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Old December 15 2012, 12:21 AM   #109
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Location: Ireland
Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

Saw it yesterday morning in 3D at 24 FPS.

I don't concur with the criticisms about pacing, but that's a question of personal experience. Never thought "Get on with it!", but did think that it was nearly time for it to move along.

The movie in its own right is largely a spectacular and compact rollercaster ride. As compared to FOTR it's charming, whimsical, fast-paced and possessed of an almost uniformly high standard of acting. Just like its illustrious predecessors, it asks you to bear with it - but in this case it's less about putting up with austerity and more about allowing for the story's kid-friendly origins in the form of cockney trolls et al, and its general tendency towards a more frivolous, tongue-in-cheek tone. This is high-adventure in the tradition that we've come to expect since the heyday of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, both of which franchises are lovingly referenced here.

Much was made of the eleventh-hour decision to make it a trilogy. From the evidence of this movie, it's looking very much like the right call. It packs a heck of a lot into its two hours and forty minutes and fees like it ends at just the right juncture.

Performance-wise I think it's very robust, with Freeman validating the opinions of everyone who thought he would be a natural choice for Bilbo and McKellen giving perhaps his most nuanced and likeable take on Gandalf. They are ably supported by strong performances from the (slightly Klingonesque) dwarfs, not to mention certain returning characters from the original trilogy. Kudos to Jackson, Walsh, Boyens and the returning actors for showing us intriguing new facets of familiar characters, and doing so with aplomb. The writers also seem to have fun presenting us with the somewhat eccentric but benign Radagast the Brown as played briefly by Sylvester McCoy, who in an alternate universe made a fine older Bilbo.

Planning to see it again over the weekend, this time in IMAX format. Will refrain from marking it until then, but I doubt I'll be giving it a consonant or a minus.
"Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can." - Terry Pratchett.

Last edited by Wereghost; December 15 2012 at 02:51 AM.
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