The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey With A Few Detours

December 19, 2012 at 8:18 am

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey With A Few Detours | The Hobbit Review 2012

WELCOME BACK MIDDLE EARTH!

It’s impossible to truly articulate just how much I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Leading up to the release, I created 9 Middle Earth posts including a Top 30 Countdown of the series’ best moments.  It’s safe to say, I didn’t force myself to write those posts.  I love writing about Middle Earth and what it means to me.

XTRA | Check out all my Middle Earth related posts here.

To me, the Lord of the Rings is more than just a groundbreaking trilogy.  It’s a source of inspiration in my own screenwriting journey.  For that, I will always be thankful.  Having said all that, you can imagine how excited I was to finally see The Hobbit after years of development.  At long last, we get to return to Middle Earth.

I loved the first chapter of this new trilogy.  It’s packed with amazing battles, creatures and moments worthy of Middle Earth.  It’s definitely entertaining but allow me to quote Bilbo himself by saying this film feels a bit stretched…

“Like butter scraped over too much bread.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey begins with a mission.  The dwarves lost their home to a ferocious dragon named Smaug.  It is their goal to reclaim their home.  Thanks to Gandalf the Wizard, they are joined by Bilbo and the adventure begins…  At it’s core, the LOTR trilogy was about Frodo and the One Ring.  Here, the mission is to defeat Smaug.  Simple enough except once the story is setup, the film tends to go off on tangents for over an hour.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review 2012

Some of these episodes are more entertaining than others while some (like giant fighting mountains) seem out of place.  It doesn’t have the same focus but that’s what happens when you stretch one book into three films.

When the Fellowship of the Ring was released, I lot of people were disappointed by what they left out.  For example, the episode featuring Tom Bombadil.  It made me curious about the scene and I wondered what it would be like on the big screen.  The Hobbit feels like Peter Jackson’s attempt to appease those fans by including everything and more.  So while I felt the first half of the film was stalling, I can’t really complain because we do get to see more Middle Earth.

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

Normally, an hour of filler would absolutely kill a film but it’s a testament to Jackson’s directing skills that The Hobbit doesn’t die.  Each of the ‘detours’ are packed with the rich history of J.R.R Tolkien’s world as well as delightful references to the LOTR trilogy.  Characters we love return and we truly get a sense that something evil is coming.  Sauron.

Eventually, the film finds it’s focus and that’s when The Hobbit truly shines.  I absolutely adored the second half of An Unexpected Journey.  This is highlighted by Bilbo’s famous encounter with Gollum.  It was great to see one of the greatest characters in all of fiction back on the big screen.  From a technical perspective, Gollum has never looked better.  The technology behind this tortured soul has most certainly improved and watching him on an IMAX screen is spectacular.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review 2012 Gollum

Throughout the game of riddles we also follow the dwarves into the heart of Goblin town.  The whole Goblin escape is truly breathtaking on the big screen and a reminder that we are going to see MORE incredible battles in the next two films.  Indeed, Middle Earth has returned in a big way.

I had my complaints about the lengthy first half but The Hobbit is still a wildly entertaining movie.  It sucks that The Desolation of Smaug is a year away but hopefully we’ll have an extended edition Blu Ray before then.  The Lord of the Rings extended editions boast, in my opinion, the best special features of all time.  I can’t wait for more.

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Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit 2012

Top 10 Moments: The Two Towers

December 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

The Lord of the Rings Top 10 Moments Countdown continues with The Two Towers.  In part 1 of this series, I counted down the top 10 moments of The Fellowship of the Ring.  Narrowing the extended edition down to 10 moments wasn’t easy and The Two Towers was no different.  It’s hard to select specific moments from a film that features the battle at Helm’s Deep, Gollum, Ents and more.  There are simply too many classic moments I couldn’t fit in this countdown.

