Maria’s review published on Letterboxd:
I sometimes think I take the action/adventure films that manage to distinguish themselves from your typical blockbusters for granted. If there’s any depth behind the action/adventure, I’ll automatically think there’s something great there. An Unexpected Journey is here to show that it’s not as simple as that. Depth can be a tricky thing, and when it isn’t balanced intelligently, you get a film where there’s little enjoyment to be found.
The story of The Hobbit is a Hollywood tragedy of a two-parter stretched thinly across three epics with the result being a first installment that hides its lack of story and character behind the depth of its world. There is so much here that I couldn’t discern what’s going on. All I know is that Bilbo Baggins reluctantly joins Gandalf and a group of dwarves on a journey to help the dwarves reclaim their home. What happens in between the start of their journey and the point they reach at the end of the film is a mystery draped in run-ins with various creatures and nostalgic digressions. The dwarves are barely characters and if I didn’t already know Bilbo and Gandalf, I’m not sure I could tell you their names right now either. No Leo-DiCaprio-pointing-at-TV moment can make up for that.
For better or worse, the atmosphere of the original Lord of the Rings movies is still intact and any time spent in Middle Earth is a pleasure. But you need characters and emotion, something that can stand on its own, to make that time a real adventure. “I do believe the worst is behind us”. Well, I sure hope so because I’m in need of a good story.