Based on J R R Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit and serving as a prequel to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy (also based on his novel The Lord Of The Rings), The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey is the first of another trilogy set in Middle Earth and which brings much happiness to us fans of the universe and Tolkien’s books. Directed by Peter Jackson the movie’s screenplay was written by Jackson, his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (who also co-wrote The Lord of the Rings), and Guillermo del Toro, who was originally chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010.
The movie has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, surpassing both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers nominally and was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It was also nominated for three BAFTA Awards. Here are some of my points from the movie:
- The movie & the triology is set 60 years before the events of the Lord Of The Rings and is set up as 111 year old Bilbo Baggins writing down the full story of the adventure he had 60 years earlier, for the benefit of his nephew Frodo (a brief appearance by Elijah Wood). A much younger Bilbo was invited by Gandalf to join the wizard & 13 dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. Much hilarity occurs when the dwarves arrive at Bilbo’s home for a dinner party.
- Smaug kills many men and women in the nearby town and Thorin, grandson of King of the Lonely Mountain Thror is also angry by the fact that though the wood-Elves were nearby and saw the destruction unfolding, they left rather than come to the aid of the Dwarves.
- The party are attacked by trolls who almost eat them but are turned to stone when their feast is delayed and Gandalf exposes the Trolls to sunlight. They search the Trolls’ cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo. They next meet up with Radagast the Brown, a wizard who is an old friend of Gandalf. Radagast tells them an encounter at Dol Guldur, an abandoned area, with a Necromancer who has been corrupting the forest with dark magic.
- The group is then attacked by Orcs riding wargs (huge wolves like creatures) and Radagast tries to cover them using his speedy rabbits but the group is outnumbers. Gandalf leads the company through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving). At Rivendell, post the discovery of hidden writing on Thorin’s map, Gandalf had a meeting with Elrond, Sauroman & Galadriel in which he tells them about the Necromancer and the threat he poses if he attempt to use Smaug for his evil purposes. Saruman is skeptical, not believing the Necromancer to be a true threat.
- The dwarves & Bilbo leave Rivendell without Gandalf (as planned) and journeys into the Misty Mountains, where they find themselves amid a colossal battle between Stone Giants. While resting in a cave they are soon captured by Goblins, who take them to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo is separated from the rest but finds himself in an underground section where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray Goblin to eat. Bilbo pockets the ring and is confronted by Gollum, who is unaware of the loss of his precious ring. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins or eaten by Gollum if he loses. After riddling each other back and forth several times, Bilbo eventually wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket. Not knowing the answer but later realizing that he lost the ring, Gollum suspects that Bilbo possesses it and attacks the hobbit. Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum.
- The Dwarvs fight their way out from the Goblin’s lair with Gandalf’s help and a huge battle ensues. Bilbo kicks is way past Gollum and joins up the rest but doesn’t reveal that he has the ring with him. The group have barely time to rest as the Orcs have made their way to the area and attack them. Heading the pack is the Orc king Azog, who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the Dwarven kingdom of Moria. The group take shelter in the trees but are attacked by numerous wargs who break the trees. Thorin leaves to fight Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground by his mace and set upon by his warg. Bilbo saves Thorin from the Orcs just as the company is rescued by the Eagles who fly them to the safety of a large cliff. Gandalf heals Thorin, who immediately acknowledges the bravery of Bilbo. As the group look out in the distance they see the Lonely Mountain.
- As the film ends, a thrush carrying a snail in it’s beak flies to the walls of the castle on Lonely Mountain knocks its shell against the mountainside, awakening the sleeping Smaug, who is lying beneath a golden hoard. As the credits roll, a beautiful song by Neil Finn – “Song of the Lonely Mountain” – plays.
I just have to give this film a 9 outta 10! Slightly longish but that’s ok.