Click here for The Fellowship of the Ring

Click here for The Return of the King

Click here for The Top 30 Lord of the Rings Moments (Coming Soon)

HONORABLE MENTION: Gimli Pile Up

10. GANDALF VS BALROG 2: THE WIDE SHOT

If you’ve ever seen the special features, there’s a great sequence devoted to this Wizard vs Demon battle.  Pulling out for this breathtaking wide shot was a genius move by Peter Jackson.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

9. NUMBER 43

“He was twitching because he’s got my axe embedded in his nervous system”

Gimli and Legolas compete with each other throughout the trilogy but this moment really cemented their friendly rivalry.  Not a lot of respect for that dead Uruk Hai but I suppose it’s to be expected.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

8. LEGOLAS SHIELD SURFING

I think it’s lame that they refer to these Legolas moments as ‘Leggy’ moments but that doesn’t make them any less cool on screen.  The daring elf rides a shield down a staircase while firing arrows into enemy skulls.  Not too mention the skillful dismount sending the shield deep into the chest of a Saruman’s minion.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

7. IS THIS ALL YOU CAN CONJURE SARUMAN?

A massive explosion that spells doom for our heroes.  It’s also a fantastic showcase of the productions incredible miniatures.  (aka Bigatures)

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

6. MY BUSINESS IS WITH ISENGARD

This battle makes me laugh for a number of reasons other than the numerous giant trees that talk and squash Orcs.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

If you really pay attention when they break the damn, an Ent picks up an Orc and oh-so-casually tosses him in the path of destruction.  I’ve included a screen shot of the doomed Orc in mid air.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

During the battle, many Orcs are crushed but they still inflict damage on the Ents.  One unlucky Oak (or is it Ash?) is lit on fire.  What makes me laugh is how quickly this poor Ent darts towards the rushing water to douse the flames.  Great stuff.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

5. TOSS ME

Nobody tosses a Dwarf!

Setting up a joke in one film and paying it off in another is a rare occurrence on the big screen.  These moments don’t happen in the books but it’s a perfect example of attention to detail and a deep love of the material.  The screenwriting Oscars were well earned.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

4. MY PRECIOUS

Introducing Gollum.  One of the most beloved & fascinating characters in the history of fiction.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

3. THE GREAT STORIES

“What are we holding on to?”

This is a great speech and one of Sam’s shining moments in the trilogy.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

2. AT DAWN LOOK TO THE EAST

Gandalf returns just as our heroes and what’s left of Rohan meet their doom.  A fantastic and visually spectacular moment.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

1. GOLLUM VS SMEAGOL

“I hate you…”

Brilliant. Watching Smeagol struggle with his powerful inner demon before finally ridding himself of Gollum. This is a perfect moment that really illustrates the hold the Ring has on Smeagol.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ‘TWO TOWERS’ MOMENT?

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Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I’m Looking Forward To

December 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

BRING ON THE UNEXPECTED JOURNEY!

With less than a week to go until The Hobbit’s release, the anticipation has officially reached ridiculous heights.  I absolutely adored The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the idea of 3 new movies makes my brain hurt for all the right reasons.

XTRA | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailers & Clips

But what is it about The Hobbit that has people so excited?  I can’t answer that but I can name 10 things that I’m excited about!

10. GOLLUM’S CAVE

This is going to sound bad…  But I’ve never read The Hobbit.  There…  I said it.  I haven’t read it okay!  Having said that, I’ve heard good things about the events that unfold in Gollum’s cave.

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

9. WHAT DOES SMAUG LOOK LIKE?

Giant dragon.  Good.

8. NEW FACES

Is it just me or is that a LOT of Dwarves?

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7. THE MONSTERS

New creatures!

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

6. THE BATTLES

I can’t wait to see more epic battles in Middle Earth.

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5. THE SCORE

I’m a massive fan of Howard Shore’s brilliant Lord of the Rings score.

4. IMAX 3D & HIGH FRAME RATE

At some point, I plan on seeing the film in both formats.  I’m actually planning on waiting to write my review until then.  (I think…) The HFR is especially intriguing.

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3. THE TEAM RETURNS

Not only are there returning cast members but nearly all of the talent behind the scenes have returned.  Let’s not forget these people brought us a trilogy that won about 24 thousand Oscars and changed the fantasy genre forever.

2. THE JOURNEY BEGINS

These films have been in development for so long it seems fake.  The Hobbit isn’t getting released in a few days…  And we certainly aren’t being treated to a brand new trilogy…

It’s time to face the sweet reality.  These movies exist! Neat.

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1. THE RETURN TO MIDDLE EARTH

I’ve never been to Disney World.  But if I did go as a kid, I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to go BACK!  This is the best way to describe my feelings towards Middle Earth.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey