Top Five… Reasons we like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
You know that moment you get – if you’re lucky – while watching a movie when you suddenly realise, ‘I’m flipping into this!’? Well, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it happened to me when the wolf thingys were chasing the old man on the sled being pulled by bunnies. For all the hushed tones in which adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s famous works are spoken of, it’s easy to forget sometimes that they are fun. A load of bunkum maybe, but fun. Here’s five reasons why we thoroughly enjoyed Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth.
*** THIS POST IS SPOILER FREE, APART FROM THAT BIT ABOVE ABOUT THE OLD MAN ON THE BUNNIES SLED BEING CHASED BY THE WOLF THINGYS ***
5. Martin Freeman
It was hard to get that excited about the casting of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, mainly because it was so obvious it hurt. But sometimes the obvious choice is the best one. See also Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. Freeman doesn’t do anything too flashy here, yet he’s such a winning performer and brings perfect underdog sensibility to the part that you can’t help but go with it. Tolkien’s books are all about the little guy overcoming the odds. Fighting in the First World War will do that to you.
4. The NeverEnding Story
Not only did Jackson steal from The Fellowship Of The Ring for The Hobbit, he also pilfered from arguably the greatest movie of all time. Kind of. To say any more would be spoilery.
Not as cuddly as hobbits or as goody two shoesy as elves, dwarves are the rock stars of Middle-earth. They like burping and singing and money. They’re basically the England rugby team, but more beards and more fun. They’re great.
One of the few good things about The Two Towers and The Return Of The King was good old Gollum. Okay, so he didn’t know what potatoes are, but we love ‘im. It’s great to have him back. Like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, you can just forget he gets shot while reading on the bog/thrown into a fiery pit. Yeah Frodo, you little git, we saw you push him. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Gollum is cuddly – like when Bill Murray turns up in Zombieland, he almost elicits a huge cheer. His one scene with Bilbo is the film’s highlight. I for one could have watched them play their riddle game for at least another hour. That will probably be on the DVD extras.
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
The new Hobbit movie is not without its faults – it’s 569 minutes long, for starters – but it recaptures the great sense of adventure of the first Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship Of The Ring. Heck, it’s practically a remake of it, following the same template from opening Bag End hijinks through to bearded guys starting into the distance to set up Part 2. But if you’re going to redo a film, why not choose a great one.
An Unexpected Journey has the same camaraderie that made Fellowship so great – you actually care what happens to the characters. And Gandalf is still Gandalf the Grey. Is it just me, or did he become way more boring once he went White? Just as Strider turned dull once he transformed into a ‘chosen one’ saviour type Aragorn. Just as the thrilling first Lord of the Rings movie gave way to the dreariness that was The Two Towers and The Return Of The King. You know, talking trees, that type of crap. Well, fair play to Jackson, because he’s gone back to basics with the first Hobbit movie. And it’s great fun.