run time: 169 mins
considered: Adventure, Fantasy
starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch
movie summary: A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on an “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug. (www.imdb.com)
my thoughts: The last time anyone thought or heard from Frodo (Elijah Wood) and the gang down in Middle Earth was back in 2003 after the powerful One Ring was destroyed. Nine years later in 2012 we are taken back there, but this time follow the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on his adventures and discovery of the One Ring.
Our journey starts at Bilbo’s 111th birthday (which is featured in the first Lord of the Rings film) where he is writing his memoirs for his nephew Frodo. The story he is writing begins with the rich king Thror who collected all the gold possible and stored it deep in the vaults of his castle located in the Lonely Mountain. One day the evil dragon Smaug attacks the fortress and drives all the dwarves away to claim the gold and mountain for himself. The Wood-Elves stop by the battle but decide not to risk any elves for the fight which then creates bad blood between the dwarves and elves.
Thorin (Richard Armitage) the grandson of the former King Thror has been waiting for over 50 years for revenge when he meets Gandalf the Gray (Ian McKellen). Together they plan to meet in the Shire for a 12 dwarf surprise party at Bilbo’s house. Inside the dwarfs eat everything in sight while Gandalf convinces Bilbo the group needs his help on a journey back to the Lone Mountain. He thinks the idea is crazy, hates all his unwelcome guests, and flat-out rejects the offer, before reconsidering in the morning.
First the group encounter some trolls in the forest who kidnap them and want to eat them. Thankfully Bilbo is smart enough to talk his way out of the situation which allows them to raid the troll’s cave and get some precious valuables. The journey continues to Riverdell for a meeting of the White councillors on how to deal with Thorin’s plan to take back the Lone Mountain. During the meeting the dwarves leave early and within a few hours are captured again by goblins and presented to the Great Goblin under ground.
Bilbo is separated from the group during the kidnap and ends up in a cave where he meets the ugly creature Gollum. Preoccupied with his potential dinner kill, Gollum drops a beautiful gold ring that Bilbo now has in the pocket. Shortly after Gollum starts losing his mind once he realizes he doesn’t have the ring anymore and attempts to attack Bilbo. By accident Bilbo puts the ring which turns him invisible. This new secret power allows him to make his way out of the cave to rejoin the group who are now in a battle with some Orcs. He grabs his sword and tries to help in what is shaping up to be a lose cause until Gandalf shows up with some eagles to rescue everyone. When everyone gets dropped off the Lonely Mountain can be seen off in the distance, but the group must act fast because the Orcs are still in hot pursuit.
I was never really big into the Lord of the Rings series because the first time I watched them it was extremely confusing. Since then I have developed a better understanding of the storyline and the happenings of Middle Earth which allowed me to enjoy the Hobbit for what it is, a prequel. There are a bunch of characters that appear in both trilogies which will allow for intriguing moments and storylines. Just like in the previous three films, the scenery is spectacular tied in with lots of hobbit humor. Martin Freeman is perfect as the young Bilbo Baggins who goes from uninterested tag along to one of the group’s leaders in just a few short days. Something tells me that Bilbo will only become more of an important figure as the Hobbit series goes on, so it will be nice to see his transformation progress over the next two movies.
The Hobbit is a great beginning to the prequel trilogy that will make Lord of the Rings fan happy and other moviegoers excited after seeing a good film.
my star rating: 8 out 10