THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Review; "See It In 3D And 48fps For The Ultimate Experience"

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Review; "See It In 3D And 48fps For The Ultimate Experience"

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey marks Peter Jackson's long awaited return to Middle-Earth. So, does the film live up to expectations and just how much of a difference does 48fps make? Find out here...

Review Opinion
By JoshWilding - Dec 09, 2012 11:12 AM EST
Filed Under: Fantasy
It's hard to know what to review first; the movie itself or the 48 frames per second format which has for some reason been causing something of an uproar. Well, one can only assume that those who have criticised it are the same people who moaned about DVD's replacing VHS and Blu-ray's later (mostly) making that format obsolete too. After seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it's clear that 48fps is the FUTURE of cinema and not just a gimmick like 3D (which is however used to great effect throughout). It may be a little jarring at first and there are perhaps a handful of scenes in which it feels as if what you're seeing is moving a little too fast, but it vastly improves the moviegoing experience as a whole. It just looks...better! A good comparison would be the difference between standard and high definition. It particularly pays off in action sequences - they've never looked better and imagining something like Marvel's The Avengers being shot like this is enough to make your mouth water. Middle-Earth (well, New Zealand) also looks stunning as the camera glides effortlessly over the stunning vistas. Ignore the naysayers and see this film as director Peter Jackson intended.

As for the film itself, if you didn't love The Lord of the Rings, it's unlikely that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will do much to change your opinion. Despite a lighter tone, this is still very much the same world and fans of the critically acclaimed trilogy will appreciate the many nods and references to them. The difference between that trilogy and this one is of course the fact that this is an adaptation of one book instead of three, so perhaps that's why it leaves you with the impression that it will make for a much better watch when viewed alongside There And Back Again and The Desolation Of Smaug. Occasionally feeling a little over-long (some scenes have a tendency to really drag), it has to be wondered if that's a result of two films being made into three. Regardless, the story that is told here is enjoyable and never gets boring. The humour sometimes feels out of place, but hits the mark far often than it misses. It's also fair to say that the main characters are all well-developed enough that the end of the film leaves them in a very different place to the start, while the scene that An Unexpected Journey ends on is the perfect way to build anticipation for the next chapter.

In terms of character work, it's mainly 'Bilbo Baggins' and 'Thorin Oakenshield' who get the spotlight. Martin Freeman, perhaps best known for his role as 'Dr. Watson' in the BBC series Sherlock, is perfect as the lead character. Bringing the exact right amount of humour and likeability to 'Bilbo', it's hard to imagine anyone else filling this role so perfectly. A stand out performance. Richard Armitage is also great, making 'Thorin' a complicated and thoroughly compelling presence onscreen. Ian McKelken ('Gandalf') is as reliable as ever in terms of quality, while the other returning cast members also impress. The major new additions are of course the band of dwarves, and it's unfortunate that some of them end up being so...forgettable! However, the likes of Aidan Turner ('Kili') and James Nesbitt ('Bofur') still impress and there is of course still another two films for us to get to know the rest of the gang a little better. Special mention goes to Andy Serkis as 'Gollum'. Despite only appearing for around ten minutes, he still manages to steal the show during a battle of riddles with 'Bilbo' which ultimately sets the stage for his role in the previous trilogy perfectly.

In terms of special effects. WETA has really outdone themselves with this one. Creations such as Barry Humphries' 'Great Goblin' and the three trolls just look unbelievably lifelike, making you wonder whether they truly are in fact digital creations or just incredibly convincing prosthetics. In terms of visual effects, it really is the most impressive release of 2012, while the various locations and battle sequences make this arguably the best looking take on J.R.R Tolkien's work yet. With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson has for the most part truly excelled himself. Whether it's as good as the previous instalments in the franchise is an argument for another day, but it's certainly a wonderful and well-crafted adaptation of a book which ultimately couldn't be any more different to that trilogy. Middle-Earth without Howard Shore is like Star Wars without John Williams, so his rousing score here is a welcome (and thoroughly epic) addition. The film might not be perfect, but it really isn't that far off. We're back in Jackson's world and the next two instalments just can't get here soon enough.

