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home : features : features April 29, 2016

12/17/2012 6:00:00 AM
Reel Watchers: The Hobbit
Linda Tucker
Kingman Resident

At last, the first in a long-awaited Hobbit prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy has arrived. This movie is filmed in 48 frames per second rather than the typical 24. That and the technological improvements since LOTR was released have resulted in much more realistic, crisper and detailed action sequences, and the movie is a feast for the eyes.

The storyline is that Gandalf (Ian McKellum returns) invites set-in-his ways hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on an adventure, to embark on a David vs. Goliath-type quest to win back the dwarf homeland. Held by the dragon Smaug, Bilbo, Gandalf and 13 dwarves are to win back Erebor for Thorin, son of Thrain (Richard Armitage).

Bilbo wants no part initially, but impulsively joins the quest late and meets his destiny in the form of Gollum (played again by Andy Serkis). The decade's worth of improvement to CGI is gorgeous in the full screen shots of emotion and expression apparent in Gollum's face.

Thorin Oakenshield, exiled dwarf king, is more of a heroic figure in this telling of the story, with more positive traits - a flawed hero.

Because LOTR covered three books and had one movie per book, the storyline had to be condensed. Hobbit (which was a shorter book than any of the other three) will also be a trilogy, but will only cover one book. The challenge here was to stretch rather than condense. At 169 minutes, this first of the trio only covers the first 6 chapters of the book; so there is time for songs to be sung and trolls to argue the intricacies of seasoning dwarf meat. Some of the sequences run a little long, but on the other hand, we get more detail, so the story is more fleshed out.

Because the characters and environment are familiar (Elrond, Galadriel, and Sarumen are back), the wow factor we got with LOTR is largely missing. Returning to Tolkien's fantasy world, however, is a pleasure. People in Kingman showed up in costume! I saw a Gandalf and a woman with intricate hair and elf ears poking out on either side as well.

This is still a good escape movie for fans of Tolkien, fantasy, and Middle Earth. Go see it. Be aware that some of the violence might be too much for the younger set.

The Hobbitt is rated PG-13, lasts 169 minutes and was directed by Peter Jackson.

I give it 3 and a half miners.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: nunya business

Obviously you are not a Tolkien fan. If you were you would know that LOTR is actually 6 books in all, not 3. It was later put as a set of 3 books in which each "book" from the 3 book set, actually contained 2 books.

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