“The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey” picks up the story just prior to the beginning of “The Fellowship of the Ring” with Bilbo beginning to write his memoirs of his journey. Frodo goes off to greet the arriving Gandalf the Great to celebrate the 111th birthday of Bilbo, as he did at the beginning of “The Lord of the Rings”. But then the timeline flashes back through Bilbo’s memories to an earlier time when he was a younger Hobbit and Gandalf came to visit, and consequently tricked Bilbo into hosting a party in his Hobbit hole home for the band of dwarves who are preparing to begin a quest to retake their homeland after being defeated and driven out by Smaug, the great dragon. After wondering homeless for a hundred years the band of dwarves are ready to return to their homeland and reclaim it.What follows is a beautiful cinematic production but in my humble opinion, it could have been shortened by 25 minutes by eliminating the travelogue for New Zealand which amounts to about 20 minutes too much of the group endlessly walking across mountain tops and valleys, over and over and over…. OK! We get it! They’re on a JOURNEY!!! Enough already!
Another scene sequence which seemed to go on and on and on forever is a scene where the band of dwarves are attacking and escaping the goblins after almost being eaten by them until Gandalf shows up to save the day. CLICK HERE TO SEE A SHORT CLIP I felt all in all, the movie could have been 25 minutes shorter if just those two suggestions had been left on the cutting room floor. But other than the exhausting length of the movie, it is true to Tolkein’s original manuscript, especially the encounter between Bilbo Baggins and the creature Gollum, masterfully portrayed once again by Andy Serkis, which results in Bilbo coming in possession of THE RING, which becomes so important in the following films.
Fans of the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy will be elated to see the imagery from J.R.R. Tolkein’s mystical world of Middle Earth on the big screen once more, and will leave the theater chomping at the bit for parts 2 and 3 which were filmed all at the same time as “An Unexpected Journey” but we have to wait until December of 2013 for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and until Summer of 2014 for “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”.
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