Review: The Hobbit

Florence Smith Nicholls 24 December 2012

The Hobbit

You’d better make sure your pantry is well-stocked, and I don’t just mean for Christmas. Dwarves are coming; thirteen dwarves, in fact. If I’m not making much sense, it’s probably because you’re not well-acquainted with J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved The Hobbit, the anticipated adaptation of which has finally come to the big screen almost ten years after the last instalment of The Lord of the Rings. In Peter Jackson’s prequel to LOTR, homely Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is coaxed out of armchair adventuring to go on a real quest to help reclaim the dwarf kingdom of Erebor from deadly dragon Smaug.

Though a pint-sized protagonist might be at the helm of this fantasy, The Hobbit is anything but small scale. From the get-go it was clear that Jackson wanted to emulate the former glories of the cinematic franchise he had created. His decision to split a relatively short children’s book into three movies over three hours long reflects this, and my one major critique of the film is its length. Drawing on extra Middle Earth material to fill up the minutes, Jackson just about pulls it all off, albeit with some repetitive results.

This Unexpected Journey contains mostly predictable highlights: the dependable acting skills of Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Andy Serkis (Gollum), and Freeman. Putting aside the controversy over the High Frame Rate visual quality of the film, the CGI and scenic shots of mountain vistas are just as eye-watering as you’d hope. There are some unexpected gems, but I won’t ruin them for you. Peter Jackson has unearthed his very own Hobbit: entertaining, but an acquired taste.

Florence Smith Nicholls