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Customer Review

1,238 of 1,509 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the naysayers!, December 14, 2012
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (DVD)
This movie is FREAKING AMAZING!!! I was getting really worried before going to see it because of some negative reviews, but there is nothing to worry about. If you loved the Lord of the Rings movies, especially the extended editions, then you will love The Hobbit too!

A little bit about me: I grew up on the animated movies, read the books when I was in sixth grade, and have reread them several times over the years. I'm a HUGE fan, but not a "purist", and saw each of the live action films several times in the theaters. I took a class on Tolkien in college (and knew more about the books than even the teacher lol), went to view the original manuscripts at Marquette University in Milwaukee twice, and borrowed most of the History of Middle Earth books from the library but just skimmed them. I'm pretty familiar with much of the appendices/deleted chapters/abandoned attempts at revising The Hobbit and sequelizing Lord of the Rings, etc.

I've been waiting for The Hobbit since 2003, and have been following the production online. When it was announced 5 months ago that Peter Jackson was splitting the story into 3 films (after already completing production on the 2-film adaptation), my heart sank. It's not that I was opposed to turning The Hobbit into a trilogy (despite that it's meant to be a children's story and not an epic), but I just didn't think there was enough story and it seemed like a cash grab that would probably destroy the pacing. But, Peter Jackson hasn't let me down before and so I held out hope. In fact the more I heard him talk about giving the dwarves a bit more character development and backstory and adding in all the stuff about the White Council, I began to look forward to it.

When a couple weeks ago reviews starting coming in saying that, as I had first feared, the movie dragged and the pacing was terrible, I prepared myself for disappointment. Even though hardcore fans on messageboards like theonering.net who had seen the movie early kept saying it was terrific, the negative reviews from professional critics kept coming in. The movie is "bloated" and "dull" and "misses the point", they said. And so I was VERY nervous going to see the movie this afternoon.

I'm pleased to say that not only is the movie incredible, but it's on par with the Lord of the Rings movies. I haven't felt this way about a movie since Fellowship of the Ring 10 years ago. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all night, and I can't wait till I can go see it again. I sat in the theater for nearly three hours with the biggest grin on my face the entire time. The movie didn't feel bloated or stretched thin to me. I was worried that there would be all these scenes that went on too long or belonged on the cutting room floor, but I can't think of anything I would have left out. It was like watching the book acted out on the screen in front of me with really great acting, music, and production values.

The cinematography has really improved in the last 10 years! Wow this movie is beautifully shot! Howard Shore's music is once again great, though there are some little deletions and changes from the Original Soundtrack -- the only one that really bugged me though was the use of the Nazgul theme over Thorin fighting Azog. There was better music there in the Original Soundtrack and changing it was a horrible decision.

I love the added stuff with the White Council/Necromancer. It's all there in Tolkien's appendices and in "Unfinished Tales", and (blasphemy for saying so) depending on how this continues to play out over the next two movies I may end up liking this even better than the book! Either the next film or the one after that will have the Battle of Dol Goldur and, from what I've heard, we will see Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and Galadriel battling werewolves and giant spiders as they try to drive out the Necromancer. I can just imagine how awesome that will be if Peter Jackson pulls it off!

And, yes, this felt to me like a complete movie. One of the reasons I originally hated the idea of a trilogy was I expected to feel short changed by only seeing a small fraction of the story and then having to wait another year. But I felt like there was plenty of story and they got into plenty of adventures.

My only nitpicks are few: I liked the design of the Great Goblin but I thought he acted way too cartoony. My other is there were a couple times where Bilbo and the dwarves fell from a height of like 500 feet and just got back up. They would have been killed. I also thought the character Azog was fine, but why did he have to be all CGI? Why couldn't it have been an actor in makeup like Lurtz in Fellowship of the Ring? Those are really my only nitpicks though.

As I sat in the theater I had a feeling like this is one of the best filmgoing experiences I've ever had. I had the same feeling watching Lord of the Rings. As someone who originally hated the idea of making this into a trilogy, now I say bring it on!!!

