The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Release Date 13 Dec 2012 TBA

  • User rating
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
  • Critic rating
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

  100% of raters want to see this movie


Genre: Action | Scifi | Fantasy | Adventure

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers.   Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.   Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Martin Freeman | Elijah Wood | Luke Evans | Cate Blanchett

Fran Walsh | Philippa Boyens | Guillermo Del Toro | Peter Jackson | J.R.R. Tolkien

Carolynne Cunningham | Peter Jackson | Fran Walsh

Peter Jackson

  • Critic rating
  • Currently 3/5 Stars. Critic Review


Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee.

THE PLOT: Once again, there is trouble afoot in Middle Earth, and the young Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is more than a little surprised – and very, very reluctant - when the wise old wizard Gandalf (McKellan) chooses him as the burglar in his Ye Olde Ocean’s 13 heist gang. This unlikely band of dwarves are off to the Lonely Mountain, where they plan to reclaim treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug, and thus help exiled king Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage) finally sit on the throne his father died for. Amongst those making their mission that little bit more difficult are some giant blue trolls, assorted orcs, a few oversized spiders and a nasty necromancer. Oh, and that bastard Saruman (Lee).


 Ever since proving that bigger can be better with the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Peter, son of Bill, has been shedding the pounds whilst simultaneously letting his films become ever more bloated. He did it with his update of King Kong [2005] and he did it again with his much-delayed adaptation of The Lovely Bones [2009], both never-ending Weta dreams that proved, painfully, that more is sometimes less.

And Jackon’s done it again here, taking a 600-page book and turning it into - if this first near-three-hour installment is any indication - a nine-hour trilogy. How the hell was that allowed to happen?

Well, Warners were never going to put up much of a fight, the studio giant having benefited greatly when Potter started splitting his golden eggs in two.

The crushing length wouldn’t be a problem, of course, if An Unexpected Journey didn’t have other major glitches in the machine. Such as the much-hyped 48-frames-per-second (double the standard number), a new development that seems designed to bring stark, crystal realism to the visuals whilst also robbing cinematography of its inherent warmth and magic. Ironically, the hi-tech effect makes the footage here look like a PBS special on goblins and fairies. To quote Dolly Parton, it costs a lot of money to look this cheap.


And then there’s the fact that, as a director, Peter Jackson seems to have little or no sense of comic timing, as proven early on by a cluttered and contrived circus juggling act as Bilbo’s house is magically and musically cleaned up by his 13 unwelcome diminutive guests.


On the plus side, once we get the hell out of the silly shire and on with the mission, the action set pieces begin to shake off some of that early stiffness. Even then, at one point we get a shaky aerial shot of a chase sequence; you’d find better graphics on Super Mario Goes Medieval. Old familiar faces belonging to the likes of Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and even Elijah Wood appear to have been airbrushed to within an inch of a mass card too, whilst the scary monsters and super creeps on offer really aren’t all that scary, or super.

Of course, there are those who will no doubt find much comfort in all three Hobbit outings - from ye olde typeface to the Enya landscapes - no matter how bad the films themselves might actually be. And it’s not like we’re dealing with The Phantom Menace here. Or The Matrix sequels. It’s just that, well, these films are supposed to be magical. This, from the making to the marketing, feels largely mechanical. RATING: 3/5

Review by Paul Byrne

  • Avg User rating
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

User Reviews

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    The Hobbit may not be as memorable as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it's a mostly faithful adaptation that sticks to the same tones and themes of the source material.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    Apparently I didn't review this... Pretty good, although not quite as enjoyable as the LotR. Visually it's amazing, and the plot is great (although a bit drawn out for the movies). Well worth seeing!

    • Currently 5/5 Stars.


    I felt like I was only in my seat for just over an hour and it ended! People aid it was too long, but not for me. Lived up to my exceptions. If you're into Tolkein and Jackson you'll understand and enjoy the detail!

    • Currently 1/5 Stars.


    Skippit. An Unexpected Letdown.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    Peter Jackson return to Middle Earth has had to be the biggest example of cinematic marmaite in recent years, but heralded and loathed by its established fan base, I find myself particularly undecided on it. While the film in awfully engrossing and beutifull shot, it suffers from a needlessly over extended plot and weak character focus. While still an enjoyable watch, The film is a rather Unexpected Disappointment,

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.

    Al Coe

    Seen this on the new Imax in Cineworld at the 48 FPS and have to say i was very very dissapointed Esp after seeing the Star Trek preview which looked amazing on Imax but when The Hobbit started it looked dodgy and cheapo like a movie you would see on the Sci-Fi channel,Thought this was only the start but know the whole movie looked this way and the action scene just looked speeded up and it just ruined the movie for me. So in my opinion donr see it in the higher speed rate deffo go for the 24 FBS and wont have a problem, The movie is enjoyable and some good action scenes but a bit slow in the middle and a bit dragged out, on a possitive note Freeman is excellent as Bilbo and am looking forward to no 2 plus always good to see Gollum back on screen. If you're into the Lord Of the Rings you will enjoy it but i am deffo not alone on the bashing of the high speed rate.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    It's a nice fun movie. The 48 FPS is a mess. Some of it, exmaple being Gollum, looks great, the rest looks like an old comedy show. It really annoyed me, so maybe that kinda took it away from me. I would say it's only ok and about 30 minutes too long.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars.


