The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ★★★½

As a stand alone piece, I think The Hobbit is a great film. However, as a adaptation of a novel, I think it falls a little flat. There are times when Peter Jackson shows a great deal of respect to the source material, using direct quotes or covering some scenes in painstaking detail. But for much of the film, I couldn't help but feel as if Jackson missed the mark a bit with what Tolkien originally tried to make.

Tolkien wrote a wonderful children's tale filled with adventure, and intrigue. His characters were flawed, yet still loveable and very believable. It seems as if Jackson did not have faith that the source material would be able entertain a crowd on its own, so he added elements that were not only unnecessary, but convoluted the overall message of the material. Where the book was about overcoming great odds, the film portrays all of the characters as already being these great, brave, warrior types and, as such, leaves no room for growth. Furthermore, the book has a sort of innocence to it, and it goes about describing everything, even the violence and battles, with a friendly gloss to it. Jackson's retelling completely disregards this and throws in action everywhere and even goes as far as to add in superfluous characters just to increase the intensity. The entire film feels as if it is pondering a little bit to a modern audience rather than trusting in the strength of the source material. So while I think Peter Jackson made a good film, I think he missed the point of the book a little.

But as for the film itself, it is a very beautiful film. I saw it in the 48fps high frame rate and for the most part I enjoyed that, though I don't think that the HFR is for everyone. It is definitely noticeable and at times it can be distracting but I think so more films will be making the switch to HFR sometime in the near future. Until that time comes, some people might find it preferable to stick to the familiar 24fps version. The film is quite long but there never was a time when I felt bored. Jackson did a very good job with the pacing and I found myself very surprised at how good the ending was considering it was not meant to be the end of the book. Overall, despite lacking the magic of the original novel, I think part one of The Hobbit is definitely a worthwhile experience.

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