Peter Jackson takes us back into the world of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and Dragons in his latest Tolkien adaptation of The Hobbit. Jackson takes us back, ala Star Wars, at a time before the Lord of the Rings when Bilbo Baggins was just a young Hobbit and Gandalf was less gray.
Right off the bat this movie is utterly gorgeous. One can hardly do this film’s beauty justice with mere words as the landscapes and backdrops breathe so much life into the world. Unlike the last set of films where the lands were often cloudy and dismal, The Hobbit takes advantage of the sunlight and lets the natural beauty of the scenery come out in a way that was never done in the Lord of the Rings. Along with the scenery, the special effects of the movie are nothing short of astonishing, which is to be expected. The creatures and magic blend so well and look so real that it helps you get sucked into the world. The movements and facial expressions of the trolls and other races look so lifelike that you almost want to believe they’re real. From large caves, majestic mountains, and castles , The Hobbit really has you seeing so much of Middle Earth. While never really detracting from the story, you get to see and visit so much of the land that it really fleshes out the world. The version I watched was 3D and the ran at the new 48 frames per second film which apparently will only be shown in select theatres. Now while I don’t know what the normal version will look like I will talk about this version as I feel it needs to be talked about for those curious or unaware.
Peter Jackson decided to film this movie at a new 48 frames per second which is double that of a regular movie. This actually changes the look of the film drastically which some will love and some will hate. The closest description I can think of is like watching a regular movie on a 120 hertz television, which for anyway who has see it will know. The new format makes the movie far more realistic looking, which some have described it as watching a home movie. Some have complained that it takes away from the theatrical look and feel to the film, which I can somewhat agree on but not entirely.
The format really lends itself to the idea that if something looks off or bad then it will look worse, but if it looks good then it will look great. The Hobbit, I feel is a great example of how this new format makes films look better than they have before. The actors look far rawer and it gives them a nice dirty feel to them that you wouldn’t really see before. The special effects really back up the look and make everything so much more real. While I know many people will hate the look, which I can understand, I ask that everyone give it a shot and if you can get a chance to see it in this format then please watch it. I also strongly recommend watching the movie in 3D, even though they don’t do anything to really pander the 3D, the movie really uses it to add so much depth and draw distance that it actually helps. Mountains in the far distance look further out and landscapes look fuller and richer that you can really tell how far something is. Okay, now back to the review.
After so many of these nearly 3 hour long movies, you can see that Jackson has learned how to better keep an audience entertained by not only creating a world that lives and breathes but also making the pace of the film work. Now those that complained before about too much time spent showing characters walking in the Lord of the Rings trilogy will probably find this movie a far better watch as the movie breaks up walking with many great side stories. Early on we get introduced to a new wizard and learn about some awakening evil, we get to meet a trio of trolls, and watch giants battle. The way the movie unfolds keeps things exciting without over doing it. While the beginning takes a bit going as we must get introduced to Bilbo, Martin Freeman, the Hobbit this movie is named after, but also 13, yes 13 dwarvess that are on a journey to get back their home. While it takes the dwarves and Gandalf, reprised again by Sir Ian Mckellen, (and thankfully the movie spends no time introducing him) awhile to convince Bilbo to join them on this adventure, but once they do the movie never really drags.
The acting in the movie is well done and Martin Freeman does a great job of playing Bilbo. Mckellen of course does a phenomenal job portraying Gandalf and at this point I don’t believe anyone else could play the part. The rest of the cast does a good job and never distracts from the film.
Overall this is a must see and probably one of the best films of the year. The story is strong and pacing is great and the look is out of this world. For those who found Lord of the Rings boring, I still strongly recommend watching this film, it’s still long but the time will pass quick and you will have seen landscapes one could only dream about. An easy 9.5 out of 10.