The #LiveFully Hobbit Review

Evan Forester —  December 14, 2012 — 1 Comment

It is no secret that I love Lord of the Rings and the rest of Middle Earth. One of my earliest memories is reading The Hobbit with my dad before bed. I’ve seen the original trilogy dozens of times, and so I have eagerly awaited this new trilogy.

(c) Warner Brothers

That being said, I was fairly skeptical about The Hobbit. I’m not sure why, perhaps it was Star Wars Episode 1 syndrome, or perhaps I loved Lord of the Rings so much that I thought nothing could compare. Having seen the film a couple of days ago, however, I can honestly say my skepticism was ill placed. The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, is an incredible film.

Is the Hobbit better than Lord of the Rings?

This is the big question many will ask. While it is hard to answer after one viewing, I believe the answer is no. That being said, this film is definitely in the same league as the original trilogy.

I would probably give the original movies all 10/10, and the Hobbit is at least a 9/10.

The Highlights:

The special effects have obviously gotten better with time, and I think the set designs have improved as well. The Goblin Kingdom is incredible and the Dwarves’ Kingdom is awe-inspiring.

The acting does not disappoint either. McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey and does a superb job. The dwarves are all unique and fun in their own way. The biggest let down is that we barely get to know some of them, but we have two more movies to do so I suppose. Martin Freeman as Bilbo also does an excellent job. He is a bit unsure of himself in the beginning, but his character really takes off once he steps out his front door.

While there is definitely a weight to the events in this movie, it is more light hearted than the original trilogy. The doom of the world is only a shadow in people’s minds, whereas in Lord of the Rings it is banging on their front door.

Riddles in the Dark is a highlight in it’s own right. Andy Serkis returns as Gollum and nails it. His interaction with Bilbo may become the most quoted part of the movie.

The scenery in the film speaks for itself: once again it is gorgeous. The music is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings at times, and yet stands out as its own work of art. Throughout the film, there are several song pieces, set locations, and situations that will remind you of the original trilogy.

The Length:

A fair warning, the movie is just under 3 hours. Now, I love the fact that it is long. There are some who will not feel the same way. Could this have been shorter? Of course, but Jackson prefers to spend the extra time to develop characters. When you think about the greatest classic films of all time, many of them are 3, or even 4 hours long. But they’re fantastic films!

And I think this one is too. If you have a short attention span, just prepare yourself. Don’t be fooled into thinking the movie is almost over until you see the Lonely Mountain in the distance.

Some have criticized Jackson for making the films too long and adding a third one just to earn more money. I don’t agree. Knowing what I know about Jackson, the guy doesn’t really care about making more money. He has plenty. He is simply making the Hobbit film the way he wants to see it. He is a Tolkien fanatic and always has been, so naturally he is going to go in depth (as Tolkien himself did).

The 3D:

Some of you may know, this film can be viewed in 3 different ways: Standard 2d, Standard 3D, or a High Frame Rate 3D. Normally, movies are filmed at 24 fps (frames per second). That means, every second has 24 still images placed together to create a moving picture. As far as I know, this is the first film to be released at 48fps, which means there are twice as many images every second.

I have only seen one format, which was standard 3D. While the 3D is excellent, I am not a huge fan of 3D in general. I find the action hard to follow. That being said, perhaps the higher frame rate will solve that problem. If I were you, I would either watch it in 2D, or go all out and give 3D 48fps a try. It could be the future, or it could become a disaster. Either way, you’ll always be able to say you were there first.

#LiveFully Themes:

Lord of the Rings has been used by everyone to illustrate a Christian theme or two, and the Hobbit will probably be used in the same way. 3 Themes that really stuck out to me that you should look out for:

1) Adventure is out there, but you have to get out the front door: I think many of us want to live a life full of adventure. The problem is we don’t believe it can happen to us, and so we sit on the couch and watch movies about others going on adventures. It is certainly more convenient, but never as good as the real thing. Sometimes, the greatest enemy is our convenience and comfort. Try stepping outside every once and a while, you never know where it will take you.

2) Humble deeds over evil: When Gandalf is asked why he chose Bilbo for the quest, his response was that evil is not typically held back by huge demonstrations of power, but rather by small acts that normal people do everyday. While Jesus certainly had power, he did not save the world by showing up with angels and blowing the Romans to smithereens. He came in humility, taking on the form of a servant. Likewise, we too can do a great amount to bring grace and peace to the world through our simple, humble daily actions. What can you do today that will bring a bit more good into the world?

3) The Desire for Home: One of the most touching scenes occurs when Bilbo is asked why he chose to stay with the Dwarves. I won’t tell you his answer, but it illustrates the inherit longing for home that all people have. There are hundreds of songs, films, poems, books, and artwork that revolve around our longing for home. In my mind, this is but a shadow of our desire for our true home: The Kingdom of God.

Final Thoughts:

The Hobbit is an incredible film and certainly worth watching. I’ll see it at least twice in theaters (if not thrice). The action is large and fun, the acting superb, and the set pieces are out of this world. Some will struggle with the length, and though the stakes may not feel as high in this film, the danger is still very real and will only grow as the trilogy goes on. Despite their being zero speaking men or women in this movie, the themes and emotions are remarkably human. Fans of Lord of the Rings will find much to love here, and can rest assured that this is a great time at the movies.

Final Score: 9/10

Have you seen the Hobbit yet? What did you think?

Evan Forester

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This post was by Evan, an adventure enthusiast learning to #LiveFully in New Zealand. He now writes for Embracing Exile.