If you are a true fan of the J. R. R. Tolkien books, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure” will be a mostly satisfying motion picture that has dazzling vistas and CG effects. The landscapes of New Zealand have always aided this mostly single-plot storytelling. This film is a prequel to “Lord of the Rings.”
After a striking start, which includes a kind of beginning narrative by Ian Holm as Old Bilbo, the movie grinds through about a 30 minute script slog as our little hero with the big feet, Bilbo Baggins, played with an unassuming flair by Martin Freeman, decides whether or not to join a sturdy group of thirteen dwarfs who have shown up at his door and consumed every bit of food in Bilbo’s humble in-ground home in Bag End. They are led by the warrior Thorin Oakenshied, played by Richard Armitage. Ian McKellen as Gandalf the wizard starts the parade of “invaders” by marking Bilbo’s door for the unwelcome visitors.
The mission? Take back the majestic and gold-laced dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the evil (Aren’t they all?) fire-breathing dragon, Smaug. Will Bilbo accept the challenge? Is that ever really a question?
The subjects of an adventurous journey of struggle, the ring with the magical powers and the impending showdown with Smaug propel “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in familiar way for devotees of the series. The Tolkien books were written for youngsters and as so have developed a worldwide legion of people who view theses stories with great affection and anticipation. The movies adapt the storytelling aspects of the books with great detail.
What if you have never read any of the Hobbit books? You’ll probably think the film is too long, slightly repetitive, mostly predictable and visually diverting. I enjoyed the new HFR 3-D. It seemed to add greater clarity, color and perspective, as well as an aura of enhanced fantasy. In St. Louis, the Ronnie’s Cine and the Galaxy Cine are the only two theaters offering the film in the new technology, and I think it’s worth singling out one of these theaters to see this motion picture if you want to get the most out of it. You’ll pay a little more, but it will be worth it.