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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: The Fall (2006)

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I’m not the type of person to see something and be in awe of its beauty. It’s safe to say that you wont see me crying over the next sunset or rainbow. I am however, unashamed to say that The Fall is the most beautiful film I have ever seen. It hasn’t gotten any publicity since its limited release in 2006, and I believe it to be one of the biggest mistakes of human kind. Okay, maybe that might be a bit hyperbolic. But still, it is a beautiful story, filled with beautiful images, and beautiful music. In short, The Fall is beautiful.

The story travels back and forth between the real world and the imagined. In the real world a injured, and drug-addicted Hollywood stuntman (Lee Pace) is befriended by a young girl in a hospital set in the 1920’s. Throughout the movie, the stuntman has his ups and downs and attempts to manipulate the young girl (played perfectly by Catinca Untaru) by feeding his drug addiction. Meanwhile, he tells the story of 6 men bent on the killing of one man, Governor Odious. Think The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with brighter clothes. Darwin, a former slave, an Indian, a mystic, a demolitions expert, and the main character, the Black Bandit.

The combination between the visuals and the music is stunning. Even though the film was shot in 18 different countries, it feels as if were all taking place in the same world. And the final moments are as dramatic as possible. It’s a great and unappreciated film; one worth watching. The R-Rating is pretty confusing, when there is only a tad of violence (nothing new to today’s audience). Bottom line, go see it.

Rating: A