For 11 years, one franchise has redefined the terms epic, fantasy and adventure in the likes of the movie world. From the mind of JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings made the cinematic leap in 2001 and since that day, it has become one of the most popular film series of all time.
Now after a solid decade, we return to lands of Middle Earth to see how the story began with The Hobbit.
Peter Jackson returns to direct a new trilogy surrounding the adventure of Bilbo Baggins. The story of An Unexpected Journey starts the tale of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who is not looking for any kind of adventures. Unfortunately for him, adventure comes looking for him as the wizard Gandalf seeks his aid to join a group of dwarves to retake their fallen kingdom from the dragon Smaug.
In the case of this prequel, Peter Jackson and the writers had to find a way to make the plot not seem rehashed; and fortunately, An Unexpected Journey feels refreshing in the aspect of a story. Despite the film’s length, the pacing of the plot is fast; which is a good thing because it gives the story the sense that that it is the beginning of much bigger tale. However, being a prequel, the film’s plot has to tie in the story of its successor, which is seen in Gandalf’s subplot. The tie in to The Lord of Rings trilogy actually works because it gives the story both depth and a sense that this plot is leading to something more.
The cast of An Unexpected Journey sees newcomers to the franchise as well as returns. Martin Freeman takes up the role of Bilbo Baggins and brings his significant charisma to the character. Ian Mckellen returns as Gandalf and it feels as though he never left Middle Earth. Featured as a prominent supporting cast are the 12 dwarves, lead by the complex performance from Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Last and certainly not least is the wide assortment of returns, featuring Cate Blantchett, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee and Andy Serkis. Perhaps the film did not need reprisals from Elijah Wood and Cate Blantchett , but all the same, the returns brought a sense of nostalgia to an already defined ensemble.
If there is one thing that you can count on from this franchise, it would be the details in the technical elements. The cinematography behind the film is colorful and fits the fantasy behind the move. Other aspects include action that has you on the edge of your seat; and a soundtrack which will have you humming the tunes for days to come. These elements come together to bring you back into the world of Middle Earth as well as bring another perspective to the franchise.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is good start to a new adventure. The film may not be as prominent as the first trilogy, but for that reason, it actually makes the movie refreshing. It brings us back to middle earth and the second film cannot come any sooner. For keeping the adventure alive, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey receives a 4 ½ hats of out 5.