Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson)

The spirit of adventure.

Watching "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", for me, is like being reunited with a good old friend who has since become all rich and famous but still hasn't changed a single thing either with his/her looks or behavior. It is, at least, a very emotional experience for me. For someone who has grown up during the times when "The Lord of the Rings" franchise's popularity is in full phenomenal swing and its influence to its fans reaching Star Trek-like proportions, witnessing a spin-off like "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", with pretty much everything that has made the original saga so endearing to almost every single living being fully intact while also maintaining a sense of humility in its story, is truly extraordinary. Let's just say that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is the best adventure film that I have seen for quite a while since, you've guessed right, "The Fellowship of the Ring". Well, you just can't go wrong with Peter Jackson and a handful of halflings. 
Although officially a prequel, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is, all together, an entirely different cinematic experience in its own right, and that's what's truly admirable about the film. If you'll look at it, it's easy to see how it is more advantageous for the film to relish and indulge on the already established mythology of the three legendary films before it. But instead, it took some nice creative liberties with the overall narrative, characters (except of course for the likes of Gandalf and other character reappearances) and atmosphere, which resulted in an experience that's as familiar as it is fresh.  
Aside from that, there's also the evident ambition in the film. Then again, let's not kid ourselves because, hey, the word 'ambition' is always attached to any Middle Earth-related creations. But still, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a sure-fire testament of how Peter Jackson, though already 10 years removed from the year the first part of his colossal 'Ring' trilogy was released, is still keen on constantly topping himself, visual-wise at least. With this film, he has thrown everything in, from trolls and dwarves to dragons and griffins (and even some rock giants who have a penchant for some earth-shaking fisticuffs), but the Shire's kitchen sink, and I couldn't be happier. Hell, even the performances were top-notch, especially Ian McKellen as the beloved Gandalf and Martin Freeman as the awkward but courageous Bilbo Baggins. While appearances by Christopher Lee (as Saruman), Hugo Weaving (as Elrond) and Cate Blanchett (as Galadriel) among others, are nice extra treats that make the experience even more fulfilling and, to a certain extent, almost tear-jerking. Oh and there's also that little 'riddle game' scene with that obscure character named Gollum. That, my dear reader, is worth the price of admission alone. 
5 years ago, I would have never even imagined that I will be able to witness the mercurial beauty of Middle Earth and the wonders of its adventures on the big screen (fact: I have never seen a single "Lord of the Rings" film on the multiplex). Suddenly, here comes "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", a cinematic creation of two of the greatest minds working in the fantasy genre today (Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro), with arms wide open and ready to embrace me as if I'm an old friend. Hell, even with just the first notes of that beautiful Shire music, I'm sold. All I need is a pony and some damn 'burglar' contract. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"; I never expected it to be this good and the journey to be this big. Ladies and gentlemen, we're officially in for an epic three-part saga once again.


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