There is only so much any human can tolerate when it comes to movies and every reviewer has their limits. One never knows where those limits are until a movie crashes up against them with such ferocity that it can be stunning. This isn’t so much of a spoiler alert as it is a warning: The Hobbit starts with a dwarf song and dance routine that is enough to make even the most generous viewer hit the “skip” button on the remote control. It does not add to the development of characters nor the plot of the story. It is a waste of time which might also be said of the whole exercise.
The Hobbit is a comparatively thin tome in comparison to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The Fellowship of the Ring was almost a hundred page longer yet still only got one movie from Peter Jackson. The Hobbit will be three movies unto itself. Three movies to tell a story which could have easily been told in the two hours which the movie takes to get us to the point of….well that would be a real spoiler.
Fans of Tolkien will naturally want to see the movie and should see the movie. It is not a horrible movie but it is nowhere near what the non Tolkien viewer would expect after being treated to The Lord of the Rings. On the upside Ian McKellen is back as Gandalf the Grey and Ian Holm makes a brief appearance as old Bilbo. Young Bilbo is played flawlessly by Martin Freeman (Sherlock) and is a joy to watch as he puzzles out the role of Bilbo in on an adventure with dwarves. Everything else you could expect is here in The Hobbit. There is very good CGI along with very good makeup and costuming. The acting and direction are competent which can certainly land this movie on the to be watched list but is it worth the time?
Taking a three hundred page book and turning it into a trilogy smacks a little of milking the story just a tad. When a visually complicated movie like Life of Pi can be put into one film it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect the same of The Hobbit. That being said there is no reason not to see The Hobbit provided you are willing to wait for the next installment and don’t mind coughing up the coin for seeing what should have been a two and a half hour movie spread over six to eight hours.
Special features for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray include a series of video blogs: Start of Production, Location Scouting, Shooting Block One, Filming in 3D, Locations Part 1, Locations Part 2, Stone St. Studios Tour, Wrap of Principal Photography, Post-production Overview, Wellington World, Premiere Theatrical Trailers, Dwarves, Letter Opener, Bilbo Contract, Gandalf Wagers, Gollum Paths. The Combo Pack also includeds a DVD and an Ultraviolet copy.