I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogies; both the written as well as the movie versions. I’ve read the books at least five times each and seen the movies about twice as that. So of course, I was looking forward to ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ with a great deal of enthusiasm. Richard Armitage and Benedict Cumberbatch were just plain bonuses.
Yes, the movie let me down. The beginning was too slow for a book that had an adventure on almost every page. I was flabbergasted when it took 40 minutes for the dwarves and Bilbo and Gandalf to start on their journey! Sure, it was great to see Elijah Wood as Frodo once again, but there is such a thing as too much nostalgia. I suppose the movie-makers had to put in extra stuff, otherwise how will they ever make a trilogy out of a 210 page book? And that’s another thing–I had no idea this was supposed to be a trilogy! Maybe that’s one of the reasons for my disappointment.
Another reason was the non-appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug the Dragon. Ever since ‘Sherlock’, I’ve been madly in love with him. Benedict Cumberbatch, I mean, not Smaug the Dragon. Although I’m sure he’s wonderful too. Ahem. Anyway, even though Cumberbatch only has a voice role in the movie, I’d been awaiting it fervently. So imagine my shock–and remember, I hadn’t the slightest clue it was the first of three films–when the movie came to an abrupt, anticlimactic end! And no Cumberbatch. I could only curse the movie makers to the deepest pits of heck, and berate myself for being so dense as not to guess the to-be-continued nature of the movie, even after 2.5 hours!
Thankfully, the movie had some good things too. Ian McKellen was his own incomparable self as Gandalf, and Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins was convincingly self-deprecating and–comfortable, that’s how I keep thinking of him. Richard Armitage was as gorgeous as I remembered him from BBC’s ‘North and South’; never again will I view Middle Earth dwarves in quite the same manner.
The movie, unlike the book, tells us about the motivation behind the dwarves’ journey to the Lonely Mountain (which, I think, comes from ‘The Quest of Erebor’, published posthumously by JRR Tolkien’s son). This back story was one of the saving graces of the movie, apart from Richard Armitage and the cinematography.
All this talk of good-looking actors has mellowed me down. Once again, I become a traitor to my own views, and eagerly await the next installment of this movie, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’.