UPDATE: I got to see the movie in 48 frames per second (HFR 3D) yesterday. I had only seen it in regular 24fps 3D before. 24fps has been the standard for film since the Silent movie days. The Hobbit is the first movie to be shot at 48fps to give it a sharper look. Unfortunately the technology is new so only a few theaters are equipped to even show it at 48fps. Many of the reviewers were saying they hated it, that it looks like a BBC TV movie. I was still curious to give it a try because it's new technology and it's how Peter Jackson intended you to see the movie, but I didn't want it to distract from my first viewing if I ended up not liking it, so we saw the movie first at 24fps 3D.

Anyway, I liked it and I didn't think it looked "cheap" or like a "soap opera" at all. It looked really sharp and there were some parts where the people looked like they were really right in front of you. In addition to that, motion blur is completely gone now and I've heard from other people who get headaches from watching 3D movies that they were fine watching this one, thanks to the 48fps.

Peter Jackson has confirmed that there WILL be an extended edition dvd/blu ray like they did with the Lord of the Rings movies. So you may want to hold out from buying the theatrical dvd when it comes out and get the extended edition.
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Showing 1-10 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 21, 2012 9:34:37 PM PST
Visa says:
This was a great review, I was thinking the exact same things!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2012 6:26:04 PM PST
Azog wasn't all CG.

Posted on Dec 29, 2012 6:27:39 PM PST
As far as the 48fps though it does look fine - people who don't own HDTVS and aren't used to gaming have cried about it but there is no noticeable difference, they just want to complain for the sake of complaining and I didn't and wouldn't bother listening to them.

Posted on Jan 12, 2013 1:08:38 PM PST
Hailey says:
You just made my day, I was hoping for extended editions of these movies, as the extended Lord of the Rings movies are so amazing. That is wonderful news, thank you!

Posted on Jan 20, 2013 12:40:58 PM PST
Juan says:
Great review. Just wonder if we will be able to see the 48fps at home with the current technology

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 7:55:46 PM PST
Jon Osterman says:
Jameel Aboulhosn is right, Azog was performance capture. Azog wasn't CG. Performance capture USES CG as a tool but it's not technically the same thing. As for the "why"... well Azog was origionally not in this final fight but Peter Jackson wanted to add him in as a villian at the end to add a good finale for the film. So he was actually edited in OVER the origional orc. Pretty interesting actually. They did a simular thing in the Return of the King movie where they edited in a Troll in the Black Gates over what was origionally Sauron in human form (why that was considered a good idea, I will never know, but they got rid of it so that's good).

Posted on Feb 9, 2013 9:51:23 AM PST
I would like to note that you are incorrect about the character Azog. He was played by the actor Manu Bennet from the Spartacus tv series.

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 4:22:19 PM PST
Jared Brown says:
I remember when Lord of the Rings came out, everyone was complaining that it was 3 hours long. Today, a good deal of movies nearly hit the 3 hour mark. Personally, I may get this version of the Hobbit on DVD, as I have all the Theatrical Versions on DVD. As for me, after seeing the movie, it brought me back to when I saw the Fellowship of the Ring for the first time. I loved both of the movies, and I am super excited for the other 2 parts to come out!

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 11:39:43 AM PST
Lee says:
This is how exactly I felt about the movie, great review, same critiques as you, but overall loved it.

Posted on Feb 17, 2013 6:28:49 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2013 6:31:56 PM PST
Gilraen777 says:
I would echo this review almost word for word. I have stated since the movie "Aliens" came out in the early '80's that it has always been my favorite movie, and nothing, not even LOTR has been able to supplant it. But after watching "The Hobbit" I have actually found a new favorite movie. I have been a huge Tolkien fan since my son was in junior high school in the early '90's and one of his teachers found out that we played a lot of D&D and loaned him his own set of The Hobbit and LOTR books. After my son read them, I was able to read tnem, and have never stopped. As soon as I finish the last one I will start all over again and often you will see me at various points in all of them at once. I also went out and bought many of the other books dealing with Tolkien's writings, such as the Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales. So, having said that, Normally I lean toward the "purist" end of the spectrum and was actually upset with some of the treatment of LOTR in the movies. But I understand that the written word doesn't always transfer well to the screen as is and adjustments have to be made. In "The Hobbit", while there had to be some of this(i.e. Radagast and the chase) over all, the movie was really well done and as Matthew said in his review, I also sat for almost three hours with a huge smile(or an expression of wonder) on my face, and am eagerly awaiting the DVD release(of which I am sure I will aquire all incarnations as they release them) and I am certain I will watch it again and again and again into infinity.
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