I saw the the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey two days and I was totally awestruck! I came with some low expectations fearing slow pacing, clumsy scenes and 'fake' CGI but none of my fears came true.
About the slow pacing; I'm not sure what the critics and other reviewers are talking about. That first flashback scene was totally awesome, the scene with Frodo and the older Bilbo was a touch of magic, and about thirty minutes in they were all off on the adventure! The pacing is just the same as LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring if not a bit faster and more action packed.
The story is just as solid, it greatly expands upon the dwarves (and yes we saw a few glimpses of dwarve women!!!) and Thorin is one awesome character! He totally drives this onwards and he has some serious charisma and presence, he's like a more focused version of Aragon and full of purpose. Gandalf as always was his usual magical self whilst I think the younger Bilbo is a very solid character to. The characteristics of the Hobbits are portrayed very well in Bilbo and reads virtually like the book and it is great seeing this character grow.
As for the plot I don't find it lightweight at all, this theme of things not being right in Middle Earth was very prevalent and that sense of encroaching darkness not only makes this film vastly interesting it also puts the Hobbit in the same league as the LOTR trilogy. Why?
It adds vistas to the LOTR film universe, when Bilbo, Gandalf and the company of dwarves reached Rivendell I thought; this s*** is going down. It was all so seamless and the meeting of the High Council is something else entirely; it totally defines the direction of the film and undoubtedly the next two films of the Hobbit trilogy.
As for Gollum... Not only did they vastly improve the CGI I couldn't tell if the image of Gollum had that 'fake' quality, he looked like a highly detailed animated model with perfectly real skin and light tones. Moreover the scene where Bilbo is inches from Gollum ready to slay the creature... Incredibly powerful; not only did Gollum not have a clue as to how close his death was, but the look on Gollum's face was something else... And that's another amazing thing, things from the LOTR movies like how Bilbo found his special Elvish sword, how he found the ring and his encounter with the three trolls were all shown in the most perfect way.
With each passing minute this film grows on you and becomes more and more riveting. From the Dwarve's deep humming song in Bilbo's house, the magic of Rivendell, Sauron (aka the necromancer) himself to the Eagles! It was all there.
Granted a few of the action scenes defied belief: like Bilbo falling down at least fifty feet breaking his fall on some extra large squishy mushrooms, or the scene with those mountain rock monsters (all in the book so blame Tolkien!) or the scene where the company are careering down a ravine in the remnants of a broken section of bridge (but hey Gandalf was there so he must have cast some spell to somehow break the fall). However LOTR had its moments to: Aragon being blasted off the main wall in Helm's Deep, Gollum falling down a massive ravine and so forth. So it's forgiveable.
As for the dwarves they are as a whole enjoyable and work well with the story; just like Gimli and Legolas their parts are not so substantial but it doesn't take away from this film.
To sum up this is a more than worthy addition to Middle Earth, and the Hobbit is definitely in the same league as the LOTR trilogy. But if you haven't seen the LOTR trilogy, seen the extended director's cut or grasped the magic of J.R.R. Tolkien's universe then you may not enjoy this movie as much or more importantly understand the little details. And people moaned about this movie stretching on for too long! It did not feel stretched, in fact a trilogy is required to wrap all that has transpired and bridge the gap between this film and LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring.
And finally Galadrielle...
She looks younger and more
beautiful in this movie. Fairest of them all indeed!
In short Peter Jackson has done it again and this is another masterpiece!