Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — While some movie franchises are harder to let go of than others, I would agree that every person has at least one flick or series they wish could keep going even if there is no story left to tell. For many of the more recent generation and certifiable book nerds like my wife, “Harry Potter” was the case, but for those like myself, one very clear instance was the magic captured by the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Being able to witness the magic of literature that set the tone for much of the fantasy world as it is still known was indeed one of the most magnificent cinematic experiences and until today’s subject, was something which could only be relived if we felt like donating 3-4 hours to the DVD player. It was no great surprise how well the flick did in the first week out with so much anticipation to see the story that came before the ring’s destruction. For the most part fans were once again rewarded for their anticipation as “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” respectfully delivers that magical landscape and thrilling adventure.
Much in the same way the previous movies got their start, we find the tale getting started in the Shire, even paying tribute to the same Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Older Bilbo (Ian Holm) at first. Despite how adventurous the older version is, young Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is quite content being safe and well fed at home and is not as pleased as one might think when Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) comes knocking.
He is even less pleased when a company of dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) invades his place of residence as well as food pantry and is pretty much invited to join a life threatening quest to help them get their mountain-like home back. It is only after much reluctance that he does agree and gradually finds there are much more important things worth fighting for than lazy comforts. Perhaps the only thing that might make some grumble understandably is having to wait for the next two chapters, but the personality transformation of such a large crew already helps us get attached at least enough to continue and ends at a decent point that allows for the next two to have something left to tell.
In many ways I really wanted to reread the book this is based on first, but am glad I did not since it has been long enough to still feel like relatively new material. Since this may indeed be the first of Middle Earth for some viewers they did retread some of the Rings material, but it feels like a separate enough film, even when we get to see kooky old Gollum (Andy Serkis) once again.
The music is just as powerful as is the scenery of the New Zealand countryside, which is easy to just get caught in the view and while overall it may not be best film of the year, it’s hard not to accept the characters when it is over. For those who enjoyed the trip the first time around it’s worth at least seeing on the big screen once and highly recommended for all ages who can take sword play and snarky attitudes. If this is my last review because of those pesky Mayans, it was worth it, thus earning “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” four out of five precious.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.