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The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson's much anticipated prequel to his legendary The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit - A Unexpected Journey has arrived.

The story is follows a hobbitcalled Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is hired by the Grey Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. The journey leads them from Bilbo's home in the Shire through the Elven stronghold of Rivendell and through the Goblin infested Misty Mountains where Bilbo meets a creature with an object of mysterious qualities that will change his life, and the life of his family, forever. As they continue, they discover that other vile creatures also seek to destroy them.

It’s around 15 minutes before the opening line of J.R.R.’s novel The Hobbit appears, and you will instantly become aware that this film looks like nothing you have ever seen before... Peter Jackson has created a revolutionary technology that brings you 48-frames per second in 3D - and in my opinion gives the film a ghastly clarity. I felt like I was in a computer game, and all the magic that film has is lost, leaving The Hobbit to be nothing short of an 'experience'. I was instantly disappointed, and I remained so.

A significantly shorter novel, The Hobbit has nevertheless being milked by studios into a trilogy. Unfortunately this film is not a patch on The Lord Of The Rings films, and at 169 mins it drags. Although it is a more jovial story - complete with and Disney style sing-songs and cute woodland animals, The Hobbit has not one ounce of the depth, grit, or darkness of The Rings. Even Jackson's famous fight scenes seem childish - the CGI monsters that thanks to Jackson’s 3D, get right up in your face, are not remotely frightening or, dare I say it, believable.

Martin Freeman was considered to be the perfect casting for Baggins, but personally, I think that the film would have benefited from a less known actor playing the role (perhaps in the US this won't apply), letting The Hobbit be the star. As a comedic actor, (much like Ricky Gervais) Freeman always seems to play himself - or at least the same character, and consequently, I only saw Freeman - and I never actually saw the character of Bilbo Baggins, which cheapened the film.

As a whole I found that the cast, which is predominantly made up actors playing roles in a Dwarf clan, seem to be over-acting, and I never felt emotionally involved with any of them. Ian McKellen was of course, fantastic, reprising his role of Gandalf, and I actually perked up as Andy Serkis' genius portrayal of Sméagol/Gollum split personality arrived on the screen as he gives us the film's most emotional and amusing moments.

I am afraid that this trip to Middle-earth is a giant disppointment. I hope that the fans will enjoy it more than I did, but as your regular cinema goer, I was bored, and left under-whelmed. I would avoid The Hobbit this festive season, and spend your cinema ticket money more wisely... Rating: 
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UK Release Date: 
Friday, December 14, 2012