‘THE Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is Peter Jackson’s prequel to ‘The Lord of The Rings’ and the first entry in a new trilogy.
Immediately preceding the events of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, it begins with an elderly Bilbo Baggins, on the the eve of his 111th birthday. Preparing for a new life, and acting as narrator, Bilbo has begun writing his memoirs. We’re treated to a short cameo from Elijah Wood as nephew Frodo, before we go back 60 years in the past.
When Smaug the Dragon attacks the Dwarf town of Dale, kills its inhabitants and overthrows the mountain its located, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), heir to the Dwarf kingdom of Dale, forms a plot to regain it. Assisted by wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), he leads an army of Dwarves on a quest to kill Smaug. As final member of the group, Gandalf chooses a Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman).
‘An Unexpected Journey’ is an epic in every sense of the word. It is grand in scale, with giant creatures, vast locations and enormous battle scenes. The battles (of which there are quite a few) are outstanding and would be worth recommending the film alone for. Over the course of the journey, I warmed to all of the characters, particularly Bilbo, Thorin and another Dwarf, Bofur (James Nesbitt). A problem I had with ‘The Hobbit’ was how long it was. In periods of inactivity it felt like a 2 hour and 49 minute long film. The impression one gets from the long runtime is to justifiably stretch the story out to a trilogy - an unnecessary move, in my opinion.
That being said, I’m looking forward to the next two films. If ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is an indicator, this new trilogy should be excellent.
By Kelan Headley