By the name alone, one immediately knows what to expect. Whether you were a fan or not, you automatically connect The Hobbit to the much acclaimed movie, ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ (LOTR).
Directed (obviously) by Peter Jackson, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, is the very 1st adaptation of a trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel of the same name. The movie however, isn’t a continuation from where The LOTR left off. It’s in fact, a story from about 60years before Frodo got involved…from where it all began. So now you know why the more familiar characters, appear so young.
Peter begins our journey, through ‘Middle-Earth’ (where it all happens), through Bilbo Baggins’ memoirs. Bilbo, as ones who’ve watched The LOTR of the rings would know, is Frodo’s uncle, and plays the protagonist in this adaptation.
Many years ago, Bilbo Baggins was recruited by Gandalf The Wizard to accompany a band of 13 Dwarves on a quest to reclaim a land that was rightfully theirs. You see, once upon a time, the Dwarves owned one of the richest kingdoms on Middle-Earth, a fortress city called Erebor. It was situated in a peak called The Lonely Mountain, which also served as a keeper of the city’s largest treasure trove (Read: Lots and lots of gold, and the Arkenstone gem). Now we all know what happens to places like this. Someone develops a fancy for it and stops at nothing to get their hands on such wealth. The person in question here, being Smaug, the great Dragon (Ok, so not a ‘person’ per se).
The Dragon destroys the kingdom, kills most of its inhabitants, and takes control of the Mountain. The Survivors, including their King (Dwarf Thror) and his Grandson Thorin, are driven into a nomadic life, having lost all of their possessions. Thror meets his end at the hands the Orcs and it’s now all up to Thorin to fight for justice and take back what was originally theirs.
In order to do so, Thorin rounds-up a group of 13 able-bodied Dwarves, but is in need of a tinier 14th, to play the part of the ‘burglar’. The ‘burglars’ job was to slip in and out and help them ‘steal’ their possessions back. That’s where Bilbo comes in.
Leading a happy, comfortable ‘adventure-free’ life, Bilbo’s reluctance to get involved, is understandable. However, one fatal night, on his dinner being interrupted by the members themselves showing up at his doorstep, Bilbo had no choice but to give in.
The movie then revolves around their journey to The Mountain, facing many threats along the way. From getting captured by Trolls, chased by Orcs on Wargs, coming face-to-face with Goblins, the story has you on the ‘edge-of-your-seat’ all through.
And of course, the movie wouldn’t be complete without GOLLUM (“he’s creepy but I can never stop ‘hooting’ for him). Towards the end of the movie, after being separated from the rest of the team and ending up in a cave, Bilbo meets Gollum. Now, if you’ve never watched a single episode of The LOTR, I’m pretty sure that you’ll still be able to recognize that ‘wide-eyed’, ‘pointy-teethed’, stooping, pale character, whose obsession towards his “precious” ring is what we witness in the previous trilogy. That meeting, unawares to Bilbo, is what will play a huge part in his life much later. Here, Gollum unknowingly drops that famous Ring, only to be ‘spotted-and-flicked’ by Bilbo. After a little ‘riddle-war’ between the 2 (one that was won by the latter), Bilbo manages to escape (ring in hand), and find his way back to the others. The journey continues…to the second part of the series.
This movie came off as too slow, and not covering enough ground considering how it is 3 hours long. However, the way I see it, it’s the “Welcome Aboard” to the story. It does what the start of a movie’s supposed to do. It introduces us to the characters, explains the basic plot, and gets you all riled up as it promises to be one ‘mind-blowing’ ride. It ends just when you’re so completely involved, leaving you waiting for the next with baited-breath.
Peter Jackson has created a world so spectacular that you find it hard to believe that it’s not real. The imagination and creative prowess that’s required to bring all this to life leaves one completely speechless.
The movie, as a whole, is visualized and captured beautifully. The settings and costumes are so authentic, that throughout its duration, these mythical characters are completely real to you.
There’s a scene where Thorin leads the ‘dwarf-club’ into a ‘sing-along’ session of The Lonely Mountain song. The manner, in which it unravels, in that slow baritone, instantly gives one goose-bumps. It’s brought in so wonderfully that you can feel your very soul connecting to it. It gives you the chills, but the good kind.
The actors have done wonders to bring the characters to life. Bilbo, the dwarves…everyone has taken great care to immerse themselves in their role, and giving an ‘award-worthy’ performance.
All in all, The Hobbit was another Peter Jackson masterpiece that deserves all the accolades it gets. Even if you’re not into such stories, this movie may just convert you.