Here is the promised review! I would like to know that this is the first movie review I have ever written, but I hope you will not hold it against me. Overall, I liked the movie a lot, but I think it would have been better if certain parts either had been added in or left out.
First of all, I will go through the things I liked about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The acting was terrific. Martin Freeman nailed his role as Bilbo Baggins. Ian McKellen was just as good as he was in The Lord of the Rings. Richard Armitage played his character perfectly. And, I also thought Barry Humphries did an excellent job as the Great Goblin. Finally, Andy Serkis once again did a masterpiece with Gollum.
I also enjoyed seeing Saruman (Christopher Lee) when he was still good. You still can't like him that much. However, I found it a little surprising when Gandalf grimaced when he greeted Saruman. In the Lord of the Rings, before he found out Saruman had sided with Sauron, Gandalf respected and honored Saruman as his superior, and gave no indication of not liking him. That was one of the parts I thought could be left out.
Sylvester McCoy did a good job as Radagast. Radagast was different than I expected. In the book, he was more serious, and although he could communicate with animals, the book gave no indication that he was different from everyone else. Still, I like the old, strange wizard. It is really hard to describe him, because it is completely evident that he is in complete control of all his faculties, even if he appears and acts a little addled.
The special effects artists of Weta Digital did a fantastic job. The palace-like interior of Erebor and the goblin city nearly matched the amazing scenery of New Zealand. The makeup artists, too, were exemplary. (The dwarves' beards were awesome!)
The original songs from the book were also a great addition. Overall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was more fun and lighter-hearted than The Lord of the Rings, but then, so was the book.
The end of the movie was perfect. It gave you a sense that there is a lot more to come. At least enough to fill two more movies.
Now, sadly, I have to get to the things I didn't like about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. First, I think there was too much action and too little plot. Now don't get me wrong, the action in it was great, but there was a little too much. I would have liked it a lot better if it focused more on the story. Instead, it's just one fight scene after another.
Another aspect that should have been left out is the rude character of the dwarves as a whole. At Bag End, they were too much like a frat group. In the book, they were definitely unrefined and had bad manners, but really, belching contests? Later, when they were at Rivendell, even though the elves and dwarves did not like each other very much, there were way too many laughs at the elves' expense.
Also, Bilbo being covered in troll-mucus could have and should have been left out. The trolls acted more like Shrek than the trolls of The Lord of the Rings.
I also did not like the addition of Azog the Defiler and his white warg. They were mentioned once in a footnote in The Hobbit, but that is all. It added too much to the story. The movie would have been a lot better if he was just excluded. If he was, there would have been less time fighting and more time to expand the plot.
To sum it all up, I would give The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 8 out of 10. I know a lot of you will disagree with this (hopefully more of you saying I was too critical than not critical enough!), but I will say the movie did not live up to all my expectations. However, the expectations it did fulfill make me more than willing to wait an entire year for the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
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