Kyle’s review published on Letterboxd:
Some disjointed thoughts on the first part of The Hobbit:
- The film doesn't seem as grand or as epic as The Lord of the Rings did. This makes sense, though. Instead of dealing with themes like fighting for all of humanity, staving off the end of the world as we know it, etc., The Hobbit seems to be focused on a more personal journey. One of adventure, coming of age, exploration.
- Martin Freeman is absolutely perfect as Bilbo Baggins. After watching his performance, I can't even imagine who else they could have possibly cast.
- The film looks amazing. The world Peter Jackson created 10 years ago and returned to now looks as stunning as ever. Rivendell, the Dwarven kingdom, and the Orc caves all look stunning.
- If I were to create a list of the top ten scenes in film of 2012, the exchange of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum would be in it. It's an incredible scene and one that's perfectly timed. The scene or two before, I had noticed the lengthy running time of the film taking its toll. I was yawning and even beginning to close my eyes. But the second I heard Gollum stirring, I was awake and re-energized. I had absolutely no problems staying awake following that tremendous scene.
- It might just be me, but did it look the 9 years between Return of the King and An Unexpected Journey had taken its toll on a few of the characters? At times it appeared like Ian McKellen was just dying to take a break and have a seat. He still managed to play Gandalf the same amount of charm he had in The Fellowship, though. And man, was it weird seeing Elijah Wood in the opening scenes? He's certainly grown up.
- I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about how the first hour of the film felt slow and dragged on, but I didn't really feel that way.
- If there was a problem I had it was that the film introduced some really interesting, exciting characters and ideas (such as The Necromancer) but didn't elaborate or show any more. I know this is because the story is going to be expanded upon in two more films, but it does sort of feel like cinematic blue balls.
- Man, that year-long wait between An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug is going to feel like forever, isn't it?
- Also, the final shot? Incredible. I feel like I need the sequel now.