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Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyHobbits, wizards, dwarves, New Zealand….we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Peter Jackson decided that 3 Lord of the Rings films wasn’t enough and proceeded to decide that neither one or two movies would be able to adequately cover J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The result is An Unexpected Journey, the first in a trilogy taking place 60 years before the events of the LOTR trilogy. Nothing wrong can happen when doing three prequels to an already adored trilogy, right George Lucas?

The Hobbit is the tale of 12 dwarves, 1 wizard, and 1 hobbit attempting to reclaim the homeland of those dwarves at the Lonely Mountain. The reason this isn’t easily done is due to a dragon named Smaug. A lengthy intro explains all of this, so don’t worry. Of course then we get shot into Fellowship of the Ring territory, with Ian Holm’s Bilbo Baggins and Frodo (Elijah Wood) only to get sent back to the time when Gandalf (Ian McKellen) asks the young Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to join in on an adventure. An hour or so of the movie passes by and we finally get on our way. Of course, the group led by Thorin (Richard Armitage), has plenty of hurdles to overcome, including rock giants, cave trolls, and those pesky Orcs. With the decision to make this a trilogy we only get the beginning of the journey, but there is plenty more to come.

My chief concern going into the theater was that each scene would drag on forever. After all, this was originally going to be one movie. Combine that with the fact that An Unexpected Journey is 170 freaking minutes long, I would say that I was warranted in my concern. For the most part, it wasn’t too much of an issue. Yes, most scenes tend to run a tad too long, but the beautiful imagery is enough to keep you distracted. And what beautiful imagery it is. Rivendale most stood out to me, and we get several camera shots that we haven’t seen before. And Gollum! I could watch that creature forever. It is absolutely stunning how much they have improved him since the original trilogy. Absolutely mind boggling. My finally verdict however eventually comes down to this: haven’t we all seen this already? Yes, the story and most of the characters are new. But it just seems too familiar. Hopefully it can improve along the rest of the way.

My Rating: B+

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Review: Sin City (2005)

Remember, The Spirit? The completely forgettable 2008 movie was my first foray into that style that Sin City basically invented. While I enjoyed the look of The Spirit, the story was completely forgettable and the dialogue sometimes laughable. So now its time to see what a film with a distinct visual style looks like with a good cast and some great stories.

The plot(s), adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novels take the graphic to the extreme with several stories all happening around Basin City. We have a girl rescued from a molester, only for her hero to be framed. Also included a town run by prostitutes, an assassin who seduces before the kill, and a severely disfigured man out for revenge. They all don’t make sense now, but it isn’t too hard to follow and keeps it interesting.

So, that was pretty cool. Now I can see why The Spirit was made in the first place to try to capture the magic that Sin City had. I mean, what can I say about the visuals that hasn’t been said already. Simply awesome. It’s brutally violent, disturbing (Really, Elijah Wood?!?!), and pretty much kick-butt at all times. If that gets you excited, there is no excuse for you not to have seen Sin City. Oh and by the way, you get names like, Willis, Alba, Rourke, Del Toro, Owen, and the aforementioned Wood.

My Rating: A-