By Nolan P. Smith, Pastrami Nation
(Apple Valley) The Lord of the Rings film trilogy brought the literary masterpiece by J.R.R Tolkien to a new audience, an audience that was blown away by the epic nature of Middle Earth. Now, in 2012, the world is once again invited back to the world filled with dwarves, wizards, and, of course, hobbits. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first in a trio of films that serves as a prequel to the Lord of the Rings. So does the enormity of the film measure up to its predecessors?
Director Peter Jackson returns to the franchise beloved by so many across the world, and does so in grand fashion. Set 60 years before the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit focuses on Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a young and unadventurous hobbit whose life changes forever with the visit of a certain wizard, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen). Gandalf brings with him a band of displaced dwarves, looking for revenge on the dragon that took their kingdom. Led by the new King of the dwarves, Thorin (Richard Armitage), the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo set off on an unbelievable adventure.
The magic, the wonder, the amazement of Middle Earth is back, and it impresses throughout the film. From the attack on the dwarf kingdom by Smaug the dragon, to the battles with trolls, goblins, orcs, giants and more, this film pulls you away from reality for nearly three hours. As being the first part of a trilogy, I had feared that the action might be light for the initial outing: I couldn’t have been more wrong. The action, the battles, the sense of life and death are done so well, that you really don’t know who is going to live or die by the time the credits roll.
Peter Jackson has another massive hit on his hands, as this first film of The Hobbit franchise has set the series off to a fantastic start. Elves, dwarves, wizards: they’re all here. Plus, there are many underlining plotlines here for Lord of the Ring fans to get excited about, as we know what happens, but not how it all came to be. A perfect movie to end the year with, I whole-heartedly recommend The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for anyone looking for an escape at the movie theater this holiday season.