Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.
Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever ... Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities ... A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to ... Written by
When the party is captured by the Goblins and Bilbo crawls away, a Goblin's CGI foot passes through the bridge he's walking on. See more »
My dear Frodo, you asked me once if I had told you everything there was to know about my adventures. And while I can honestly say I've told you the truth, I may not have told you all of it. I am old, Frodo. I am not the same hobbit as I once was. It is time for you to know what really happened.
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The MGM logo starts with an extreme close up of the lion's eye, and then zooms out to the full logo. See more »
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" simultaneously takes director Peter Jackson in two different directions. While at first glance it may seem that he is travelling over familiar ground, again tackling the fantastical world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth after his vast and Academy Award wining "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy (2001 2003), he is actually experimenting with cinema itself.
Of all the art forms of the world, film is the one most invested in technology; created by scientists, not artists at the end of the nineteenth century. It was only at the dawn of the last century that people like Georges Méliès realised the potential of this medium. So it is appropriate that Jackson is here breaking new ground with the very way we watch films. Instead of shooting at the normal speeds of twenty four frames per second, he has doubled it to forty eight frames a second so when viewed you have an astonishing clarity of detail as well as smoothness in camera movement with no motion stutter or blurry jerkiness when shown in 3D.
However, this raises a problem for the filmmaker. For a film set in a mythical fantasy land, any poor special effects or sub-standard computer generated imagery will stand out glaringly. So the effects work from Weta Digital is all the more impressive and astounding; from skin textures to the manifold buildings of Rivendell, it's sometimes hard to believe it's not all real.
The acting, from Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen to Christopher Lee as Saruman and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the dwarfs, are all very good, inhabiting their roles with conviction and passion. Stand out though is Andy Serkis as Gollum, the famous riddle scene from the novel imported virtually word for word, and is all the better for it. Serkis has an uncanny ability to play these none too human characters with an enormous amount of vicissitude, a feat he pulls of here again with aplomb.
This is primarily a visual motion picture, but the characters are not ignored and the extensive opening sequence set in Bilbo's house serves as an introduction of sorts to not just the people but the themes as well.
Jackson directs with huge scope and a true feeling for the vast land he is creating, shot on location in New Zealand. The sweeping cinematography from Andrew Lesnie is suitably epic, making the landscape another character in the film.
The film does have its flaws, mainly due to the fact that this is an introduction to a trilogy and not a self-contained movie; people might also find Radagast the Brown, a wizard, as played by Sylvester McCoy, to fall on perhaps the wrong side of immaturity. Still, this is a fantastic piece of entertainment and it's hard to imagine a better Christmas film.
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