An Unexpected Journey is Expectedly Wonderful

Julia Biertempfel, '16 Staff Writer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set sixty years prior to the first Lord of the Rings movie, and is based off J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit. It focuses on Frodo’s uncle, Bilbo Baggins, and his exciting quest to help a band of dwarves reclaim their old homeland, Erebor, from the dragon Smaug. Like the other movies centered in Middle Earth, it looks beautiful. Not only the landscape of New Zealand itself, but the movie as a whole is stunning to watch. The battles were exciting; the plotline was suspenseful and interesting. The most amazing scene was the scene between Bilbo and Gollum at the underground lake, dubbed Riddles in the Dark. We get to see how The Ring came into Bilbo’s possession, but it’s an opportunity to see Gollum, easily one of the most complex characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books, interact with the main character. This scene was dramatic and beautifully rendered; it had you hoping Bilbo correctly answered every riddle Gollum threw at him.

As said by Gandalf the Grey, “all good stories deserve embellishment”. But An Unexpected Journey takes this a bit too far. J. R. R. Tolkien’s book is roughly three hundred pages long, depending on the copy. Yet Peter Jackson, the film’s director, is dragging The Hobbit out into three separate movies. This decision leads to unnecessarily padding with added scenes, either not in the original book or utterly unnecessary to the plot. For example, the scenes between Frodo and an older Bilbo Baggins in the beginning of the film, while a nice transition from The Lord of the Rings movies, did not have a purpose. The length of film could have been reduced by at least twenty minutes, which could have been used to flesh out the characters a bit, especially the dwarves in Bilbo’s party. Also, even though it is a fantasy movie, the characters endured many dangerous feats while getting away with only scratches — perhaps because The Hobbit was originally meant to be a children’s book. It has a somewhat lighter tone compared to the Lord of the Rings books.

Although An Unexpected Journey had its setbacks, it was an incredible movie, which I strongly recommend you all to go and rent after its release of March 19, 2013. I will be waiting for the second movie in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, which is set to come out sometime in December of 2013. I hope the second movie will only get better than the first, and possibly justify making the third movie.