One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard regarding The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is along the lines of “There’s too much CGI!” And I can sort of see where they are coming from, but even having heard those complaints prior to seeing the movie and therefore paying extra attention to the CG effects, I didn’t agree. Yes, there was more CGI than in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it was also better CGI. I barely even noticed it, and it certainly didn’t bother me.
Now, I’m not going to talk about the story much, both to avoid spoilers and because it doesn’t seem fair to me to judge what I consider the first third of a movie. Something I do want to talk about is the tone.
The Hobbit pandered. Unabashedly. In a bad way. There were scenes and lines that clearly had no purpose other than to evoke a laugh from the fans of the LotR trilogy. A one-liners by various main characters and the entire scene with Gollum completely derailed the otherwise ‘epic saga’ tone of the movie. Gollum is NOT supposed to be funny in this movie, people! His scene is supposed to be creepy as all get-out, not comedic pandering to his fans.
The only other thing that bothered me was the dwarves. I couldn’t hope to phrase it better than a friend of mine, so I’ll just quote her: “Dwarves are not supposed to be sexy, and at least three of them were.” Mostly Thorin, Kili, and Fili. Dwarves should be stocky and have big, bushy beards! Thorin is the ruler, and he just has a trimmed goatee!
In all other respects, however, it was an excellent movie. The action scenes were intense, and the music fit the story well. It has very similar elements to the LotR soundtracks, with a heavier low brass section that seemed very representative of the dwarf-focused story.
Also, the scenery. My goodness the scenery. The elven city of Rivendell and the dwarf kingdom of Erebor were beautifully rendered on the big screen, and the level of detail was what I’ve come to expect from the LotR trilogy. It was much, much more vivid the the trilogy, though, with more vibrant and varied colors.
All in all, this movie mostly served as an appetizer for the second movie. Since they’re not staying perfectly true to the details of the book, I’m extremely hopeful that the Necromancer, credited as Benedict Cumberbatch, will play a bigger role in these movies than he did in Tolkien’s book. When the complete trilogy is out, I’ll give this movie a rating, but in the meantime, I’ll just say it’s very good, definitely worth watching.