Despite a few minor flaws, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a superb (and suitably epic) addition to Peter Jackson's past adaptations of Tolkien's work. See it in 3D and 48fps for the ultimate experience.

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NerdyGeek - 12/9/2012, 11:24 AM
[frick] YEAH!

Far over the misty mountains cold.
To dungeons deep, and caverns old.
The pines were roaring on the height.
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread.
The trees like torchers blazed with light.

Carne - 12/9/2012, 11:31 AM
Got my tickets, can't wait!
Invictor - 12/9/2012, 11:34 AM
@JoshWilding, did you see the new Man of Steel Trailer during the screening?
marvel72 - 12/9/2012, 11:37 AM
i do plan on seeing it,i'm glad you enjoyed it josh.
rocky - 12/9/2012, 11:38 AM
I'm so tired of people using the word gimmick to talk down things they don't like. Yeah color and sound were gimmicks too when first introduced to some snob "purist" I'm sure

The funny thing is that aftr calling 3D a gimmick then says its used to great affect.

Personally I love 3D. Can it be used wrong, hastily and without reason outside of the extra money? of course it can but so can most tools at the disposal of directors
JDUKE25 - 12/9/2012, 11:41 AM
awesome, can't wait for this movie and the Man of Steel trailer.
JoshWilding - 12/9/2012, 11:45 AM
MarauderM: I had my fingers crossed, but no trailers at all unfortunately. Then again, we probably won't get them in the UK regardless!
ironspider12 - 12/9/2012, 11:49 AM
PapaEmeritus - 12/9/2012, 11:50 AM
Whoa! Calm down, man! A LOT of people said that 3D would be the future of cinema as well. I believe in what Peter Jackson stated - 48fps will be just one choice more of experience cinema, like 3D is. Not "da future" of cinema! One thing doesn't eliminates the other! LOL

About the review, i think yours is the only one which rated it maximum that i've read lately. Awesome, i guess! Can't wait to watch The Hobbit!
thunderforce - 12/9/2012, 11:52 AM
It sucks that here my Imax does not have the 48fps only the normal 3d movie theater has the 48 fps . Maybe I will have to go to both .
Maximus101 - 12/9/2012, 11:54 AM
I doubt I'll give it a review like this but I am way more excited to see the star trek prologue!!
Facade - 12/9/2012, 11:57 AM's my understanding that the higher frame rate eliminates the headache aspect of the 3D.

@Josh...5 stars, eh.
BlueHawaiiSurfer - 12/9/2012, 12:01 PM
3D as we know it so far is purely a "gimmick". I think I've seen 2 movies where 3D actually "worked" without making you think about it. They were both animated features. This 48 is going to be the first real step forward since the red and blue shades from decades ago. Sounds like that combined with 3D might actally start making it worth it for anything not animated. Thanks for the review, looking forward to this one on Imax.
TheGambitFreak - 12/9/2012, 12:01 PM
It will be easier for Brits to adapt to the frame considering a lot of BBC programs are shot in such a way that is similar to the 48fps rate.

For an example of how the film is shot, watch the trailer in post-converted 48fps HERE!
DrRockso - 12/9/2012, 12:05 PM
Right on, dude!
ComfortablyNumb - 12/9/2012, 12:05 PM
I'm ready!
FOOM - 12/9/2012, 12:08 PM
Even I'm excited and primed to see this. And I don't even like Tolkein stuff.
Invictor - 12/9/2012, 12:10 PM
@JoshWilding, ah, well at least it'll be online
yourdaddy - 12/9/2012, 12:11 PM
""one can only assume that those who have criticised it are the same people who moaned about DVD's replacing VHS and Blu-ray's later (mostly) making that format obsolete too."

