An Unexpected Journey


After the success of the Lord of the Rings films Peter Jackson returns to produce The Hobbit in full ‘technicolor’, this time complete with 48 frames per second versions of the movie (something which I’m not particularly convinced by).


Whilst I realise that Peter Jackson and the various companies involved will want to maximise their profits from the latest venture into the Tolkien-verse doing a trilogy seems to be overkill in my mind. There were multiple scenes and sequences which I think were purely added exposition which will undoubtedly be extended even further in the collector’s cut. If anything I think the film could have been a good hour shorter, perhaps meaning the entire story could have been done in a single film, which would have been far kinder on my patience and back side which went numb several times!


Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf and reliably plays the part well and whilst the other characters of the questing group are somewhat numerous they are all played admirably by the large cast if a little limited by the sheer number of them. Of course Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee and Hugo Weaving are other faces we recognise but their roles are purely supporting parts and so their impact is probably more due to memory of their strong performances in the last trilogy. If anything Sylvester McCoy stood out the most for his portrayal of the rather zany Radagast, and sadly I think that part of the story was one which wasn’t actually entirely essential to the film.

Visuals & Effects

There was of course the good old Hobbiton and Rivendale scenes we’ve seen before in Lord of the Rings but otherwise this was yet another huge advert for New Zealand and Peter Jackson’s ability to produce underground cave networks. In fact the work done on the King under the mountain wasn’t particularly amazing, so whilst the overall film was nicely produced it wasn’t done any better than other high budget movies of recent years.


Whilst it might just be me there really didn’t seem to be a different musical score to this film, which actually I was looking for since the story is much less about epic battles which are a stock part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If anything a strong new production to the audio would help The Hobbit series of films stand apart but I suppose that may not be the aim. That said, as with the visuals, the sound quality was good and there was plenty rousing beat and atmospheric backgrounds in the appropriate places without essential dialogue being lost.


Even some of my friends who are big fans of this story as well as the previous Peter Jackson films featuring Tolkein’s fantasy world have questioned whether this was everything it could be, and given my middle of the road ratings above you won’t be surprised by my three star rating of this film. Its something to stick on when you are feeling lazy and don’t want something which is modern action, horror or science fiction. However I’d only go to see it at the cinema if you really want to, otherwise wait for it to be on TV or blu-ray, it isn’t going to really blow you away if you ask me.