    Very good beginning of a new trilogy based in Middle Earth. The special effects are fantastic (particularly the improvments in Gollum), the cast are all fantastic and there are plenty of great action set pieces. Never feels like a three hour film, which is a great compliment to how bright and breezy it is. Roll on the next two films.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars.


    while not up to the standards of the previous trilogy, this is a welcome (if slightly over long) return to middle earth. Detailing the adventures of a young Bilbo Baggins, including how he came into possession of a certain ring, and displayed in the highest of fidelity, the young hobbit is reunited with Gandalf, and then introduced to the team of dwarves that he will accompany to their ancestral home. At slightly under three hours, there is a lot of filler material that perhaps should have been saved for the special edition release, but you do get the impression the real meat of the story is coming in the next two installments

    • Currently 4/5 Stars.


    The Movie: The Hobbit is a very good movie,but not quite up to the standard of the LOTR Trilogy, the movie feels like an extended edition already as it feels "padded out" a bit already. Freeman as Bilbo is excellent, the dwarves are all solid in particluar Thorin but the other major cameos from other LOTR cast combined with the LOTR score just seems like forced continuity and fan service rather than essential to the story. Visuals: I wouldn't recommend the 3D IMAX at 48fps ... It's glorious in spots but generally it's more jarring and distracting and it highlights the CGI and sets and manages to make it look cheap ... By contrast the IMAX Star Trek 24fps footage looks amazing all the way through. Stick to a regular 3D viewing.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars.


    And so it's finally here... After an interminable delay of what seems like the passing of an age, we finally return to Middle Earth. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first part of a new trilogy of films from Peter Jackson. As anyone who has read the book by J.R.R. Tolkien will know, it's a more whimsical, lightweight affair than The Lord Of The Rings. 60 years before the events of The Fellowship Of The Ring, we find Bilbo (Martin Freeman) enjoying a quiet life in Hobbiton. That is, until Gandalf (Ian McKellen) comes calling with 13 rowdy dwarves led by the brave Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). They convince Bilbo to join them on their quest to reclaim their homeland Ereborn, which is now playing host to fearsome dragon Smaug... It's wonderful to be back in this world again, a world which Jackson so clearly loves with a passion. Many familiar faces like Galadriel and Elrond return to give a hint towards dark undercurrents that won't reveal themselves for another while in Middle Earth. It's a thrilling adventure film, with a highpoint reached with the famous Riddles In The Dark chapter, in which Bilbo tries to outwit Gollum (Andy Serkis). Much has been made of Jackson's decision to shoot in the higher frame rate (HFR) of 48 frames per second. It takes a while to get used to, as it looks like a cross between film and an on-set production video. Some sequences, like the warg chases, look like the projectionist mistakenly hit the fast forward button. Other sequences, like with the eagles, are simply stunning and very immersive in 3D. The jury will be out on HFR, but it's an interesting experience nonetheless. The film also feels a little overstretched for a relatively modest book - but that's a minor complaint in an otherwise triumphant film. Roll on December 2013 and The Desolation Of Smaug.

    • Currently 5/5 Stars.


    What an absolute treat of a film. Not only was the story gripping, fun and exciting but the movie its-self was an awesome visual treat. Went to see in the new IMAX Screen in 3D in Cineworld and I have to say I was absolutely in awe at how beautiful the image on the screen was. Clear, crisp, precise, fluid, colourful and inspiring. I watched all the production videos and kept a very close eye on this film since it's original inception, and so far Mr Jackson has proved me right when I was telling everyone how amazing it was going to be. All the work and effort the Hobbit teams have put into it really came through. The acting was top notch, Freeman doing a great job as the young Bilbo, and I am glad to see that both Woods and Holm were able to reprise their roles as Frodo/Biblo (Older). When looking at an image of Holm and Freeman side by side I do see a resemblance of sorts, so that was very well done. I would have to say that one of my favourite parts was seeing the Hobbit take me back to places that I would have seen in the LoTR films, such as Rivendell and the Shire of course...brought back memories of the first time I watched the LoTR films. The score was fantastic as always. The LoTR music was astounding and the Hobbit just follows on from, adding excitement and joy. I'll admit I was a little cautious as to how the story its-self was going to transform onto the big screen, but it has been done with such grace and joy that it deserves nothing short of 5 stars. Great film, a treat to watch. Thanks for the tickets...and thanks to the whole Hobbit team for a wonderful film. Looking forward to the rest.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars.


    The Hobbit - Unexpected Journey. Not very unexpected lets be honest here. Perfect christmas film to go and see. Book your seats, watch the first 15 minutes then go off for a hour and half do a bit christmas shopping. Return then back to cinema after that time, honestly you won't have missed much apart from a dancing score here and there. Then enjoy the last hour or so to the build up the part 2 which is out next year. Then lets face it, the film will take the exact same direction into number 3. €€€€€€ is what this is all about. Can you tell I did not particulary enjoy it or the 3D version. I give you 2 stars .

    • Currently 4/5 Stars.


    A pleasant return to Middle Earth. The first part of the movie reminds you how much you have missed these stories and is funny and enjoyable. Then the adventure starts and the action is non-stop. Compared to the LOTR trilogy, I do not think the group of characters stood out as individuals and will be remembered more as "the group of dwarfs". As for 3D HFR, for most of it I found excellent, however, for normal scenes without action, I found it slightly uncomfortable to watch as people moved comically along. But all in all a great movie and should not be compared to the original LOTR, especially not until the trilogy is over.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars.


    Too long, especially when you think there will be two more. not enough happens, and when it does it's not very exciting. Plus I dislike long movies in 3D