A journey to become a king
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ feature faces familiar to fans of the previous trilogy, as well as some new ones.Though written 20 years before the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is finally coming to a cinema near you, 11 years after the first installment of the former trilogy became a box-office success. The first in the new Hobbit trilogy is Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which features faces familiar to fans of the previous trilogy, as well as some new ones.
As Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) is making birthday preparations, he begins to write about the adventures that his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood) is forever asking about. Back in the past, a younger Bilbo (Martin Freeman) rejects a request from the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to join him on an adventure. That night, however, Bilbo decides to join a quest to reclaim the home of the dwarves after 13 of them drop by the house and discuss their lack of a place to call their own.
Years before, the dwarves had been living a happy life on Lonely Mountain, producing the most valuable of all jewelry, when a dragon named Smaug attacked them, forcing them to leave their home.
At this same time, King Thror’s grandson, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), sees that the Elves have broken their promise, abandoning them.
It’s clear that the group departing from Bilbo’s house is set for an arduous journey as the largely unknown evil in Middle Earth grows increasingly stronger. Soon, they discover Radagast the Brown, one of Middle Earth’s five wizards, who has the power to bring the dead back to life.
Focusing on two characters
Meanwhile, as the 13 dwarves and Bilbo begin their journey under the leadership of Thorin, Gandalf goes off to search for revenge against Azog, who killed Thorin’s grandfather years before.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” primarily focuses on two characters as it relates how Bilbo found the ring, how he met Gollum and several other details. The first of these is Bilbo Baggins, who is quite happy to maintain his quiet life at home. The adventurous nature of Bilbo, who doesn’t initially understand why Gandalf selected him for this journey, begins to come to the surface as the story progresses.
The other character is Thorin Oakenshield, who saw his grandfather’s reign before being exiled from his home and coming to live among people. Because of everything that he has experienced, Thorin possesses a sharp temperament and doesn’t have the farsighted vision necessary to become king.
Despite this, we also see him changing as the journey progresses, and it soon becomes clear that the Aragorn of “The Lord of the Rings” is Thorin in the “The Hobbit.” This said, the biggest difference between the two is that the humility evident in Aragorn is lacking in Thorin.
Like Steven Spielberg did years ago in “Jaws,” Peter Jackson and his team never really show the dragon Smaug, who has taken over Lonely Mountain. In the end, it’s as if Jackson tried primarily to present his team and lay out the linkages connecting the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” with this first film.
A 3D festival for the eyes
“The Hobbit” is also a festival for the eyes with its 3D production and 48 frames per second, but regardless of how much the visuals rely on technology, the quality of the film’s acting is especially high. Martin Freeman – a comedian by trade – reprises his role in such a way that the audience comes to better know and love Bilbo during the scenes that transition from comedy to drama. Ultimately, this shows that however much technology develops, it will never take the place of real acting.
As a well-written and directed film, the first installment of the new trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is an offering that is sure to please the series’ fans and those who enjoy the genre. At the same time, it also provides a taste of what’s to come in the series’ next two films.