THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

THE HOBBITMartin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
Ian McKellen as Gandalf
Richard Armitage as Thorin
Andy Serkis as Gollum
Ken Stott as Balin
Graham McTavish as Dwalin
William Kircher as Bifur
James Nesbitt as Bofur
Stephen Hunter as Bombur
Dean O’Gorman as Fili
Aidan Turner as Kili
John Callen as Oin
Peter Hambelton as Gloin
Jed Brophy as Nori
Mark Hadlow as Dori
Adam Brown as Ori
In theaters December 14

Bilbo Baggins is a quiet, peace loving Hobbit. Hobbits are gentle, fun loving folk who want nothing more than good food, a full pipe, and a warm hearth. And Bilbo is no exception. One day Bilbo’s quiet existence is turned upside down when he is visited by Gandalf, an itinerant wizard who has chosen him to be part of an expedition of thirteen Dwarfs who are going on a quest to take back The Lonely Mountain, their conquered home, from the cursed dragon Smaug. Bilbo, distraught by the intrusion in his life, quite frankly refuses, but after careful consideration he eventually agrees to accompany the Dwarfs through the mystical wonders and threatening dangers of Middle Earth that lay before them on this unexpected journey to reclaim their beloved mountain home.

Once again director Peter Jackson gives us his stunning vision of a timeless J.R.R. Tolkien literary epic. Taking place sixty years before the events of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Hobbit is actually a prequel. Although it is only one book, Jackson is going to split the story in to two more movies: The Desolation of Smaug  and There and Back Again – both due for theatrical release in the next two years.

I am not a LOTR geek by any means. I only saw the first film of that trilogy, but I was genuinely excited about this movie when I heard that Martin Freeman had been signed.  The character of Bilbo is played brilliantly by Martin Freeman. Martin is mostly known in the role of Tim Canterbury in the original version of The Office with Ricky Gervais. American audiences are just becoming aware of Martin from his role as John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes which has been seen in the US on PBS.  He has also appeared in another sci-fi fantasy book brought to film, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, in the role of Arthur Dent.

Having been a fan of Martin since The Office, and now with Sherlock, I knew he would be perfect!

The role of Bilbo seems tailor made for Martin. He brings humanity to this humble little half-ling who is removed from his comfortable home life and then thrown into wild and fantastic situations that he has never even had the thought of facing.  Bilbo has never set a furry foot out of the Shire, so as he explores the splendor of Middle Earth for the first time, we are experiencing everything through his eyes and living it all along with him.  Director Peter Jackson was convinced that no one else could play Bilbo but Martin. So much so that he halted production on the film to accommodate Martin’s Sherlock shooting schedule.

Martin is joined in the cast by Richard Armitage (Captain America, MI 5) who plays Thorin, leader of the hearty group of Dwarfs who has little faith in Bilbo’s capabilities to handle the arduous tasks at hand.   Characters that also make an appearance in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy: Gandalf played once more by Ian McKellen and motion capture actor/artist Andy Serkis, reprising his role as Gollum.

Filmed on location in New Zealand, this film is visually breathtaking – pure eye candy.  You bask in the natural beauty of the land, the mountains and rolling hills, the green forests and meadows.  From Bilbo’s home Bag End in “the Shire,” an actual village set built for the film, to the fabulous magical CGI-rendered Elven home realm of Rivendell. 3D only serves to further immerse you in the luscious splendor of the world that is Middle Earth, its people, its creatures. Armies of Goblins, Orcs, Elves, giant rabbits and spiders, giant birds that swoop out of the sky and, of course the Dragon! Movies like this are what 3D was made for!

A must see for any LOTR fan!  Even if you’re not, this film might make you change your mind. If you’ve never seen the other films, this would be a good place to start. The Hobbit is after all the prequel, but be prepared for the ending as this is part one of three. This movie is so good you’ll want to see it all now.

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for “The Hobbit”  below:

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