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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

By AP KRYZA
By the time Peter Jackson wrapped his sterling Lord of the Rings trilogy, audiences had spent nearly 12 hours in Middle Earth, marveling at the dense cinematic landscape. It was only a matter of time before J.R.R. Tolkien’s even more popular—and considerably lighter—novel The Hobbit hit the screen. Yet anyone expecting another LOTR installment or, even worse, The Phantom Hobbit, will be bowled over by the spectacle Jackson has produced. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey takes his penchant for sprawling panoramic views, large-scale melees and lingering shots of small men gazing into the distance and distills it through the eyes of young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), prodded into adventure by the wizard Gandalf (a returning Ian McKellen, clearly enjoying himself). The mission: join a group of dwarves led by fallen king Thorin (a gruff Richard Armitage) to reclaim their mountain kingdom and its treasures from a gigantic dragon. “All good stories deserve embellishment,” Gandalf tells Bilbo, and it’s safe to say the film delivers in a tall-tale sense, from a game of wits with snarling cockney trolls to the infamous “Riddles in the Dark” sequence with a never-more-frightening Gollum (motion-captured by Andy Serkis to perfection). After a slow and decidedly kiddie start, The Hobbit moves at the lightning pace of a chase movie intercut with stellar mini-adventures involving orcs astride wolves, gigantic spiders, soaring eagles and reanimated kings. It’s all anchored firmly by Freeman’s assured performance, which exudes charm and childlike fear. From the little man’s perspective, it all seems new again.
 
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy
  • Release Date: Friday, December 14, 2012
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Critic's Score: B+
  • Starring: Ian McKellen [Gandalf], Martin Freeman [Bilbo Baggins], Cate Blanchett [Galadriel], Ian Holm [Old Bilbo], Christopher Lee [Saruman], Hugo Weaving [Elrond], Elijah Wood [Frodo], Andy Serkis [Voice of Gollum], Richard Armitage [Thorin Oakenshield], Manu Bennett [], Jed Brophy [], Adam Brown [], John Callen [], Mark Hadlow [], Peter Hambleton [], Barry Humphries [], Stephen Hunter [], William Kircher [], Sylvester McCoy [], Bret McKenzie [], Graham McTavish [], James Nesbitt [], Dean O'Gorman [], Conan Stevens [], Ken Stott [], Aidan Turner []
  • Directed by: Peter Jackson [Director], Fran Walsh [Screenwriter], Philippa Boyens [Screenwriter], Peter Jackson [Screenwriter], Guillermo del Toro [Screenwriter], Carolynne Cunningham [Producer], Zane Weiner [Producer], Fran Walsh [Producer], Peter Jackson [Producer], Alan Horn [Executive Producer], Toby Emmerich [Executive Producer], Ken Kamins [Executive Producer], Carolyn Blackwood [Executive Producer]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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