As the title implies, I went to see “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” last night and now I feel the urge to tell people about it.
Since this could be considered very slightly spoilery (I mention a couple of scenes but nothing detailed) you may wish to turn back now.
If not …
the read on, my precious …
read on ….
First things first – Martin Freeman gets all the awards! He was absolutely fantastic as Bilbo, just … he played Bilbo exactly the way I see him in my head and I can give no higher praise. I should also say that the rest of Peter Jackson’s casting decisions were equally as excellent but Martin made the film. I realise that this is not surprising but I had to say it so that I might talk about the rest of it without gushing over him every five seconds.
Right, onto the script.
Well, there was more back-story than story as we only reach Chapter 6 of the book by the end of the 174 minutes (and yes I can actually read the whole book in the time it takes to watch this!) but that didn’t bother me in the slightest. I liked how Jackson wove bits from Tolkien’s History of Middle Earth into it, I liked his interpretation of them and I liked the proper “prequel” feel it gave the file – there were some truly fabulous foreshadowing moments that segued beautifully with LoTR. I also suspect that this will be what a lot of people don’t like about it, that this is going to be a Marmite film, you’ll either love or hate how Jackson has chosen to do this. I love it (well apart from the whole Radergast the Brown in the forest house bit – really, really twee) and that, I think, is enough about that.
So, I’ve already said that Martin is a brilliant Bilbo but I think some mention of a few other characters is needed.
The returning cast members were, as before, mesmerising but the dwarves. Oh the dwarves! The “Chip the glasses, crack the plates” sequence was just wonderful and although you don’t really get to know all of them (well there are 13 of them – apologies if I’ve got their names wrong but I’m doing this from memory, just to see if I can: Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Killi, Filli, Dori, Ori, Nori, Oin, Gloin, Balin, Dwalin and Thorin Oakensheild) but you get enough to know that they are all different but all, well, united in a way that the fellowship never quite were. I have to say that I’m a little in love with Filli and Killi – they reminded me of the Weasley twins in an undefined way. I also have to say that the sung version of “Far over the misty mountains” turned me completely to jelly. Seriously. It was spine tinglingly wonderful.
And now for the bit that has divided critics and cause endless speculation – the cinematography.
I should say that I haven’t seen it at 48 fps as I don’t live anywhere close to a cinema with that sort of technology. However I did watch it in 3D and that was quite enough to get my stomach lurching a couple of times when the camera was whooshing over chase scenes. Again this aspect of the film is divisive, there is no way to be indifferent to something so fundamental. And yes, at the start, the whole 3D thing did feel a little odd and I was a little twitchy. But then … then there were rolling vistas and wizards on rabbit pulled sleds and wargs and eagles and it was absolutely amazing. I was completely swept away in it. In fact I’m contemplating going back to see it again so I can concentrate on the bits I’m sure I’ve missed. I’m also aware that I’m going to find Part 2 – with massive spiders in 3D – really, really difficult to watch.
All of this rambling means that, overall, I’m giving it a huge thumbs up. It isn’t a faithful recreation of the The Hobbit as Tolkien wrote it but Peter Jackson has never made any pretence that it was and, if I’m honest, is what makes me like it so very much.
That and Bilbo.
Bilbo really was wonderful.
Oh yes, precious, he was!