Friday, December 14, 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I should probably preface this review by saying that this is not going to influence you in any way to see or not see the movie (so, stop reading now! Kidding). You are going to see this movie whether I tell you it's good, awful, or somewhere in between. Much like the Potterites or the Twihards, if you are a huge LOTR fan you are going to go see it ... it's as simple as that.
I should also warn that I have seen three-quarters of the first LOTR movie, and also 100% of the third movie - but not in that order. I saw the third movie in my college dorm with a LOTR fan and was confused throughout the entire movie. I saw three-quarters of the first movie when visiting a friend in New Orleans last year (who is also a big LOTR fan) but it was late and I fell asleep with a quarter of the movie left, thereabouts. I tried reading The Hobbit a while back but found it incredibly detailed, and didn't get all the way through that either.
What I can tell you, though, is that although The Hobbit is a beautiful film, it was very confusing as well, at least to me, who is one of the LOTR uninitiated. I know about Gollum, and the ring, and the quests to destroy it, none of which I presumably needed to know for this movie, as it's a prequel, but some of the characters who popped up are from the other movies. In this film, we meet Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit (a short person), who lives a quiet life by himself - at least until Gandalf the wizard shows up one day. He convenes a meeting at Bilbo's house with many dwarves, and they then decide to travel to the Lonely Mountain to get back treasure that was stolen from them by a dragon. They bring Bilbo along as "the burglar," saying that because he's a lot smaller than all of them, he can creep around unnoticed. Bilbo doesn't want to leave his house, and comes along reluctantly, but soon finds himself on a great adventure.
I saw this film in 48 fps (frames per second), which is how Peter Jackson, the director, filmed it. Normally movies are shown at 24 fps; by showing it at 48 fps, the goal is to better mimic the way we "normally" see motion in real life. I have to say I'm not really a fan of this, because it reminded me more of watching a play or TV show rather than a movie. The 3D, however, is very well done, and the landscape scenes in the film are gorgeous; this is not a hard film to watch, other than the 48 fps, so I'd recommend seeing it in 24 fps.
Maybe see this movie. I say this because if you are not a LOTR fan, I would advise skipping it; if you want to see it, I would advise watching the three previous movies first; and if you are dragged along to it but have no LOTR knowledge, then good luck to you. I enjoyed the film overall but was confused by many parts in it, and afterwards had to ask some of my friends with LOTR knowledge about some scenes. It's also a very long movie: it clocks in at 169 minutes, or 2 hours and 49 minutes. There's a lot of action in it, especially near the end, so I wasn't bored with it; however, I wish I had seen all of the previous three movies first before seeing this one. My star rating, then, is based on the story itself, even though sometimes it was hard to follow, as well as the acting, 3D, and cinematography, though if I was rating it on its ability to be a "stand-alone movie," I would give it 2 out of 5.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in theaters today, December 14th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 169 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.