The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey is part one of a three part movie adaptation of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it is a visually stunning film. The adaptation from book to screenplay is done well.
The tale is lighter, jollier, more fun. Evil seems to have had its day in Middle Earth. Vestiges of this evil still linger though in greed, vengeance, and other division (after all, Middle Earth is a mirror of our own Earth or possibly an ancient age of this Earth). As the fall from harmony, as told in the Silmarillion (the history and creation of Middle Earth), happens similarly to man’s fall, fracturing all of creation, so evil is hidden in the dark places filtering up affecting the psyche of all races of Middle Earth. Yet, a great evil is rearing its presence once again, the Necromancer, poisoning all that surrounds him.
Radagast the Brown, who is akin to St. Francis (not exactly him), brings warning to Gandalf of the presence of a great evil. In a way, it is much like St. Francis bringing a healing arm to a corrupted church in his time—bringing light to a darkened mind. Nonetheless, the Necromancer is raising dead things again, but not bringing wholeness to the dead, only further decay and slavery to the wraith.
The Hobbit is a light, fun tale compared to The Lord of the Rings, yet it is a prelude to a fully active enemy, Sauron, bringing darkness to Middle Earth. In both stories, there is light and hope. When things seem the darkest, hope and rescue is not far behind.
J. R. R. Tolkien portrays good and evil, the weakness of human hearts, hope in the unlikeliest characters, unity between different races, the loyalty and bonding of friendship, and light in darkness very well in all his tales. Peter Jackson does well adapting these themes for the screen.
The movie adaptation could be told well in two movies. The additional back-story and an added antagonist is done well, but takes away from the spirit or atmosphere of the book. Let’s hope the complete trilogy will be well worth the two year wait.