condescending bullshit.

i have never been one of the people who bitch and moan about change. I liked the changes that many CBMs have made while adapting, I like almost every change YouTube has made to it's design over the years, and yeah, I loved DVDs over VHS, and then BluRay over that due to increasing quality of film and experience.

but 48fps isn't just a case of jarring. it just looks stupid.

it is as idiotic to assume that every change is good, as it is to assume every change is bad. there are good changes and bad changes. this is a bad kind. i am well-versed in what 48fps looks like. and the benny-hill comparisons aren't really as off the mark as some think.

nonetheless, i'll go for 24fps, and enjoy this movie.
BlueHawaiiSurfer - 12/9/2012, 12:14 PM
I wouldn't consider anyone "well-versed" in 48 until a few more films are out lol. Wait and see what a few more directors can do with it first.
TheGambitFreak - 12/9/2012, 12:19 PM
If a film has flaws, that take you out of the film, then it is not a 5 Star film, just FYI.
Feedthemachine - 12/9/2012, 12:28 PM
Can't wait for Desolation of Smaug. That film is going to be EPIC.
JoshWilding - 12/9/2012, 12:29 PM
Godzillafart: People keep saying that, but of the 20+ movies I've reviewed for CBM this year, I've only given 5 or 6 of them 5*, lol. :P Perhaps I'm just a little too generous with the books I review...

IM53: Nothing sadly, although it wasn't shown in IMAX anyway!

JoshWilding - 12/9/2012, 12:31 PM
TheGambitFreak: Every film has flaws (even The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises), but that doesn't mean they don't deserve a 5* rating. In The Hobbit's case, the 48fps is a big part of why I went for 5* over 4*.
gaikinger - 12/9/2012, 1:03 PM
I don't think 48 fps is the future at all as it changes everything about cinematography and replaces it with soap- opery, home video looking saturation that makes movies all look the same. Movies look less artistic and less organic with this somehow.
gaikinger - 12/9/2012, 1:04 PM
...trying to put my finger on just what it is..its like it sucks all the ambience away.
soberchimera - 12/9/2012, 1:13 PM
Great review Josh! You've reinvigorated my faith in this movie. Can't wait til Friday.
rise217 - 12/9/2012, 1:19 PM
awesome review... but anything on the MOS trailer
pro346 - 12/9/2012, 1:28 PM
I don't pay much attention to movie reviews but I'm glad you liked it josh! Even if josh gave it no stars and it was 0% on rt im going to see it anyway!
Ceejay - 12/9/2012, 1:37 PM
This is not an adaptation of just one book, it's the adaptation and dramatisation of The Hobbit as well as other short tales from the Appendixes of The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales and especially The Quest for Ereabor.

People are quick to try and blame the films length on the extra material not being needed but that's bollocks. The Hobbit is a book written from one perspective only with no other character but Bilbo's view of events, unlike LOTR. For it to be dramatised into a movie other characters have to be given much needed scenes of exposition as well as other tales from the other books explaining the other events that were going on at the same time like the White Council meetings and Sauron's rise to power under the guise of the the Necromancer.

Too many reviewers have been quick to jump onto the misguided view that its just one book so they must be making up lots of stuff that Tolkien didn't write. The fact is they are adapting more of his original extra material to bring to the screen, most of what a lot of people never bothered reading past LOTR and The original Hobbit book meant for younger readers.
CrimsonReign - 12/9/2012, 1:55 PM
Great review!

Got my tickets already!!
Talontd - 12/9/2012, 3:04 PM
The comments on this site have gone to sh!t...sooooooo many @ssholes...

Thanx for the review @Josh
valeriesghost - 12/9/2012, 3:17 PM
Wait, so people are bitching because of someone's opinion on a film? Yep, I'm in the comments section on CBM.

Get over it Darth. Write your own goddamn review.

Great review josh, nice to hear another opinion on the 48fps, it's making me rethink which format I'll see it in.
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