November 3, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson, 2012

Bilbo Baggins is surprised to find his normally quiet home suddenly filled with dwarves, at a dinner organized by Gandalf. He learns that his presence is requested on a journey to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim their home that has been overtaken by the dragon Smaug. Hesitant and not so ready to leave his peaceful life, Bilbo realizes that it's a once in a lifetime opportunity that will provide him with a fascinating tale to tell.

Well, it's been ten years since the last film. And Mr. Jackson, you did it again. You once again bring everyone into Tolkien's world. As the camera flies over the Shire, you look down and pick the dwelling that you would want to occupy. When the dwarves surround the thick wooden table with drink in hand and ready for song, you wish you could be there to join in. It's interesting that Tolkien's world becomes so inviting, because when it comes down to it - it's quite volatile. Even Bilbo himself can't escape the conflicts outside of his small community. This film feels largely consistent with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Peter Jackson has a proven track record of meeting and beating expectations with the films. It's more of a micro story than the very macro feel of the Rings films. Martin Freeman seems like he's born to play Baggins, never missing a cue and delivers a great deal of energy. The film is of course a feast for the eyes. The saturated greens of The Shire, the endless plains, the shadowy forests that are just exuding bewilderment. You venture below ground, to the firelit crevices where the Orcs dwell. Everything feels so elaborate. There's some familiar faces, and of course some new ones. CGI Porn at it's best. There is a sense of refinement to the effects. Perhaps it's because of the advances in technology, or perhaps it's been a while since the last viewing of the Trilogy. The sudden shifts in perspective that the camera makes are so fluid and they never take you out of the moment. There's of course not one bad shot in the film. The Lord of the Lord of the Rings does it again, and why wouldn't he? He's had practice. It's just another great story of the underdog. Themes of loyalty, courage, companionship. Not looking back, pushing forward - even if you're homesick. The universal clinging to materialism. Old grudges. Honor. Drunkenness and dwarf songs. It's all there. And it's put together so nicely.

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