THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012) Director: Peter Jackson Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian Mckellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis. Rating: PG-13 for sword fights, scary CGI monsters and lots of long beards.
Hey. Ever hear of The Lord of the Rings?
Of course you have. Nerd.
No, you’re not a nerd. Everyone likes Silver Age Green Lantern as much as you do. You’re fine.
Even the most non-nerdiest people have probably heard of the epic LOTR film series directed by Peter Jackson based on J.R.R. Tolkian’s epic book series because it was and still is a pretty darn big deal.
How big a deal is The Lord of the Rings trilogy?
It was eight years in the making, took over a year to film (that’s all three movies back to back to back) and grossed almost 3 billion dollars!
Everyone in the country of New Zealand either worked on or has a part in it!
The Expanded Edition Blu-Ray is longer than a Kim Kardashian marriage!
It’s very big, is what I’m trying to say.
So after taking a few years off to catch up on his sleep and direct a few movies that didn’t involve guys with hairy feet and swords, writer/producer/director Peter Jackson has returned to dungeons and dragons land to direct three more films based on the The Hobbit, the prequel novel to the LOTR books.
For you youngsters out there, a book is a paper thing old people read before someone invented the Kindle.
The first movie in the Hobbit trilogy is An Unexpected Journey, and it tells the story of Bilbo Baggins when he was a young hobbit of the Shire kicking back in his tastefully decorated hobbit house that is way too nice for a guy who doesn’t appear to have a job.
Bilbo’s (Martin Freeman) tranquil jobless life is interrupted when his old wizard buddy Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen reprising his role from the LOTR trilogy) shows up one night with Dwarf King Thorin (Richard Armitage) and twelve of his dwarf buddies who proceed to raid Bilbo’s fridge and do unspeakable things to the bathroom plumbing.
They have come to make the B-man an offer her cannot refuse: help this collection of dwarf warriors take back the Dwarf kingdom inside Lonely Mountain from the evil dragon Smaug, who evicted the dwarf race from their home years earlier without even serving them with an eviction notice and giving them a few days to clear out their stuff and send out change of address cards.
For some reason, Thorin and Gandalf think boring Bilbo is some kind of master burglur who will help the dwarfs slip quietly past the huge fire breathing dragon and change the locks on the doors so the dragon can’t get back in or something; it’s not really clear how Bilbo will help the battle hardened dwarfs in their quest, but Bilbo decides to go along because a quest is fun and it’s not like he has a job keeping him around the Shire.
Seriously, what does Bilbo do for a living?
Anyhoo, much like the LOTR films, An Unexpected Journey is about a great odyssey across Middle Earth where our heroes run into all kinds of creatures brought to life with the amazing CG magic you expect from this film series. You can almost smell how foul and horrible the fat disgusting trolls who capture Bilbo and his party must be. And the Goblins! My lord, those computer effects guys really captured their detestable grossness. I almost vomited.
An Unexpected Journey isn’t all hideous abominations endangering Bilbs and his pals. Several of your favorite characters from the LOTR trilogy show up to aid our heroes:
Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) an Elf leader who may or may not have dated Gandalf and knows magic.
Other Elf Guy (Hugo Weaving), who speaks mostly in subtitles.
Saruman the White (Christopher Lee) who totally stole his look from Greg Allman.
And if course who could forget good old Gollum (Andy Serkis) who bless his little heart is still as batshit crazy as he was in the other movies.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a fine addition to the Lord of the Rings movie library. It’s chock full of action and adventure as Bilbo and company fight their way out of danger a bunch of times to get to a far away place that’s at least two movies away.
Hopefully in the next installment Bilbo is able to talk those huge CG eagles that helped them escape the Orcs in the movie’s climax to fly them a little bit closer to their destination instead of just dropping them off a half a mile from where the Orcs almost killed them.
Stupid giant eagles. Couldn’t take Bilbo and his friends all the way to Lonely Mountain. Are they not allowed to fly there? Is Lonely Mountain not in their region?
Do they work for Jet Blue?