Tag Archive: dwarves


UK Release Date: 13th December 2013

Stars: Peter Jackson (director), Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Stephen Fry

Plot: The Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.

The new Middle Earth trilogy began last year with An Unexpected Journey which, in my opinion, came nowhere close to touching the Lord of the Rings films and could have been a lot better, the slow pace at which events unravelled being the most alarming concern. However, it built a nice platform for the next films to advance on.

With this trailer it certainly looks as though things will be a bit more action heavy and faster paced. We get glimpses of fight scenes, the reappearance of Legolas and completely new character Tauriel (although how much fans of the source material will like her remains to be seen) and we’re also treated (or not) to seeing pretty much every character in the film jumping.

I think I do watch this trailer with a lot of cynicism, I felt hugely let down when watching An Unexpected Journey because it was so far apart from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The CGI here used for Smaug as well does not look as good as it should do in this kind of big budget movie.

I hope that upon release I am proved wrong and that Smaug looks great and the film will be exciting and action packed! It probably says a lot for this trailer that the most exciting thing, for me, was the return of Orland Bloom. And when that’s exciting, you know things are bad.

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Lord of the Rings is the gold standard of trilogies; each one of the three films was an excellent adventure that had brilliant characters, glorious fight scenes and plenty of enjoyment. So with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, expectations were high and a new trilogy hinged on it’s success.

An Unexpected Journey takes place sixty years before The Fellowship of the Ring and is the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Bilbo is recruited by Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany a team of thirteen dwarfs, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle Earth to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim the dwarf’s stolen home from the dragon Smaug.

The main thing that leaps out at you as you watch An Unexpected Journey is that there has clearly been a lot of work put in to the visuals of the film; based purely on it’s aesthetics The Hobbit is a must watch, it’s just a beautiful mix of epic trailing shots over vast landscapes to the intricate creation of Rivendell, home of the elves. To be quite honest, I still find myself amazed that they can make Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and others look a good two foot shorter than Ian McKellen but every special effect looks just as perfect as they did in Lord of the Rings.

Martin Freeman has the title role and with little experience in films before it is a huge ask of him to carry the weight of such an ambitious trilogy, but it is a task that Freeman is more than a match for as he turns in a very accomplished and polished performance. He brings this really charming sense of likeability to his character and even throws in some comedic lines as well. McKellen, as you would expect, does the standard high quality acting you would expect from him so there’s no point wasting time talking about that. The main person I was looking forward to seeing was Armitage as Thorin as I have been a fan of his since his days in the BBC’s adaptation of Robin Hood. Armitage’s character carries the burden of being the rightful King of the dwarfs and has a real hatred for elves: Thorin is a more complicated character than the film chooses to recognise but Armitage’s performance brings layers to the dwarf leader. However, it was Kili, played by Being Human‘s Aidan Turner who quickly became my favourite dwarf and if there is a finer character in Middle Earth I would like to hear about it!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all this good…

Right from the off it seems that An Unexpected Journey is struggling to find it’s identity. Ian Holm and Elijah Wood are brought back to reprise their roles from the original trilogy in order to really cram the fact home that The Hobbit is the prequel trilogy, as if anybody needs telling this again. And the first act really struggles along with far too many character introductions given valuable time when the film could have been moving along with a lot more fluidity. There are several jokes that miss the mark every time (a tradition that unfortunately continues throughout the film) and it even skates around the edges of turning into a musical at one stage which, thankfully for everyone involved, it does not.

An Unexpected Journey never really finds a settled pacing and at times becomes incredibly dull and you can’t help but notice more than just a couple of pointless scenes thrown in for good measure. The biggest disappointment for me were the action scenes. Lord of the Rings brought us epic battle scenes in The Two Towers and Return of the King and the unforgettable death of Boromir in Fellowship, so if there’s one thing that Peter Jackson can do it’s battle scenes. But you wouldn’t know that from this film. Just when you think you might get to see some brilliant fight scenes it’s taken away from you either by a change of scene or by the dwarfs running away, which they seem to do a lot of to be honest. What could have been a great climatic battle once again turned in to a fleeing scene.

But I don’t want to end on a sour note. The return of Gollum was welcomed with open arms and his exchange with Bilbo is easily the best and most fun part of the movie; there was the appearance of the One Ring and the invisibility thrown in for good measure! The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘s biggest fail is that it just isn’t Lord of the Rings, but what it is is a decent story and a great block for The Desolation of Smaug to build on!

My Rating: 6/10

Billy Connolly joins The Hobbit.

So the final addition to the cast has been made. Billy Connolly will be playing a dwarf by the name of Dain Ironfoot, described by director Peter Jackson as ‘the staunchest and toughest of all the dwarves’.

Billy Connolly joins other Middle Earth newcomers Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug/Necromancer) and Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield) in The Hobbit. The newcomers will be supported by some very familiar faces returning including Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and of course, the brilliant Andy Serkis as Gollum.

Part 1: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is released December 14th 2012.

Part 2: “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” is released December 13th 2012.

And as an audience we can only hope that The Hobbit is as good as the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.