The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ★★★

A great deal of effort was placed forward and no expense was spared to resurrect this dormant franchise. This shows immediately and merits a certain degree of recognition. However, let's call a spade a spade, shall we? If we're being honest, the proceedings lack the urgency of the "Lord Of The Rings" quest. This is a fallacy inherent in the source material, I suppose. But the film often feels aimless as a result. There's also a problem when trying to refashion an amusing children's story as an epic adventure thriller; even as Peter Jackson and his expert team try their very damndest to do so. The irony is that the often very funny character-driven bits are much more effective and resonant than the repetitive action scenes. Maybe they shouldn't have tried so hard to shove a square peg into a round hole. ... Still... With all that, I'd be lying if I didn't say that Jackson really knows how to bring his vision of Middle Earth to life. The first hour or so of this really is delightful, as you find yourself slowly drawn back in to this captivating world. The cast is on point. The production design and cinematography are handled with the meticulous attention to detail that has been a hallmark of the series... It's a very welcome vacation. A travelogue, if you will...until the redundancy starts to sink in towards the end. In any case, I really doubt they can sustain this for two more movies - especially with what is on evidence here - but there is enough good will for me to give them the benefit of the doubt. I really hope they can pull it off.