Official trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s the first of a three film series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit. The other two are The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies, and together they act as a prequel to the epic Lord of The Rings (LOTR) film trilogy.
The cast of An Unexpected Journey includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis. Peter Jackson directed all the movies in the two trilogies; and a few actors also star in both series.
The Hobbit follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo who’s the main protagonist of LOTR. I’m a fan of LOTR but not sure if I’m going to like the new trilogy. The cinematography looks great and it may be a better series overall, but the backgrounds and stories look all too similar.
They shot most of the scenes in New Zealand; and hence it makes sense to have the world premiere in Wellington, the country’s capital city, on November 28. The rest of the world will have to wait until December or later to catch the show; Malaysians will get it on December 12.
Update and verdict
Writing this update (context below) after binge-watching the film series in 2015.
The Hobbit is actually a pretty good trilogy, more entertaining than I anticipated. The main problem is that it has The Lord of The Rings as predecessor; comparisons are inevitable and LOTR is simply better.
The Hobbit excels on technical side, such as costumes and visual effects. That’s kinda expected as these things tend to improve overtime in the film industry because of experience and tech development.
LOTR has stronger characters and plots though. The stories are more in-line as a trilogy, while The Hobbit feels like a patch-up of two to three different movies. You can take out the humans and the elves and it won’t dent much of the show; they are simply there for the grand finale (the five armies).
The Hobbit also lack an antagonist like Sauron or Saruman in LOTR; the orc chieftain and the dragon don’t have that presence. The good characters paled in comparison too, there’s nothing extra to the recurring folks, and the new ones lack the charm; and the elf-dwarvish love story is just odd.
Martin Freeman shines as Bilbo Baggins though. There’s not much to the character but his body language and facial expression give the role a new life. The hobbit feels like a race of its own with distinctive behaviours and habits instead of a tiny human. Freeman deserves lots of credits for that.