Yesterday, thanks to roommate M's work, I was able to go see The Hobbit. Though I've been sick the past four days, I bucked myself up to go see it because, let's be hones, it's THE HOBBIT! I've only been counting down for a year now.
Title: The Hobbit
MPAA rating: PG-13 (fantasy violence, no blood)
My rating (not that it matters, since this is a pretend scale anyway): ****
To start off my review, I'll start with casting choices. The past two years I've become a big fan of Martin Freeman (Bilbo) by watching BBC's "Sherlock", and then realizing I'd seen him in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) (he was also in "The Office" [UK]). I think he was the perfect choice for Bilbo. The Hobbit, as a story, is a lot more lighthearted than than The Lord of the Rings trilogy is, and Freeman's mix of comedic and dramatic acting was perfect for the little hobbit going on an adventure. I also think Richard Armitage is a good actor (you can see him in BBC's North and South, and "Robin Hood") who has perfected the brooding stare. He plays the tortured dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield well. The other twelve dwarves were well cast (and costumed). Of course, Sir Ian McKellen back as Gandalf.
The filming was beautiful (we didn't watch in 3D), as were the sets. I thought Bag End looked exactly like something out of a fairytale. The costumes were nice too (as a side note, elves get the coolest clothes!).
The only thing I really have negative, is that I'm still not exactly sure why it was necessary to split the book into three three-hour movies. The book is not nearly as complicated as the books in LOTR, and the movie, while it didn't necessarily drag, was a little slow, and I felt that one movie could have done it, possibly two. It's the three movie thing that confuses me. Anyway, there were a lot of additions to the story that aren't in the book. I'm not a huge Tolkien fanatic, so I've never read The Silmarillion, which I've been lead to believe a lot of the extra story comes from. I did just reread The Hobbit this year, but I read so much that I tend to forget details, but I'm pretty sure that there weren't any Orcs hunting Thorin's company, nor do I remember Thorin not really liking the elves . . . .
Anyway, I'm hoping that Peter Jackson will quiet all my fears about it being too drawn out in three movies. This one was good, and had the same beauty as LOTR (in fact, I think the beauty was even greater in this one). I'd recommend seeing it.