The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Every journey begins with a single step – farther away from your circle! But remember, once you have stepped out of it…you have to expect the unexpected!

 The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey

Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, New Line Cinema and WingNut Films present…

The film was based on the novel “The Hobbit” from a man that needs no further introduction,       John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. A fantasy laden children’s book that captivated millions of readers worldwide since it was published on September 21, 1937.

A lighting of a candle that symbolizes a beginning of a story, of hope and courage to bring a little something more than just its intended journey! Now before we start, a pleasant good morning to each and everyone well ok, good afternoon and a good evening to all as appropriately be fitting your current timelines wherever you are.

I was ambivalent with how they were able to concoct a very warm and humorous bunch of dwarves, craving for adventure, food, good company and last but not the least their lost home. It’s a creature’s habit in always finding a reason to claim back their lives even if they have to sacrifice it for the sake of their species and for these forgers of “will” they will do everything, anything to reclaim what was taken from them.

Director Peter Jackson (District 9) distinctively embraces that world of Middle Earth and all of its wonder and danger! While helping make the story promising, another film great and fan favorite Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) shares the spotlight with the Director to brainstorm for the Screenplay. Also returning from the previous films are Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who again inspired by Middle Earth’s grandeur, found this journey worth taking once more!

A precursor here and there before the story can be told in the eyes of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins portrayed by Martin Freeman (Wild Target) who lives quietly in a hole, a clean one if you please where there is a place for a soothing bath, a warm bed and a feast that can be laid on your table when you’re hungry. But his so called life has been only a facade of who truly the person is, a person whose heart always leaps with the sound of longing for adventure followed with feelings of excitement, the thrills and a sojourn that will always be encrypted in his being and for generations to come!

A proud nation of dwarves led by the brave but lost Thorin Oakenshield played by Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger) compelled to lead when both his father and his grandfather the king perished in an assault by Orcs. He vowed to lead the nomad dwarves back to their mountain whatever it takes! On the other hand, rising star who turned to “the darkness” is Benedict Cumberbach (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) who voiced The Necromancer was not even felt seeing that it had both actors from the BBC hit Television series Sherlock but only this time Martin gets the bigger piece of the pie!

Not to be carried away with the sheer story alone but instead let us focus on the returning casts which critics and fans considers a set to reckon with. Front and center we start with Sir Ian McKellen (The Da Vinci Code) returns to the big screen as Gandalf “The Grey” who was actually considered weakfish seeing he is constantly supported by his staff but very few who knows him well can truly see his capabilities both for being wise and warm hearted in which brings the element of fire that is cloaked only by the color of ash, a ring was bestowed to him to secure the power in which Sauron hates most. While a man who has contributed to villainy for so many years and yet left unscathed; from Count Dracula to Count Dooku he is none other than the late and great Christopher Lee (Star Wars: The Clone Wars).

From wizards we turn our sight to the elderly elves who are also guardians of Middle Earth for four centuries. King Elrond portrayed by Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) and Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth) stars as Lady Galadriel both in short but significant roles which ripples to the next chapters of this masterpiece!

The Producers along with key people in making these films invested wisely on New Zealand’s vast resources. Filled with ice capped mountains and green landscapes that really captivates the viewers to make the world of The Lord of the Rings truly a sight to behold. So many films have even copied the how the camera captures all the intricate details that make the storytelling even more intense, inspiring and surreal! The “endless walk” that was always included in these quest filled films seem pedestrian and redundant at most but not here since it has been an intricate part where we can actually see the world these characters travel on and this is where another Academy Award winner Andrew Lesnie (The Delinquents) comes in and be on top of things!

On the aspect of SFX and VFX, this was way better and improved in terms of using Green Screen and CGI especially for multiple objects being panned in and out of the screen courtesy again by       WETA Workshop stationed in the same country and managed by the Director himself with coordination from Academy Award Winner Production Designer Dan Hennah (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans). Three time Academy Award winner Howard Shore’s (Silence of the Lambs) music and scoring was captivating that it did not overshadow nor was it overbearing for the actual scenes that infuse significance especially through the characters dialogue and scenarios.

On a lighter side the film’s characters has the hilarity of being compared to a certain Snow White, but rather having seven dwarves this group will be called instead “ The Greying Gandalf and the Seven Dwarves multiplied by Two minus One plus One (Hobbit)”. Not crazy about the title though but seriously just like all they have the courage to stand up for their friends and family, has a hearty laugh, great appetite matched only for their sense of industry and integrity!

This is wonderfully created, full of excitement and speaking of which we could do a roll call right about now as we do have a dragon, wizards, elves, trolls, orcs, goblins, hobbits, dwarves though there were no humans at least there were stone “freaking” giants who actually fights by throwing boulders at each other, enchanted monoliths that has a knack for rough housing MMA style! So that was done, breath taking as it is but wait until you get a load of this…

All journeys have stopovers but in this one you don’t want to get off, the cave segment between Bilbo and his “win the riddle game or we’ll eat you up” tour guide has left me several goose bumps that I’ve lost count! Andy Serkis (King Kong) was brilliant as always giving life to the diabolical wide eyed, nerve racking, schizophrenic and preciously insane Gollum! I really got a head ache when they finally crossed paths; it was like a tidal wave lambasting the breakwater over and over again!

It also cites the sense of having to leave the comfort of one’s home just to add some spark in your being. Not that we pursue perilous journeys in our lifetime but rather staying true to oneself and find the time to have fun and enjoy the company of your loved ones in spite of challenges ahead. There is a world out there that needs to be explored (not like Middle Earth) where we need to find what we are looking for in life and surely the journey we have to face is simply put as, to be unexpected…

 

 

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