On Christmas Day 2001, Mom was standing in line with my cousins, my friends and me, waiting to see The Fellowship of the Ring, so I was pretty happy that she was the one to see An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of The Hobbit, with me. It was a busy shopping day today and as we arrived at the multiplex we were hurrying as we thought ourselves late. The theater door was already closed and balancing my nachos in one hand, I opened the door with the other and ushered Mom through. The theater was empty this evening which I always prefer so we quickly chose seats in ‘middle middle’. We were just in time for the opening production graphics.
When we heard the narrator’s voice I realized I was smiling. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit hold a special meaning for me and I was looking forward to the movie. It was beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Middle Earth was gorgeous as usual and felt familiar, almost like coming home, if that’s possible. It was interesting to see a ‘younger’, less sure Gandalf and Martin Freeman (Bilbo) was thoroughly entertaining. I love it when actors ‘act’, meaning, with their whole selves: body and mind. I appreciated that.
The movie felt a bit prolonged at some points but I am always happy to be in that world, so I can’t really complain. I remember feeling a bit blue at the end of The Return of the King (final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), simple because it was ‘all over’ and I had to say farewell. So, I don’t mind the story of The Hobbit taking it’s time to unfold in three movies. I could’ve done without the singing but that’s the generation I was born into. (We feel odd when people break into song in a movie that’s not labelled as a musical.)
I also didn’t mind the appearance of a few characters who do not appear in the book, simply because this is a film adaptation of the Tolkien’s book and it adds to the story in a way. I heard something once which stuck with me: the idea of characters in novels or stories having lives the author knows nothing about. For me it is like that with some film adaptations of novels, including this one. Then too, The Hobbit is a part of the whole Lord of the Rings franchise in a way.
Even though we opted not to see the movie in 3D, visually, the movie was gorgeous and held my attention. The flight of the eagles was breathtaking. I can imagine that there will be a theme park ride of that sequence one day soon. The grand battle scene in Goblin Town had the pace of the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark coupled with a Jack Sparrow fight scene. A bit overdone, but again, I don’t mind Gandalf outdoing Indy or Jack Sparrow. 🙂
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel tells Frodo, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” That always stuck with me, and in An Unexpected Journey this will:
“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. That is not what I’ve found. I found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.” Gandalf the Grey