ReelTalk Movie Reviews  

New Reviews
Jurassic World Domini...
Jazz Fest: A New Orle...
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue ...
more movies...
New Features
Poet Laureate of the Movies
Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks
Score Season #71
more features...
ReelTalk Home Page
Contact Us
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict

Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage

Rate This Movie
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 Below AverageBelow Average
Rated 3.02 stars
by 331 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Completely Enthralling
by Richard Jack Smith

If Peter Jackson got one thing right in The Lord of the Rings it was the casting of Ian McKellen as Gandalf. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the director gets ten more things right -- and that includes making a very fine film. There are many embellishments to the original Tolkien story. Yet these new scenes and characters enhance what is already a masterpiece.

Some may complain about the extended introduction. However, given the number of heroes to establish, I believe the film’s deliberate pace does each character a service. McKellen’s Gandalf benefits the most from such scrutiny. After setting the stage, the wizard appears in the Shire, “looking for someone to share in an adventure.” He finds Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a peace-loving hobbit with no wish to leave home in search of faraway lands and hidden gold. We soon learn that it’s the latter commodity which draws a small company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to the realm of Smaug, a deadly fire-breathing dragon.

I couldn’t wait to see what the next sequence would bring. Whether our protagonists encounter elves, trolls, orcs or any other species taken from the folklore of Middle-earth, Jackson attends to the mood and atmosphere with tremendous care. His editor Jabez Olssen becomes an overnight sensation, achieving what few of his contemporaries could: getting the tone right. This cutter does so well, the film soars from beginning to end.

Some intense action sequences even give John Woo a run for his money. The underground battle between the dwarves and their mortal enemy keeps getting better and better by the second.

For nostalgia fans, Gollum makes an appearance as well. This vignette confirms my faith in Jackson’s use of computer generated techniques. Andy Serkis once again provides a stellar voice performance as the wretched creature whose sole comfort lies in his “precious” ring.

Composer Howard Shore makes his wall-to-wall musical approach work for him this time. Normally, such a heavy duty score can drown the other elements but not so here. Shore achieves the virtually impossible by doing away with his bombastic notions. The most surprising quality of the music lies in the ability to stir great emotions in the viewer.

McKellen does a terrific job of being there when he’s needed most. You almost want to cheer for joy as he saves the day. He’s the star of The Hobbit and rightly so.

For once, I find myself lost for negative thoughts -- an unusual thing considering my feelings about Jackson’s work on The Lord of the Rings. If the best is yet to come, then I simply cannot wait!

(Released by Warner Bros. and rated "PG-13" by MPAA.)

© 2024 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC