The first installment of the adaption of 'The Hobbit' by J. R. R. Tolkien has finally come out in theatres. Peter Jackson, the director of 'The Lord of the Rings' film adaptions is the one directing the 'The Hobbit' as well. With some federally mandated days off from work, I was able to attend a screening of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.' I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.
The beginning of the movie was a nice tie in to 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.' We get to see the few moments between Frodo and Bilbo before the "No Admittance Except on Party Business" sign is hung on Bilbo's gate. It was a nice way to bridge the gap between 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit.' As one may remember from 'The Lord of the Rings,' Bilbo is writing out his version of 'There and Back Again.'
The movie itself is simply beautiful. The landscapes used for Middle Earth are breathtaking. Once again, Jackson incorporates sweeping areal views of the land during the parts of the movie where the characters are travelling. Those views help to give a better feel to how long a journey this will be, and far how the group has to go before they reach their destination.
In addition, the costumes and make-up for the movie were as good or even better than 'The Lord of the Rings.' Each dwarf has their own style, which helps the viewer to keep them separate in their mind. Sometimes in movies such as these, the characters can tend to look too similar and wear similar clothes, and it gets hard to keep track. With the dwarves in 'The Hobbit,' they each look different, with different hair styles, beards and beard lengths, and different accessories. Those small touches also help to bring out more personality from characters who are not always speaking on camera.
'The Hobbit' is exciting as well, and has a few touches of humor that help break up the seriousness of what is happening during this group's journey across Middle Earth. Even the character of Gollum is expanded out in this film, and is much more interesting, in my opinion, than he is in 'The Lord of the Rings' movies.
And true to Jackson style, the movie ends on a good note, where all the characters are safe. Since we already know that the story is being presented in three parts, we know that there will be more danger along the way, but at least for now, the viewers can leave the theatre without hanging on a thread of what is going to happen to the characters.
Lord of the Rings lovers will most likely love this movie as well. Peter Jackson's print is on this film, and it makes it that much more special to include it with his Lord of the Rings project. In that way, we know that the films will be seemless and smooth, and I have a feeling that the end of the last installment will bring us back around to the beginning of 'The Lord of the Rings' once again.