Title: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Country: USA, New Zealand
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Peter Jackson
Guillermo del Toro
A plain 2D version at the local multiplex, culminating my not-so-frenetic film-viewing activity of 2012. The first chapter of this contentiously extended THE HOBBIT trilogy from Peter Jackson revisits the familiar ground in New Zealand, with Bilbo recounts his tall-tale with Gandolf and thirteen dwarfs (strangely their purpose of their journey seems to be deliberately dodged, for viewers who have not read the novel, the journey itself is conspicuously “unexpected and unexplained”).
In light of my growing fondness towards THE LORD OF THE RING trilogy, I had my wishful thinking that this film could kick off with a competent start, which would be a pipe dream to eclipse THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001), but at least to re-ignite certain amount of evocation of the land once brought us amazement and awe. And on this ground, the film has indeed only fulfilled its primary undertaking with its breathtaking skirmishes with trolls, goblins, orcs and other monsters (dragons excluded though), but fails to spike any refreshing ingredient into that wonderland.
Peter Jackson has to stuff the less-epic expedition with viable accessories to slide smoothly in its almost 160 minutes length (which may further spark the profit-seeking rapacity behind the trilogy contrivance whose plausible excuse has never been elucidated otherwise). The competence of the renowned-and-much-anticipated CGI technology and the innovative 48fps HFR (High Frame Rate) terminology surprisingly backfires quite harshly due to the diminishing ramifications of the epic sensation which audience demand fervently and preferably upon the franchise.
The film is a re-run of forming the pack, with elves intervening, but the best part has to be the Golem vignette (which might sadly insinuate that Golem is Peter Jackson’s career apex and barrier ahead), so melancholically deployed to summon all the empathy from THE LORD OF THE RING TRILOGY followers.
The massive cast comprises some well-beloved returning immortal figures (McKellen is overpowering while Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee and Elijah Wood’s cameos cannot register any thrill) and a young Bilbo (Martin Freeman is shortchanged here since the novel is called THE HOBBIT) with a clutch of dwarfs to be barely discernible to identify their respective names, with Richard Armitage trying desperately to simulate a Viggo Mortensen embodiment.
So, under whatever different circumstances in regard of expectation, the film is a jolly cocktail of a series of roller-coaster adventures and a chirpily reminiscent runaway train, anyway its rosy box office shows basically audience are quite merciful during the Christmas season, so let’s wish the miracle will continue occurring to Jackson not once, but twice.