Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65% (Critics) / 81% (Audience)
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage
Studio: Warner Bros.
Synopsis: A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.
This movie is very long but to director Peter Jackson’s credit it doesn’t feel like it is overlong. Things move along very briskly for the most part and the action pieces are well done.
Martin Freeman’s special brand of bristling annoyance to almost everyone and everything around him serves his portrayal of young Bilbo Baggins very well; this is one Hobbit that would like to just sit in his little home in The Shire and live a very quiet, boring life until Gandalf and his 12 Dwarves show up.
Speaking of which, Sir Ian McKellan can do no wrong and I love watching him in this role. The assemblage of dwarf adventurers is cool and the crew is made up of a lot of actors I have enjoyed in previous projects and they all make each of the characters real enough that I was invested in them and worried for their safety.
And we got an extended visit from Gollum! Andy Serkis continues to kick massive amounts of ass and the scenes between Gollum and Bilbo are my favorite of the entire film.
As much as I enjoyed this movie and I have a soft spot in my heart for the source material, you can tell while watching this flick that it is being stretched to within in an inch of its life in order to get a trilogy out of what should be just one really awesome movie.
And just what does that damn ring do besides make you invisible and turn its wearer into a raving lunatic? It seems to a really crappy return on investment in my opinion.
All fans of the BBC Sherlock series (where Freeman plays Watson) have to feel a bit bummed that Martin Freeman is about to become so huge a star that any future seasons of the show are looking less likely to happen. And Benedict Cumberbatch’s Star Trek film hasn’t even come out yet…the show will definitely be dead in the water after that.
Final Verdict: A very enjoyable and fast moving film that serves up just enough action to make the long running time and stretching out of a small tale into a major trilogy not be the gigantic issues they could have been in the hands of a less skilled director. I recommend it and am anxiously waiting for the second installment. B+