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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+


Top Three: 2001

3. The Royal Tenenbaums

There may be plenty of other great films that could have been put third on this list, but I’m going to be selfish. The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I will take any excuse to have Wes Anderson mentioned. Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston are absolutely amazing, Ben Stiller Gives an terrific deadpan role, and has some of the best scenes ever put to music (in my opinion)

2. Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson was up for a challenge. LOTR is already a big time franchise, with fans all over the globe dying to see if he could live up to the classic J.R.R. Tolkien books. Well, Jackson, along with Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Christopher Lee, and countless others did the impossible, and met the expectations. It’s an epic in every sense of the word and still stands today, over a decade later.

1. Amélie

Oh Amélie, how I love your distinct style, amazing visuals, and tremendous story. Yes, again, I might be taking liberties, but even if you hate it, you can’t deny that Amélie is a great film. It was the movie that made me realize that subtitles aren’t scary, but can actually add to the atmosphere of the movie. Just trust me. Go see it already.

Honorable Mentions:


Ocean’s Eleven

Donnie Darko

Monster’s Inc.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Spirited Away

Trailer + Poster for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The long awaited return of Peter Jackson to Middle Earth is finally almost here. After directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson is back for more, beginning the first of a two-part retelling of The Hobbit. The first trailer came out this week, with the poster release not far away.

Top Three: 2003

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Say you’re putting 3 movies from each year in a time capsule. What ones would you want people to see? Forget critical acclaim. Forget the critics in general, what are the three best movies from that year?

Today, our first foray into the list is 2003.

3. Finding Nemo

The love between a father and son is one of a kind, even if both the father and the son are fish. Pixar’s 2003 classic tells the journey of a clown fish, who, with the help of an entire ocean of creatures treks on to find his kidnapped son. It was funny (Forgetful Dory completely steals the show), adventurous, and heartfelt.

2. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The finale that LOTR fans had been waiting for. The ending to Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy was a sight to behold. It put a nice shiny bow on any unfinished plot and of course that pesky ring that we were dealing with over 8 hours (At least the extended version viewers were). But seriously, this is many LOTR fan’s favorite one, and every movie fan should see this trilogy at least once.

1. Oldboy

This Korean flick isn’t seen as much as the other two, but not for lack of quality. Oldboy is the ultimate revenge movie, as a man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years than freed. Of course, there are plot twists, but even without them it is still worth watching for its all too realistic depiction of violence, no matter how disturbing.

Honorable Mentions:

Big Fish

Old School

Lost in Translation


21 Grams

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl