Peter Jackson lucked into The Lord of the Rings-saving his legacy from being the director of the WORST MOVIE EVER MADE: Peter Jackson’s King Kong. So now Peter has decided to set his entire career in Middle Earth. I fully expect him to crank out The Silmarillion next.
So what about The Hobbit Part 1? I liked it. Middle Earth is a wonderful place and I have no problem visiting it for three hours at a time. I like all the familiar faces and I even have a soft spot for the often terrible CGI monster effects. The Hobbit is a mostly fun story with the occasional beheading tossed in to give it some gravity.
The cast has a couple of surprises, Sylvester McCoy of Doctor Who fame plays a slightly mad Wizard called Radagast the Brown. I didn’t recognize his face, but I did notice his name in the credits. Another familiar name showed up in the credits:Benedict Cumberbatch-who played the part of a briefly glimpsed evil silhouette in the first movie. Several members of the gang from The Lord of The Rings showed up. Good to see them all.
The story is split into two parts, one set in the present-which appears to be just before the opening of the first LOTR movie and one set sixty years in the past where all the serious business of fighting trolls and goblins takes place. The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey is a long film, but it didn’t feel all that long. There was always something going on and our heroes were always just a hair’s breadth away from being killed.
One of the special effects put to work on The Hobbit was a film speed of 48 frames per second-twice the normal speed. I didn’t watch it in 3D, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t notice any difference at all. I have noticed when watching shows like Game of Thrones in High Definition that the sets and costumes look a lot more like sets and costumes and a lot less like a real world. I didn’t notice any different about The Hobbit, but a number of people I know who did see the film in 3D reported having headaches afterwards.
Middle Earth, like the world of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Harry Potter, is a place I am willing to visit for the rest of my life-even if it does veer off from the source material and beat new paths through the wilderness.