Notable Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Sylvester McCoy, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis - with cameos by Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving
I must preface this review with a brief statement of my feelings on "The Lord Of The Rings" films since I have yet to officially write reviews on them. That trilogy is made up of fantastically executed films that embrace their fantasy elements and giving it enough depth to be relevant. They are also way too long winded for their own good. That's why when they announced that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" would be the first part of three and damn near three hours, my fears of a tighter film that cuts out the fat was only heightened. Luckily, "An Unexpected Journey" does it's best to keep the pacing brisk and the execution to the standard set by "The Lord Of The Rings" even if the film is still far too long.
Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) has been living a very quiet life in Bag End. When the old face of Gandalf (McKellen) shows up offering him the chance of a lifetime to journey with thirteen dwarves, he is taken off guard. When he learns of the horrors that these dwarves have faced trying to retake their home from Smaug, a vicious dragon, he decides to accompany them in their quest. It's a dangerous journey that will take Bilbo across all of Middle Earth and allow him to discover an ancient ring with vast power...
|O rest ye merry gentle-dwarves...|
|Thoughtful acting if I ever saw some.|
|Andy Serkis once again owns as Gollum...highlighting one of the best sequences in the film.|
Thus far, I have to admit that I still enjoy that 1977 cartoon more than this film. While this film certainly carries quite a bit of strong execution, the extension of action sequences (including the longest chase known to man through the goblin tunnels) and added content make for a film that just feels a bit more forced than it should have been. It's still going to end up being a cult favorite, but I'm going to have to wait for parts 2 and 3 to be released to give my final judgement.
Written By Matt Reifschneider