Movie Review:  "The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey"
Movie Review:  "The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey"

Movie Review: "The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey"

Movie Review:  "The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey"

by Steve Eastman, Faith Issues

What seemed like a dozen sci-fi/monster trailers set an edgy mood in the movie theatre last night.  Then the soft music of the shire trickled in, bringing welcome peace and relief.  But that was just the introduction to an adventure that had comic undertones, exciting action and personal growth.  

Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, initially sets the scene with a ten minute narration, giving us background for events that happened sixty years earlier.   Few actors could carry that off, but Martin Freeman did well.  We learn, along with Bilbo’s nephew, Frodo, that a race of dwarves lost their capital city, mountain and treasure to a dragon and wanted to take it all back.  And, yes, Frodo is played by Elijah Wood, who looks as young, innocent and wide-eyed as he did in the first Lord of the Rings movie in 2001.

As the main part of the story begins, we see that Bilbo lives a very settled life.  His interests are mostly limited to his armchair, books and garden.  You get the idea.  Then the wizard, Gandalf, intrudes and invites thirteen dwarves to the Baggins house with plans to begin their journey to retake their homeland the next day.  

When you first hear about the film, you assume that is the journey to which the title refers.  That may be true in a secondary sense, but the real journey is Bilbo’s growth in character.  He moves from self-obsessed to concerned for others.  At first he politely refuses to take part in the dwarves’ mission, but by the next morning joins the company after listening to the dwarfs’ mournful song the evening before.  You can see the change begin in his eyes.

One of the dwarves, Thorin, claims Bilbo does not belong in the group.  Bilbo agrees but turns the argument around, saying something like this, “You’re right.  I belong at home.  You do not have a home.  That’s why I join your fight.”

That’s enough of my opinions.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could just pause the movie and let the actors tell us what the experience means to them?  Take Martin Freeman, for instance, who plays Bilbo.

“It seems like the classic tale of a small guy who ends up being a hero against his will and what is always said is true — heroism is when deeds of bravery, or whatever, are done when you are scared.”

Actor Andy Sirkis returned to play the creepy Gollum.  He says it made him feel weird.

“These characters have been absorbed into public consciousness to such a kind of high degree.  And there really was a sense of, ‘Am I doing an impersonation of a character I once played twelve years ago?  I feel like Gollum.  I’m moving like Gollum.  Sounding like Gollum.  But boy if it’s thousands of impersonations, is it really my version or is it a pale imitation?’”

Now, two factoids for you trivia fans.  Number one —  buried under all that facial hair of the character Radagast is a former Doctor Who.  Sylvester McCoy played the seventh Doctor from 1987 through 1989 and again in 1996.  And factoid number two — every actor in the movie wore a wig.

You may be wondering if The Hobbit is appropriate for the age range of your children?  Both kids and adults  can appreciate the humor.  In fact, one scene with three trolls almost incorporates slapstick.  On the other hand, the film has a couple beheadings, an amputation and two arrows to the head, but it is all done in a virtually bloodless way.  I’d say if your kids watch the kind of films I saw previewed in the trailers before the movie, they’d have no problem with The Hobbit, plus they’d learn some good lessons about courage and putting other people first.

© 2012 Faith Issues
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