Note: For those who have not yet seen the movie, have no fear - this review does not give away any of the plot, nor contain any spoilers!
Today, our family went to the cinema to view the new movie, 'The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey'. We're always a bit cautious viewing a movie that is based on a great work of literature, and have come to expect that parts will be left out or changed, and that the movie won't quite live up to expectations. Sometimes, we find that actors grate on us, or scenes just don't look the same as they did when we read the book, or that the story line seems rushed to fit in with the screen time allocated for the film. I also often find it difficult to sit through an enitre movie, preferring to get up and move around, so given that 'The Hobbit' is nearly three hours long, I knew this would be a challenge.
But we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, the Hobbit 'purists' will find parts changed, stretched, or unnessarily presented in a different way to the book, but for the most part, the movie follows the story line very well. The actors do a brilliant job - and I was stunned to see that the elves looked younger than they did in Lord of the Rings - even though they were the same actors, and obviously would have aged somewhat since the making of the last LOTR movie. Given that The Hobbit is set before LOTR, the makeup artists and computer graphics personnel did a fantastic job! And, I have to say, Cate Blanchett looks amazing! The producers also made an excllent choice in selecting the actor who played the part of Bilbo, and you could just imagine that this person was, in fact, a younger version of the hobbit we see in LOTR. The scenery was spectacular, the filming was fabulous, and the special effects were simply superb. I was glued to the screen from the moment it began until the end - with only a short 'lapse' in the middle as my mind wandered a little - but a dose of sugary malteezers soon fixed that!
But what I loved most about the movie was that it did not feel, in any way, 'rushed'. I remember being so disappointed with the Harry Potter movies, as so much was squeezed into those ninety-minute films. You felt like you were simply jumping from scene to scene as they tried unsuccesfully to fit everything in. Not so in this case. It was a beautiful, relaxing film, where you could feel the tension building as Bilbo slowly crept through the cave, or that moment when Sting glowed blue, and you knew orcs were on the approach. Some scenes we frighting, others were beautiful, and some were just plain funny!
I am glad that The Hobbit will be spread out over 2 or 3 films - Peter Jackson has done an excellent job, and we look forward to the next instalment, and following Bilbo on his adventure through Middle Earth.