February 19, 2013

Movie review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

De Hobbit: Een onverwachte reis (2012) PosterThe Hobbit
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Director: Peter Jackson
Genre: fantasy, adventure
Rating: ★★★★★

A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on an "unexpected journey" to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.

It seemed impossible to me they would be able to split such a short book into three movies without making it boring. However they made this first one longer by adding in scenes to give background information. We start with the old Bilbo Baggins who’s writing his memoires. His nephew Frodo wants to know what he is doing but Bilbo says it isn’t ready to be read yet. We also learn about Erebor and the dragon Smaug. Erebor was the kingdom of the dwarves but after Smaugh attacked it and killed many dwarves there’s nothing left of what it had been before. There is also a scene with the wizard Radagast and the sick forest (a detail that was only mentioned at the end of the book when they all asked where Gandalf had been all that time he was gone). By the way: those spiders are horrifying and we haven’t even seen the end of them. The scenes with Saruman and all the fuzz around the Necromancer aren’t in the book at all. I assume this has to do with what would happen later on with the ring etc. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, what Saruman was doing there etc.


There were also some changes to keep it interesting and because it’s a movie adaptation and movies are never the same. Bilbo wanting to leave in the cave didn’t actually happen. Bilbo was never happy to be on this adventure but he never tried to leave. I guess they added that in for some sensation and to make everyone cry. Gandalf being left behind in Rivendel also never happened in the book and I don’t really see why they added this in the movie. It seemed a bit pointless to me. There were indeed wolves in the wood and they climbed in trees to hide from them. In the movie they had orcs/goblins on them which didn’t happen in the book. It was mentioned that wolves have an alliance with orcs/goblins and that they might work together against the dwarves and Bilbo in the future. If I’m not mistaken there was never a ‘pale orc’ mentioned in the book. This was added in the movie to make it more thrilling and make Thorin more heroic (because let’s face it: book-Thorin was just the ‘leader’ and didn’t do much). Thorin also didn’t get hurt after that fight, because there never was an actual fight in the book. They were saved by the eagles and given food.

These movies are always so beautiful and are never disappointing. Even though there are quite some changes, they didn’t ruin the whole thing. There is some really nice CGI and of course, New Zealand is a beauty on its own. Those landscape shots got me everytime. Not to mention the music! Beautiful music with a reoccurring theme. Love the ‘Misty Mountains’ song. 

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