"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" does not transport you to the Shire. It is a collection of Tolkien odds and ends connected with, excessive, drawn out special effects.  Like the Trilogy, you can get your popcorn refilled and go to the bathroom during the battle scenes and not miss anything.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” does not transport you to the Shire. It is a collection of Tolkien odds and ends connected with, excessive, drawn out special effects. Like the Trilogy, you can get your popcorn refilled and go to the bathroom during the battle scenes and not miss anything.

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“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”  was people walking around in New Zealand.  It was not worth waiting in the cold for.

While working for a theater checking service I was given the “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” assignment. The book was difficult to read and to be honest I had only read part of it because my boyfriend loved it.  I never expected to see the movie.  When you do a theater check you make sure the correct trailers are attached, for example no R-rated trailers on a family film. We also physically count how many people are seeing the movie. Checkers leave 10 minutes or so into the film. When “The Fellowship of the Ring” started I was spellbound. It was the most amazing theater experience I have ever had. Leaving to file my reports was difficult.

For “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, I was there at midnight sitting in the same theater waiting for the same inspiration, the cheering from the crowd and the excitement of a collective shared adventure…it never happened. The beginning was lumbering and a pointless look back at the beginning of “The Fellowship of the Ring”.   Ian Holm as “Old” Bilbo and Elijah Wood as Frodo did an excellent job. “Old” Bilbo introducing the story made sense. My jaded nature makes me feel Elijah Wood was there more because of his enormous fan base from the Trilogy than needing Frodo to introduce the story.

The midnight crowd and I waited patiently for that magic moment, those near sacred words, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms….” This should have been a defining moment! A time when we cheered and the crowd went wild, instead it was clumsily inserted almost as an afterthought.
Big meh.

Ian McKellen was perfect as Gandalf. He is the movie’s saving grace.

Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel does an excellent job with the little they are given to work with.

The characters were not fleshed out. The movie jumped from Tolkien point to Tolkien point and was confusing.

Dean O’Gorman as Fili and Aidan Turner as Kili are definitely eye candy. Gorgeous men.

There are spots in this movie when the camera went so far out of focus that it hurt my eyes.

In the Trilogy, you never questioned prospective or size or the reality of the situation. In “The Hobbit:  Unexpected Journey” you do. The wargs look cartoonish, change size and generally suck.  Maybe this works out in 3D but not in a regular theater.

Perhaps so much money was spent on the 3D effects they ran out of money for make up and hair. When you look at John Rhys-Davies, you see a dwarf. When you look at the dwarfs in The Hobbit, you see people with prosthetic faces.

Bilbo’s wig is so bad it had me questioning my memory of what the original Hobbits looked like. The Hobbit feet are different and look like things attached to their legs when they show long shots of Bilbo and Frodo. As I started to doubt my memory “The Fellowship of The Rings” came on, and I was right! Things don’t look fake in the Trilogy  the way they do in “The Hobbit.”

Bilbo’s ears are as big as his hands. His right ear is so large at one point it is distracting. Maybe this is a 3D effect, but it looks fake, fake and fake in a regular theater.

Martin Freeman does not sparkle as Bilbo Baggins. His performance is flat and he is not Hobbity enough. He is Watson in a bad wig and Dollar Store fake ears.

The only scene that got a reaction from this midnight crowd was the game of wits between Bilbo and Gollum. Let me remind you this was a  crowd that stood outside in 37 degree weather to see the movie.

The Lord Of The Rings fans turned out for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. “Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s novel grossed $37.5 million, Box Office Mojo reports. This total gives “The Hobbit” the highest-grossing December Friday ever, according to THR. “The Hobbit” beat out previous record-holder “I Am Legend,” which made $30.1 million in 2007 on its opening Friday. THR reports that Warner Bros. is predicting a $85 million weekend for “The Hobbit,” based on its Friday total.” Let’s see if these numbers hold. The people I spoke with at the theater will not be seeing it a second time.

Minor spoiler below this line.

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“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is primarily used to introduce the character of  Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Bilbo is a background character that seems to be misplaced in the movie at times.