Biltrix Gives Peter Jackson’s Hobbit 5 Stars and 2 Thumbs Up!
Tolkien fans, you will not be disappointed. Peter Jackson portrayed Bilbo Baggins’ Unexpected Journey in an way that would have made J.R.R. Tolkien proud. To sum it all up in one word, an Adventure!
Whether you’ve read the Hobbit or you haven’t, you are going to love this movie. Jackson’s action filled fantasy triller excites and awes at every moment with epic battle scenes, unbelievably real CGI, breathtaking cinematography, and a great storyline that remains faithful to the original classic while integrating several unexpected gems from Tolkienese lore. I am not going to spoil the surprise by filling in the details. You need to see and enjoy every line and every spectacular moment for yourself.
Warning: You need to go prepared…
In order to go unnoticed, I cleverly disguised myself as Gandalf the Grey. My makeshift traffic-cone-wrapped-in-duct-tape hat worked like a charm! I was able to enjoy the film without any pesky distractions (though the ushers did force me take off the hat after sufficient pleading from those who were sitting behind me — Fools!).
As the film got underway, my popcorn and I were drawn into Bilbo’s adventure — trekking across Middle-Earth to slay Smog the Dragon — accompanied by Gandalf and troop of 12 uncouth dwarves.
As one might expect, there were orks and wargs, trolls and goblins lurking to kill at every turn — not to mention those nasty spiders! (although Jackson reserved Bilbo’s brave stand against the Spiders of Mirkwood for the sequel, so you can be sure there will be plenty of action left for the second movie).
A rather pleasant (or perhaps unpleasant) surprise was the appearance of Radagast the Brown (unkempt appearance, that is), who is only mentioned but never actually seen in any of Tolkien’s major works. Several other cameos from the Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings made it onto the screen that were never mentioned in The Hobbit (i.e., the book). Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any more surprises.
I will, however, say that these creative liberties were tactfully introduced — which is not something I could say for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. This time he definitely got it right. Jackson integrated these “connecting elements” and wove them into the story so well that at times I caught myself asking if the lines and characters he imported from other works of the Tolkien corpus were not actually in The Hobbit in the first place. I have to applaud Peter Jackson’s subtle infusion of Silmarillion backstory into The Hobbit’s plot. It came across as convincing and seamless as the CGI and other special effects.
I most appreciated the acting and the selection of lines from the book — well timed, well placed, and well delivered. Two soliloquies in particular invoked a noble catharsis.
The first was Gandalf’s explaining, near mid-film, why he chose the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. His response, a bewildered “I don’t know!” Yet he went on to explain that he made the wise choice because he was not convinced that the great impending evil that threatened to overrule Middle-Earth could only be conquered by the mightiest forces of good (namely his fellow wizards and himself). Rather, he believed it to be the small, everyday acts of goodness — charity — that would ultimately raise goodness to triumph over the forces of evil. This is perhaps the most underlying motif of the whole Tolkien series. Kudos to Jackson for presenting his audience with the most cherished virtues and ideals of the great mind of Tolkien!
The second moving moment (nicely placed between the two most intense battle-scenes of the movie), was Bilbo’s answer to why he did not desert the troop and return to his comfortable home when he had the chance. He responded to the querying dwarves (some of them arrogantly), that he knew that his place was not to be with them, but rather he was meant to be safe and snug in his beloved hole in the ground back in the Shire; yet knowing that these rag-tag dwarves did not have a home, he was willing to fight with them against the evil force that drove them out of their rightful homeland. He was willing to forsake his own home, in order that they may have theirs.
Tolkien understood and wanted to transmit what makes simple men and women like you and me to be great. What is it that moves us out of our comfort zone to courageously take up arms, so to say, against greater forces than we could possibly overcome on our own? The answer can only be virtue — self-sacrifice, courage in the face of insuperable odds, noble resilience, and perhaps most of all, fellowship.
My respects to Mr. Jackson for a fine job representing this great story that still speaks to our times. My recommendation is not that you should see The Hobbit only to enjoy it, but most of all, because its message is pertinent and important.