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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+

New Year Optimism

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Well, it’s a new year, and instead of doing any resolutions that would have surely be broken by now, why not look for the good in the new year by counting down what movies I’m looking forward to most in the next 12 months. I’m sure there will be one’s I’ve never heard of that will be my favorites, but here are the ones I know about, that look or sound pretty sweet.

20. The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe not attending Hogwarts!

19. World War Z

I don’t know much about WWZ, but I do know it’s a zombie flick with Brad Pitt, so I’m in!

18. Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino has been trying to get this made for a while now. Hopefully the movie’s like a fine wine and ages well with time on the shelf.

17. Skyfall

Still have yet to see an entire 007 movie, this might be the first of the bunch.

16. Battleship

Still looks like a Michael Bay Transformers clone, but who’s complaining; stuff blows up!

15. ParaNorman

I kinda like Coraline, but it could have been better. Enter Norman.

14. Dark Shadows

Just your usual Burton/Depp/Bonham-Carter movie.

13. The Cabin in the Woods

Never been a fan of horror movies, but this one looks like it turns the genre on its head.

12. Brave

Pixar! Accents! Red-haired chick!

11. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The title alone is enough to get my butt in a seat. Who doesn’t love some revisionist history?

10. Mirror Mirror

Live action, hammy comedy version of Snow White. Added bonus of visuals by director Tarsem.

9. The Hunger Games

It’s based off a book series, which gives me hope that that the new Twilight is much more manageable.

8. John Carter

Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E) tries to follow in the path of Pixar friend Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

7. Moonrise Kingdom

WES ANDERSON!!!!!!!!!

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I only saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy last year, but it was enough to make me think Peter Jackson can do no harm in Middle Earth.

5. Prometheus

Have you seen the trailer? I’ve never seen Alien, but I really want to now.

4. Snow White and the Huntsman

Early frontrunner for Snow White adaptation of the year. Even with Kristin Stewart.

3. The Amazing Spider Man

Yes, it’s too soon for another reboot. But Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield taking over? Admit it, you’re going to see it.

2. The Avengers

If only there was a movie that combined Hollywood’s love affair with the superhero movie….

1. The Dark Knight Rises

So far, Christopher Nolan can do no harm. So why not add some more amazing actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy) and call it the movie of the year now?

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.