Movie Critic: An expected journey with ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

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Dec. 20, 2012, 9:09 p.m. | Movies — by Elena Pashkovskaya

Screenshot from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” movie

Elena Pashkovskaya

Everybody who enjoyed “The Lord Of The Rings” epic trilogy was looking forward to the moment when another John Ronald Reuel Tolkien book, “The Hobbit,” would be brought to the screen.

It took two years and over $500 million to turn this fantasy tale, prequel to “The Lord of the Rings,” into another impressive franchise, the first episode of which premiered in Ukraine on Dec. 19.

New Line Cinema studio decided to divide “The Hobbit” into three movies, to go through every detail of the book and make as much money as possible. Part one is called “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

Action starts in the well-known hobbit homeland, the Shire, with its cozy holes, green grass and peaceful atmosphere. The measured, bucolic life of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman, best known as Dr. Watson from the BBC's Sherlock series) came to a sudden end when the mysterious magician Gandalf came to his house.

Bilbo then finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves, led by legendary warrior and dwarve king, Thorin Oakenshield. Thorin and his fellowship are off on an epic journey to find their kin's lost treasure and revive their kingdom.

Passing the stone giants was one of the challenges Bilbo and dwarves had

During the three-hour-long movie they meet trolls, orcs, elves, stone giants and wargs, a kind of deadly wolf.

As both “The Lord Of The Rings” and “The Hobbit” were directed by Peter Jackson, they share style and soundtrack. Most importantly, though, the characters involved in both stories are played by the same cast.

Purists will point to discrepancies between book and movie. Notably, some scenes or qualities were changed to be more impressive. For example, dwarves made to look younger and more stylish than Tolkien's grim version. But each one still has his own specific features and hairstyle – they are loud, naughty but brave and faithful.

It's better to be always beware of trolls - stupid, but strong and aggressive creatures.

An impressive budget of $180 million gave room for use of even the most advanced technologies. This is the first film shot at 48 frames per second instead of the normal 24 frames. And of course, its in 3D.

Mass battles, beautiful scenery, an amazing fortress, dynamic scenes of chasing and flying, curious creatures - it all looks perfect in 3D and IMAX theaters. Some scenes are so powerful, frightening or exciting as to bring out the inner kid in you. And it is interesting even for those who know nothing about Tolkien's universe.

When “The Hobbit” is over, it’s hard to believe that three hours had passed so fast and you won’t see any more of the Tolkien-Jackson world until Dec. 13, 2013. That’s when the next part, “The Desolation of Smaug,” comes to the theaters. The brave company’s adventures will come to the end on July 18, 2014, when “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” brings an end to the cult series.

 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D


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Kyiv Post staff writer Elena Pashkovskaya can be reached at

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