[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Directed by Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McShane, and Richard Armitage
MPAA: PG-13 – For Extended Sequences of Intense Fantasy Action Violence, and Frightening Images]
I recently had the chance of seeing the Extended Cuts of The Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen, played back-to-back for 12 straight hours of the day. It was an exhausting experience, but there was surprisingly never a moment where I was bored, nor was there a moment that felt completely unnecessary (Even the scene of Merry and Pippin preparing to get stoned was at least fun). Yet, like most people, I kind of cringed when I heard The Hobbit, the prequel novel, was going to be expanded into a trilogy of its own, despite being shorter than any of the individual Lord of the Rings books.
So let’s get a few things out of the way first: An Unexpected Journey is good. It’s fun, enjoyable, visually stunning, filled with good-to-great performances, and some knock-you-on-your-ass action sequences that reaffirm Peter Jackson’s natural talent as a visual filmmaker. That being said, those expecting something on the caliber of the original trilogy should lower their expectations.