The first installment of The Hobbit films is an awe inspiring cinematic experience that brings the J.R.R. Tolkien world to life in such amazing detail that you would think it is real. Peter Jackson’s (director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) vision of Middle Earth and his depictions of a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) epic first adventure rekindles fond memories of one of my favourite stories in a richly animated and beautifully delivered way.
Having heard the knocks on this movie for being far too long (almost 3 hours) fans of the book will be happy to know that the reason for the length is that much of the story is still intact. The depth of the story and the history that was created in Tolkien’s world was one of the amazing things about his literary creations. In Jackson’s portrayal, the rich history and character interactions that would usually be deemed un-necessary in a Hollywood film have been left in to develop the story for a more complete telling of the tale. Though I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the editing and changing of the story for the sake of time was one of my main complaints about the LOTR experience and I was very pleased that the Hobbit did not suffer the same fate.
I chose to see the movie in 3D and opted for the HFR (High Frame Rate) version, which uses 48 frames per second as opposed to the standard 24 frames per second. The reason for the frame rate change is that movies in 3D often show some chop or blurriness during scenes containing fast motion and the higher frame rate is designed to stop this. I was not disappointed. Though at times it appeared as if normal sequences may be a touch fast, it was definitely worth the trade as the detail in the scenes packed with dizzying action were jaw dropping in their detail.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was sensational. The 3D pulled you in and left you fully immersed in Tolkien’s universe. The creatures were so rich with detail that when they are placed near live actors it is difficult to visually distinguish that they were not real. Creatures that I had only seen in my imagination, thanks to Tolkien’s descriptions, are brought to life. The look and feel of the 3D makes you want to reach out and touch them. Through much of the film I felt a sense of childhood wonder as the attention to intricate details was paired perfectly with the grandiosity of Jackson’s vision.
The only downside is that the next film is not due for another year, and the final one a year after that. I will have to wait 2 years to see this epic adventure reach its conclusion, though it will be worth the wait. I highly recommend this movie in 3D to any fans of the book, or any fans of a movie with a well-told story and amazing visuals.