With an estimated $180,000,000 budget and the high expectations of the millions of Lord of the Rings fans, you could certainly say that The Hobbit has a lot riding on it. There is little to worry about though, because thus far the movie has grossed a whopping $600,508,000 and that number is sure to rise with theatres still taking in bookings nearly one whole month after the initial opening weekend on 16th December.
Back are some of the characters we know and love including Gandalf, played again by Ian McKellen, and Bilbo Baggins who is this time brought to life by the acting talents of Hertfordshire’s own Martin Freeman. Hugo Weaving also returns in a cameo of sorts in the role of Elrond, and who could forget the 540 year-old Gollum, again voiced and acted by the one and only Andy Serkis.
Yes, in some ways this is indeed the same world that we know and love, flawlessly brought to the big screen by the same man (Peter Jackson) who made it all possible back in 2001. Many of the sets remain unchanged, and the bulk of the original crew – including director of cinematography Andrew Lesnie – have returned, meaning that the overall look and feel is much the same as before; all for the sake of consistency, of course.
I will be the first person to admit that Lord of the Rings is one of the most significant film trilogies to ever be released, but I do have to be honest and say I never particularly enjoyed them at the time of their original release. Going into The Hobbit after disliking the previous three movies was not something I was looking forward to in all honesty, and I was certainly expecting the worse given that this film clocks in at a whopping three hours.
But, you know what? I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’m not just talking about the story! First of all, I opted to see the so-called HFR version of The Hobbit, which is essentially just twice as many frames (images) per-second as regular film. This did take some getting used to, but after 10 minutes everything looked beautifully sharp and clean to the eyes. I was initially quite sceptical about this new advance in technology, but now having seen it first-hand I will be very surprised if every movie isn’t shot like this in the future.
Secondly, as the HFR is only available with 3D showings of The Hobbit, I was forced to watch using those dreaded polarised glasses which any long-term reader of Nerdscoop will know I am not a fan of. However, on this occasion I was again oh so very wrong; it probably sounds a little far fetched, but I can honestly say with conviction that I forgot that I was watching a movie at certain points. You really do have to experience the HFR / 3D combination to truly know what I am talking about, because it is absolutely phenomenal.
The whole production was absolutely beautifully put together; the acting, the shots, the photography, and most importantly (to me) that score! Wow… Howard Shore will have a lot to live up to on any of his future projects!
For me, The Hobbit really was most certainly an unexpected journey that I will not forget for a long time to come. I went into this one with very low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised at what I experienced. It is because of this that I am awarding The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with the very rare Five Star rating, which I have only ever awarded to a small handful of films.
What more can I say? The Hobbit is the best film this year so far… Go and see it already! If you already have, go and see it again in HFR. Seriously, you will be blown away.