Alright, nerd confession: I'm not, like, a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. I've only seen The Fellowship of the Ring, and bits and pieces of the other two films when they're on TNT, and I've never read any of the books. I have, however, read The Hobbit (well, almost all of it), so I was actually pretty excited to see it! Yesterday, me and Kitty headed down to the movie theater to catch a (nearly three-hour long) matinee, and I loved it!
Things I Liked About An Unexpected Journey
- The overall tone of the movie. It seemed very true to the book - a little somber, a little silly.
- Lee Pace as Thranduil. UNF. I love Lee Pace.
- Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins! Seriously, his performance is so good. I think Martin Freeman does a good job in roles like this. He did an excellent job of capturing Bilbo's simultaneous thirst for adventure - from his Took side - and his Baggins domesticity.
- All of the dwarfs. Every. Single. Dwarf. ESPECIALLY when they sang songs. I want to party with those dwarfs.
- Fili and Kili. I am not entirely comfortable with being this attracted to dwarfs, but they were sooo cute. <3
- The scene with the trolls. That was my favorite scene in the whole book when I was a kid, other than Gollum's scene, and it really did the book justice! It was funny and enjoyable, but also suspenseful. Very well-executed!
- Radagast the Brown! I teared up when he tried to save the little hedgehog. Radagast's giant eyes made me think he was a cartoon character. Also, he's the 7th Doctor! Helloooo! He's great. ALSO the rabbit sleigh. Damn, I love that rabbit sleigh.
- Elrond! I got really, really excited when Elrond appeared on the screen. Like, really excited.
- The White Council scene. I really enjoyed seeing Saruman as a good guy, before he went nuts in FotR. Galadriel and Gandalf having a telepathic conversation behind his back, while he rambled on about how Radagast ate too many 'shrooms, was absolutely hilarious to me.
- GOLLUM!!!!!!!!! Andy Serkis is stupendous, as always. This has always been my favorite scene, forever - when we read The Hobbit in freshman year, I illustrated this scene for my project - and they did it really well. Except for the riddle where the answer was time! They omitted part of the riddle! I know this because I was saying the riddle along with Gollum and he just stopped before it was done. Come on, guys.
- The scene when they were fighting the orcs and they were stuck in the tree. So tense! The whole time, I was like "WHERE ARE THE EAGLES????" I was on the edge of my seat, and when Bilbo tackled Azog, it was very exciting.
- When Thorin apologized to Bilbo. It was a very emotional moment for me.
- Our first glimpse of Smaug!!! AAAAAHHHHH BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!!!!!
Things I Didn't Like About An Unexpected Journey
- The opening scene, with Bilbo deciding to write down his adventures for Frodo on his 111st birthday. Really? He's going to write the content of 3 movies down for his nephew in a few hours, along with planning his birthday party? And he wasn't even writing very quickly, he kept doing that thing where you put three dots over the letter A. Get it together, Bilbo.
- The length of the movie.
- The whole plot with the orcs. It's not like I hated it, but I think it just added a bunch of stuff that wasn't really necessary.
- The scene with the rock giants. It was waaaay too jarring and unexpected, and it kind of made me feel nauseous.
- The goblins. They were too creepy and gross-looking for me. Is it weird that I prefer the goblins from the crappy made-for-TV cartoon in the 70's? I love those goblins.
The atmospheric difference between this movie and LotR was really nice - again, I've only read The Hobbit, but I get the feeling that the LotR movies were staying true to their source material with their darker tone. An Unexpected Journey was clearly related to LotR, and I smiled every time I heard a familiar piece of music in the score, but it also carved out its own identity independent of the other films. I almost wished my brothers were a few years younger so I could take them to see The Hobbit and they could look at Middle Earth with fresh eyes. It seemed like exactly the kind of thing an older kid, about eight or so, would enjoy - fun and consistently entertaining, and just scary enough to thrill without giving anyone nightmares. I also found myself grinning many, many times throughout the film. It's always indicative of how involving the movie's world is when you actually respond to it through your body language and unconscious actions.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was really satisfying. I highly recommend it to pretty much everyone! It's a really hard movie not to like. I give it an 8/10, and I cannot WAIT for The Desolation of Smaug next year! (God, what a good title. Desolation. Oh, yeah.)