. All wrong. Nests in the hair are one thing, bird doo quite another.  
History -- It wasn't in the book. And I thought it was a great idea and a great addition. All that history at the beginning of the film, and sprinkled throughout? So neat! I loved it! Seeing those things on screen was amazing. Definitely worth adding, and I'm glad they did. So yup, really liked that.
In Relation to the Book -- Overall, HAUJ did a tolerably good job of following the beginning of Tolkien's original book. One difference (not including all that I've already mentioned in passing) would be the orcs and ... wargs? you know, those things who chase the dwarves and Bilbo. Very reminiscent of LOTR TT, but not a great fit here...though they definitely added intensity. Also, the part where they all fall into the goblin realm...again, that's not how it happened in the book. I always though a crack opening at the back of the cave was plenty frightening enough, and I don't know why they had to change it to the floor cracking open. The same goes for Bilbo's fight with a goblin and fall to Gollum's lair. Though there I admit that I can see why they wanted to add a little excitement. Technically, you know, Bilbo was there through the whole goblin battle! But all in all? I'm pretty satisfied.
Stone giants -- Considering that they only have a sentence or two in the book, they were much more played up here! I'd been anticipating seeing how Peter Jackson would interpret them...no disappointment. Very interesting! Again, that section was greatly drawn out (compared to the book -- by no means boring!) but good.
Humor -- The humor was not something I was expecting...and I loved it! Gandalf had a funny comment or two, and there were a few characters who made you laugh too! It was great. :)
Battles -- Like in LOTR, they were amazing. Big scale, lots of people, and a fast camera. Great battles, for being battles!

All around -- A great movie! I can't wait to see it again.


Taylor @ Mama Java said...

Nice review. It seems many people didn't like that Peter Jackson pulled a good deal of content from the Silmarillion and the appendices for the Hobbit movie, and instead expected a BBC-esque adaptation. I thought it was very well done, and the council scenes were well placed - even though they weren't directly in the book, nothing says they never happened :)

Loved the interpretation of Radagast - a quirky forest animal loving wizard. And I loved the way they introduced Elrond. He's so awesome. And the soundtrack was incredible - we bought it as soon as we could!

Analiese said...

Wow, how fun to read!!! Yes, the goblin king is funny. :D And I liked Thorin a lot - I really love him as Mr Thornton. Great post!

Alyianna said...

Hi Charity!

Merry Christmas to you! :)

I only skimmed over your review because I haven't watched the movie yet (sadly). I just thought I would say one thing about the White Council - yes, I know it isn't in the books...but we know from LOTR and appendixes that that's where Gandalf went when he left Bilbo and the dwarves. And I did hear that P.J. was going to add some stuff that was in the ROTK appendixes...and supposedly Tolkien had wanted to add some stuff to The Hobbit after he wrote LOTR, but he never got around to it. Just thought I'd point that out. :)

- Alyianna

Angelica said...

LOVED this movie! Especially Thorin ;)

Charity U said...

Taylor, I really liked the way Peter Jackson incorporated other books into this. It was cool. :)

Liese, I knew you liked it. :) But you need to review it! For real!

Alyianna, yeah, I knew that. But here...well, they screw around with the White Council and where they meet and all that. You'll understand after you see it. Go watch it, then come read and comment! :)

Ang, so glad you did...next time, let's go together! :)

Rosie said...

I am so sorry, I thought I had already commented!!

Thank you for explaining the Azog thing. I did find his name in "The Hobbit" book, but he is only mentioned as a goblin who killed Thorin's father. He is also said to have died in that battle. Sad to see that Peter included him. :(

Oh, my. The rest of the movie was spectacular. :)
Great review!

Hamlette said...

I just got to see this over the weekend, and am still sorting through my thoughts on it, so will be blogging about it myself soon. But anyway, I agree with you for the most part, except that I didn't care for the goblin king at all, and I thought Azog added a nice menace to carry through to the next film. Yes, he's supposed to be dead, but this is an adaptation, so some things will have to change -- think about how they changed Faramir's character in the other set, to suit the needs of the movies because they'd had to cut out so many things. The Hobbit lacks a central antagonist, other than Smaug, which is probably part of why I've always found the book kinda boring (especially compared to the LOTR trilogy.)

Charity U said...

Rosie, I'm glad you checked and commented! Would've been a pity if you hadn't. I am very devoted to my Tolkien, LOTR, and Hobbit guides...they help me out when I can't remember the particulars about things/people like Azog. :) I did enjoy the movie so much...hoping to see it a third time soon in theaters! It's one of those movies that's just MADE for theater viewing. :)

Hamlette, glad you commented! It's true, they did change some parts of LOTR as well...and the whole thing with Azog is only going to bother super, over-devoted fans like myself. :) It did add some good menace. As to the goblin king...well, I didn't really LIKE him, but he was fascinating and a little funny. :) I have to disagree about the book being boring, but hey...each to their own. It is almost more like a set of stories based in Middle Earth as opposed to a journey quite like LOTR...hmmm. I'll look forward to your review! Make sure you get me a link when it's out. :)

Hamlette said...

My review is up at last! Here's the link, as requested: http://hamlette.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-hobbit-unexpected-journey-2012.html


Kiri Liz said...

Why did I not see this review until today? Me, who has been scouring every site I can to learn more about The Hobbit!! Ah!

Anywho, I haven't seen the movie yet (my family has a policy of waiting until the DVD), but I've only read the book about five times, so I'm fine with spoilers. :D

Excellent review, Charity! I've been on the edge of my seat, hoping that Peter Jackson hasn't messed up one of my favorite books in history, but from what you've writtern, I am muchly relieved! I cannot wait to see this film (as well as the second and third ones!!)!

And yes, I think they picked absolutely the perfect Bilbo. At first, I wasn't certain how he would do compared to the image Ian Holm left in LOTR, but one trailer and -- gone! Martin Freeman's the best!

Charity U said...

Kiri Liz, so glad you found it! I do love comments. :) For me, it definitely wasn't messed up...like I said, there are a few things changed, but most are good. Ha, yeah, we don't see many movies in theaters either...my last one was Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010. This was actually only my third theater movie. But this movie...well, it was REALLY good on the big screen. The sound, the action...all amazing. I'm sorry you missed it that way, but having said that...I am SO excited for it to come out on DVD! It's gonna be awesome. Do let me know what you think of it once you see it! :)